Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Just give me Jesus, will ya?

posted by xscot mcknight

A true story. A conversation my colleague was told about a conversation of a would-be convert to the Orthodox Church and a priest who thought she needed to know more about Orthodoxy before converting.
She was a Muslim but ended up reading the whole Bible — OT and NT. She ended up believing Jesus was way, the truth and the life. So she decided to be baptized. She went to the local Coptic priest and told him of her desire to be baptized and enter into the Church.
Priest: “Are you Orthodox?”
Woman: “What’s that? Is it in the Bible?”
Priest (laughing): “No, my dear, it’s not in the Bible.”
Woman: “Then don’t ask me about it! If Orthodoxy is in the Bible, I’ll read it, and I’ll tell you what I think about it.”
Priest: “I can’t just baptize you because you believe. You have to know Orthodoxy.”
So the woman left without being baptized.
Later that night at 1:00 am she heard a great and majestic voice speak to her. God told her “Call the priest right now and tell him that if he doesn’t baptize you, the sin will be on his head, not yours.” So she called the priest and told him what happened.
Priest: “Ok, I will meet you in the morning and baptize you.” The next morning, she went to the Church and was baptized.
The point of this true story: It’s all about Jesus, not “Orthodoxy!”



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Ted Gossard,

posted March 29, 2006 at 6:03 am


Fantastic story. I love it.
Really a heads up for all of us. KISS (“keep it simple stupid”) should come into play here. We tend to muddy the waters in so many ways. The gospel is profound and deep. But entrance into the kingdom is simple enough that one HAS to be like a little child to enter.



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DAWN HUSNICK

posted March 29, 2006 at 6:23 am


Amen!



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graham

posted March 29, 2006 at 7:14 am


Hmmm… I think I struggle with that actually (which surprises me, ‘cos it makes me want to celebrate).
Isn’t the Priest right, in a sense? Isn’t he trying to save her from seeing her baptism as an individualistic right (rather than a communal rite)?



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Jeff

posted March 29, 2006 at 7:50 am


Something is wrong with the story. It says she wanted to 1)be baptised and 2)enter into the church. Yet she didn’t know anything about the orthodox church, and didn’t seem to care. She was misled then to the possibility that the orthodox church was the same as the “Church” she wanted to join. If she is a real person, pray that she is not overtaken by the spirit of religion that grips so many in the orthodox church.



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saint

posted March 29, 2006 at 8:18 am


If we are talking Coptic and Muslim it makes me think of Egypt and if that is the setting (is it Scott?) then Jeff, there aint much choice as to which “Church” to join.



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Jeff

posted March 29, 2006 at 8:37 am


Yes, there is, saint. There is another. In fact, it’s the only one being built by the Lord Himself: His Church. Why can’t she be told she is already a member of that Church? That is the problem with people who only see the Church as an earth-bound, man-made institution. The one, true Church is none of those things. She became a member of that when she believed.



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Ted Gossard

posted March 29, 2006 at 8:49 am


Jeff, Church in the NT cannot be divorced from local gatherings. While I believe in a universal Church as well, the NT teaching about church has largely to do with gatherings. Christians are meant to be part of gatherings. Not just some invisible reality only.



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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted March 29, 2006 at 9:07 am


I think the issue is not so much the accuracy of the priests position, but the nature in which he responded. Both were right, but the priest failed to answer with the relational love of the God he represented.
I get frustrated with these kinds of stories, though, as I find that they reinforce the arguments of shallow theologies by giving fodder to the “all we need is Jesus” crowd. First, when explored, it is revealed that isn’t truly what they often believe. And second, it isn’t “all about Jesus”, but about the fullness of the Godhead- The Three In One.
Ok, so I am tired and I am probably missing the simple point: We should not complicate salvation by demanding propositional acknowledgements above and beyond the deep longing belief of the heart.
Peace,
Jamie



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Scot McKnight

posted March 29, 2006 at 9:52 am


To be sure, there can be confusion by such stories. But that confusion is just as often caused by (1) seeing “faith” too much as “assent” to doctrines and not personal relation with God through Christ and in the Spirit and (2) not seeing “group membership” as having anything to do with the conversion process. Are we not learning that “belonging” can lead to conversion?



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Scot McKnight

posted March 29, 2006 at 9:54 am


The other part of this story is that the priest responded to the extraordinary vision of the woman. How can we not appreciate that sensitivity?



