Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Taking a stand for fidelity

posted by xscot mcknight

As Jesus revealed that murder begins with anger, and that murder is expressed in anger, labeling, and damning, so Jesus contends in his summons for others to follow him that adultery, too, is a matter of the heart. The physical desire of another by a married person is adultery. There is no reason to play around here with niceties, Jesus is saying, commitment to one’s spouse is a heart issue. Matt 5:27-30
Jesus also summons those who would follow him to discipline away anything that distorts or challenges fidelity. Anything, everything, anyone, everyone. Whatever it takes, Jesus is saying.
Recently, a person approached me and asked if she could ask me a question. It was this direct and this simple: “My boyfriend recently told me he was a married man. I love him and he says he loves me. We have been dating for one year, and he just told me this. What do you think I should do?” My response, apart from the awkwardness of “Here’s my question, what’s your answer” without having heard a lengthy story first, which is the norm, was simple: “What he is doing, and what you are doing, is wrong according to Jesus.” And I pushed a little farther, “Why would you trust a man with your heart who has lied to you and lived before you with a false world for one year?” Pray for her; it won’t be easy for her but I’m confident she’ll make the right decision.
A follower of Jesus is summoned, if she or he is serious, to fidelity — from the heart out.



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kbartha

posted November 15, 2005 at 12:21 pm


Absolutely… Adultery is about mis-alligned intimacy. It’s not about God’s big hammer coming down. It’s about his faithfulness and how he wants to coax his children into that faithfulness. Sure, he is commanding it, but he has earned the right to command by first loving those he is teaching. Faithfulness cannot be coerced. It flows out of first love.



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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted November 15, 2005 at 2:39 pm


I think you are making an important point. When Jesus talked about pluck out your eye or cutting off your hand, I was always taught that He was just being extreme to make a point. However, I have since come to terms with those verses being literally. If you eye or hand causes you to stumble, they SHOULD be destroyed. The point I believe Jesus is making is that it is not the eye or the hand- the body that causes us to sin, but rather our heart. I believe He is calling us out on our age old excuses of blaming, bringing us back to our own hearts.
Peace,
Jamie



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David Wright

posted November 15, 2005 at 9:34 pm


I don’t know the situation as you do, but it strikes me some fairly intensive discipleship might be needed. It’s not an area in which people easily make the right decision. Also, if the guy has been cheating on his wife for a year (which is the case, regardless of what specifically has been happening in this relationship), he’s is so compromised in areas of integrity that it would be suprising if he hasn’t led this woman to compromising hers (even if she didn’t know about the marriage). That will make it doubly difficult to make the right decision. In any case, if if it’s not already you might follow up and make sure she is in strong discipling relationships that strengthen her in being a follower of Jesus. Fidelity needs help.
Just thinking out loud . . .



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David Wright

posted November 15, 2005 at 9:36 pm


That last sentence sounded a little jumbled. My point: If she’s not already in discipling relationships, she’ll need them.



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Ted Gossard,

posted November 15, 2005 at 10:36 pm


Yes. I think we must be ruthless in this. Wise yet gentle in it all. Jesus seemed to warn of hell fire for those who don’t.
This is surely an important part of our following Jesus which in itself must be a heart as well as body matter.



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Christian Cryder

posted November 16, 2005 at 5:56 pm


Scot, do you think that folks in the EM would have answered this question differently? I know you can’t speak for everyone, but I’m wondering if you have any sense of whether taking a particularly firm stand like you do (“eg. that’s wrong according to the way of Jesus”) would either be a) typical or b) surprising in the context of EM’s “soft” postmodernism?



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Scot McKnight

posted November 16, 2005 at 8:22 pm


I’ve not heard public discussions about this, but I would hope we would all affirm the sanctity of marriage as followers of Jesus.



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Christian Cryder

posted November 17, 2005 at 11:28 pm


I was actually thinking a little broader than just ‘sanctity of marriage’, but that’s a decent test case. And rather than just saying, ‘yeah, we affirm marriage’ (very general), I’m wondering if EMs can take a hard enough stand on truth to look someone in the eye and (very lovingly) say, ‘that’s sin, my friend’. That’s really the question I’m asking here – I’ll bet you’re willing to say that; I’m just wondering if you would see the EM in general as being willing to tell individual people that things are wrong.
(And I’m not asking if they’d say its wrong in every case, etc – I’m just wondering if they ever say anything specific is really wrong, and if so, what types of things. This is really a question of ‘how soft or hard IS their postmodernism’).



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