Follow Up to the Jefferson Bethke Video, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”

Jefferson Bethke’s video has now been viewed over 18 million times on YouTube.  In a recent New York Times column, David Brooks points out that when the video was critiqued,

“Bethke responded in a way that was humble, earnest and gracious, and that generally spoke well of his character. He also basically folded.”

I was as dismayed when Bethke capitulated as I was encouraged when I first saw the video.  The video was about distinguishing Jesus from religion.  It was a point clearly worth making.

Most of the critiques of the video I have seen are defenses of organized religion, Christian or otherwise.  I wish Bethke had stuck to his guns.  In his defense, he is a young man and his elders gave him bad advice.  I pray that he’ll be redeemed from his doubts and restored to the faith that led him to write the poem in the first place.

Names of the Lord: Jesus Is the Grain of Wheat

In John 12:24 Jesus observed that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies to itself, it remains alone – but that if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Jesus used this observation to teach what came in the following verse.  That is, he who seeks to hold on to his life loses it, while he who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it.  As with all His teachings, Jesus was preaching something that He practiced.

God lost humanity due to sin.  He was unwilling to remain by Himself alone, so He died to His glorious existence in order to become one of us – Jesus of Nazareth by name.  Then in His human life He made the same choice and once again died to His privileged existence as a descendant of Abraham and David.  These choices were entirely for our sake so that He could be raised from the dead and set on the path to recovery of all His previous glory, plus the glory He gains by this astounding adventure of love and courage.

Like the mustard seed, the grain of wheat became much more that what it was when it began.

Call on His Name

Names of the Lord: Jesus Is the Mustard Seed

In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus told the short parable of the mustard seed.  He said that even though it’s the smallest of garden seeds, it produces the largest of garden plants.  And indeed the size of the seed does not determine the size of the tree.

Jesus Himself was a solitary human being  but He has become the God who rules all creation.  He accomplished this through His resurrection and return to the glory which He had as God before He became Jesus in the first place.

“Do not despise the day of small beginnings,” says the prophet of old (Zechariah 4:10).

Jesus is indeed the Mustard Seed.  Start with Him however small your understanding of Him, and if you hold fast to Him, you will eventually understand His greatness.

How do you start with Him?  Keep His commandments.  What are His commandments?  Love.  Just be sure to love for His approval, and not the approval of others.

Whose Approval Do You Want?

Call on His Name

The Trinity Is Not Only Unbiblical – It’s AntiBiblical

It’s not just that the Bible doesn’t support the doctrine of the Trinity.  It’s that the Trinity doctrine contradicts the Bible.

Most notably, the doctrine of the Trinity is at odds with the Bible’s emphasis on Christ.  Where the Bible is constantly drawing attention to Christ, the Trinity is constantly saying that the Son must share the spotlight with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  For example, the Bible quotes the Father as saying, “Listen to My Son” (Matthew 17:5), the Holy Spirit will not speak of Himself but only of Jesus (John 16:13-14), and yet Jesus says that His own words are the determining factor in the outcome of a person’s life (Luke 6:46-49).  There is no doubt that in the Bible, all eyes point to Christ.  Trinitarians, by contrast, are uncomfortable letting Jesus so singularly stand out.

Discard the convoluted and idolatrous trinity doctrine.  Let’s forsake our sins and worship Jesus Christ our Lord!

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Maybe There’s a Way to Follow Christ Without Being a Christian

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  – Brennan Manning (a Christian)

Maybe Manning should figure out a way to follow Christ without being a Christian.  That is, he could dispense with church and give all his devotion to Jesus.  This is not only possible – it’s desirable from God’s point of view.  See the Overview of A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

See also Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church.

Jesus is Lord.  He is everywhere…all the time.  We should stop acting as if this were not true.

Did Isaiah prophesy the Lord or a Trinity?

Trinitarians call Jesus the Lord, and indeed He is.

Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 2:11, 17) that there would come a day when ” Lord alone will be exalted.”  If the Lord alone will be exalted, how can Trinitarians say Jesus is only the second Person of a trinity?

(No one can serve a Trinity, except with lip service.  Repent, and serve Jesus Christ our Lord!”)

To learn more about Christ versus the Trinity, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

“One of Us” – Pop Music

Joan Osborne popularized “One of Us” in the mid-1990’s.  What causes a song like this to make its way into the mainstream of music listening?  Such references to God are not commonplace in popular music, yet we do see other occasional examples (“Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Put Your Hand in the Hand,” and “Oh, Happy Day,” all from the 1960’s-1970’s).  I can’t explain why this happens – but I love it when it does.

This clip includes the lyrics below the video when you view it on the YouTube site.  The lyrics ask rhetorical questions to make the listener think.  Ironically, however, practically all the questions are answered fully in the New Testament wherein God was one of us – namely, Jesus.  Thus, the “What if God was one of us?” question is not rhetorical at all.

And, lest we forget, Jesus said, “As much as you have [helped or ignored] the least of these My brethren, you have [helped or ignored] Me.”  (Matthew 25:31-46)  Therefore, it behooves us to always act as if God was among us.  He is.


“Oh, Happy Day” – Pop Music

Oh Happy Day,” released by the Edwin Hawkins Singers in 1969, was one of those songs about Jesus that somehow made it into Top 40 radio playlists in the 60’s/70’s.  Other notables in this regard were “Jesus Is Just Alright” by the Doobie Brothers and “Put Your Hand in the Hand” by Ocean.

Indeed, every day is a happy day when we see Him who is unseen and live every moment for Him instead of for ourselves.

(Lyrics here.)