Oprah Patrol–1 John 2:22-23

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. –1 John 2:22-23

Well here I go. I’m about to prevent myself from ever appearing on Oprah. I’m sure that she was hanging out up there in Chicago, finger poised over the phone, ready to call me and invite me to jump on the couch and proclaim my love for Penny. This is going to blow all of that.

<Deep breath.> All beliefs are not equally valid. (Did you hear that, Oprah?) I’ll even go one step further. Not only are all beliefs not equally valid, whether or not you believe them sincerely, but all beliefs that somehow invoke the name of Jesus do not make you a Christian.

Yesterday, I heard Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, talking about a Jesus who didn’t sound like the savior of the world. Robinson’s Jesus taught about love and provided an inspiring moral example, but he didn’t seem to die for my sins or provide a singular route to God. (Robinson also noted that his prayer life includes very few words, which I found rather odd, but I suppose that’s his business.)

Talk to your neighborhood Muslim and you’ll hear of a respected Jesus, a prophet who called people to monotheism and did a lovely job of delivering God’s message (once Mohammed got it all untangled in the Quran). This is a Jesus, but it’s not Jesus as the Christ, the anointed one, the one and only Son of God the Father.

Then there’s Oprah, who, in her numbingly New Agey conversation with Eckhart Tolle, self-proclaimed spiritual guide, encourages us to get in touch with our “Christ Consciousness.” In Oprah’s eyes, everyone has has a little sliver of Jesus inside them–sort of like the spleen, I suppose–and what we need to do is get in touch with that sliver. Jesus was really in touch with his Christ Consciousness, which is what made him so great. I guess all that cross stuff was just an unpleasant end to the story.

John doesn’t have much patience for those who either deny Jesus or deny the true Jesus, calling them liars. I’m not a liar, and presumably, if you’re still with me, neither are you. That’s good, but it’s not enough. The question for you and me is what we do with the Jesus we acknowledge? Certainly it’s better not to be a liar than to be one, but if that’s your only claim to fame, it’s rather like being noteworthy for not smelling bad. What will you do with Jesus beyond acknowledging him?