Reimagine is one of those words we’re seeing: “reimagining Christianity,” “reimagining Jesus” . . . But if something was a fact in the first place—as opposed to something merely imagined—it can’t be “re” imagined (like, you can’t “re” visit Paris if you’ve never been). I’m on high alert when I see the word “reimagine” in a Christian context. Sadly, it typically indicates that that the speaker believes that the Bible isn’t true but is of myth (imagined) status. And now he’s putting a new spin on Scripture, the deity of Jesus, the atonement—and marketing that as a desirable “reimagining” of Christianity.
One Easter weekend I learned of a Baptist church offering a “reimagined Good Friday service.” The next line promised we would hear “the ancient story of . . . divine cruelty.” The home page of the church’s website declared, “For God so loved the world, that God gave us each other.” Yes, God did give us each other, but my sense was that this use of John 3:16 was intended to help us “reimagine” the atonement. A related blog post said that for some people, “Good Friday is the first day in some cosmic magic act—a death necessary so there can be a resurrection on Easter three days later. But for me…”
Never mind that the New Testament apostles’ message was the death and resurrection of Jesus?
Other events/teachings on this site further evidenced the church’s theological leanings:
- An event featured a Sufi Muslim (that’s Islamic mysticism) minister who leads an interfaith (mixing all religions) congregation.
- The Lord’s teaching on sexual behavior has been completely dismissed.
- There’s a labyrinth walk.
- The term “great scholar” was applied to a man who elsewhere said, “I have no idea whether [the resurrection] involves an empty tomb, and for me, that doesn’t matter.”
- There are favorable quotes by/mentions of other famous people who deny the truth of Scripture, the deity of Jesus, and more.
- A lecture on the legend of Guadalupe was given.
- There’s nothing wrong with hosting a CPR class, but when I spotted a photo of the practice dummy, I wondered, “Can this church’s theology be resuscitated?” (Had to laugh to keep from crying.)
How could a Baptist church drift so far?—we might ask. Answer: In the same way each of our churches is being seduced into drift: one step at a time. Even very conservative churches are following teachers who deny foundational truths. Our standards of measurement are warping—and we don’t even notice. Please don’t post a comment about “those people.” Instead, examine the source of your own personal spiritual guidance, as well as that of your local church. Let’s “re” turn to, “re” commit to, and “re” ly < smile> on Scripture as the standard. Or of course, we can just walk away from the facts. But the thing we can’t do is “re” imagine them.