Monday, May 31, 2010

Mistaken Identity

I am one of those people that has a familiar face. I get "have we met before" or "don't I know you" a lot. And it's not just recently, the earliest I remember it happening was in middle/high school. Tack on the fact that I married into a common German name (at least common in Texas thanks to our large Germanic heritage, especially in the Hill Country) and I get the "do you know" or "do you have family in" a lot now to.

Today, I got a tweet from someone in Dallas who heard my name before, as a writer. My immediate thought was, "Well, there must be someone else named Vogel writing about the same things I am." Then I had another thought. What if someone had actually read my stuff? Then, (as I'm doing mostly laundry today so have a lot of mental downtime) I started to think about C.S. Lewis' "trilemma."

You know, THE Christian trilemma. It was a logical argument for the deity of Christ, influenced by Henry Paddon Liddon's mid-19th century sermons. In his series of talks for the BBC after World War II, later published in Mere Christianity - Lewis said,

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.

Many other religions revere Jesus as a wonderful teacher who espoused radical morality. Others call Him a prophet and proclaim great respect for Him.

But that shows a great unfamiliarity with what He actually said. He declared Himself, on multiple occasions, to be the great "I AM." That was the covenant name of the One & Only God of the Universe and that was what so angered the Jewish elite they wanted Him dead. They got what they wanted but that was also part of the plan.

No one would put to death a great moral teacher, unless what He taught was so extreme, it threatened their way of life - their thousands of year old existence. In that same vein, people would not face hideous, horrible deaths for great teaching. And there have been thousands of martyrs over the years for belief in Christ - not for what He taught, but for who He is.

As C.S. Lewis summed up - Jesus was either a liar, lunatic or Lord. There is no in between.

I have, in my naive past, been seduced by the idea that He was just a great guy. But He is much more polarizing than that - He does not want respect from a far - He wants a heart committed to Him as Lord.

It's the essence of freewill - choosing what you believe. So, what do you believe about Jesus?

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