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Jeff

posted March 29, 2006 at 12:23 pm


I am reminded of Eli. You might think he had sensitivity to respond to Samuel’s extraodinary vision as well, but the fact was, like in Samuel, God was speaking to the woman, not the priest. So there is no real sensitivity here at all. Just a thought of, “humm, what do I say to keep this woman in our church” (the first seeker-friendly Orthodox priest, maybe??)? Besides, she reads the Bible. That would make her a real trouble-maker, if there ever was one.
And, Ted, you miss the point completely that there might be a gathering close by her. The story might have been complete and perfect if we had seen her being led by God to turn away from the Orthodox church to find this group of pure saints meeting in the name of Christ alone and not under any man-made religion. That would be a story worth repeating.



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Chris Spinks

posted March 29, 2006 at 1:11 pm


Jeff, I am a bit perplexed by your ideal of a “group of pure saints meeting in the name of Christ alone and not under any man-made [or woman-made, I might add] religion.” Where can I find these pure saints? How does this “group” avoid the inevitable development of any community into a “man-made religion”? Isn’t this part of the mystery of Christ? Just as Jesus was fully human, with all that entailed, so now the body of Christ, the Church (and all of its local manifestations!) is fully human. And, just as Jesus was fully God, so too the Church is empowered by the Spirit of God. I think the charge “all we need is Jesus” invites a complexity at the level of community that needs to be more fully explored.



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Steve

posted March 29, 2006 at 1:27 pm


Hi
Wonderful story. I would suggest that for many Muslims, baptism is a key sign of entering into a life as a follower of Jesus. It’s a clear marker of a conversion.
SO I agree with Graham that the communal aspect of baptism is important, but this woman wanted ot make that committment – recognised the priest, whatever his denomination, as as a representative of that faith – and asked to committ herself. Wonderful
And I pray that she experiecnes the richness and depth of faith and truth, in the traditions of the Orthodox Church.



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Becky

posted March 29, 2006 at 2:57 pm


Was it Peter in Acts, that God gave the vision of the clean and unclean then told him to go baptize the supposedly unclean who he had previously turned away? Instead of bad priest, I’d say good God to reveal himself that this woman would make the step she felt needed to be a christian. Anyone understand the meaning of making such a step in a muslim country ? The son of a couple in our church, is marrying a woman from a muslim country, this weekend. Her family will have nothing to do with her since she crossed the line to be christian.



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Ted Gossard

posted March 29, 2006 at 3:12 pm


Jeff, In #7 I was responding to your thoughts in #6. I think I understand the point your making well- in #4. Though I wouldn’t want to say only in Protestant, evangelical, anabaptist gatherings will there be a true local churches.



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Jim Martin

posted March 29, 2006 at 4:33 pm


Scot,
A great story that brings us back to the essence of the Gospel–Jesus himself. Thanks.



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Jeff

posted March 29, 2006 at 5:02 pm


Ted, I wouldn’t want to say there are any particular “named” groups that are the true local church, either. In #7, yes, the universal Church exists (Mt. 16), and it is the one I believe in, and believe exists in every place on the face of the earth where the name of Christ is lifted up. If this woman read her Bible, believed what she read, I believe God would lead her eventually to a connection with the true Church, somewhere, somehow, if even with only two other people within 500 sq miles.
I also believe entrance into the Orthodox Church can lead to a life of deadness, since I have seen the effects in person of lives lived under it’s influence. It is not a pretty sight.
If she was a muslim, also, her future would be in doubt once she is baptised, since in many muslim influnced areas, baptism is a death sentence. It’s odd that one can profess Christ, but once they are baptised, they are often marked for rejection and death. This is the interesting power baptism has, and that we often underestimate here in the west.



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Anonymous

posted March 29, 2006 at 9:49 pm


A Bob’s Life » Blog Archive » Just Give Me Jesus

[...] Scot re-tells a story of baptism. It’s short and well worth the read. [...]



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P3T3RK3Y5

posted March 29, 2006 at 11:47 pm


fantastic story. enjoyed the comments (and contexts) as well.
…”a true story” — as in “i don’t know if it happened this way or not, but i know this story is true” – or as in “this is factually true”? how we each read those first three words tells us something about our thoughts on knowing.
Priest: “I can’t just baptize you because you believe. You have to know Orthodoxy.”
i think we often underestimate what intuitive knowing means – “believing” may be a good proxy for intuitive knowing. likewise we overestimate the importance of rationally knowing: facts.
when rational knowing gets in the way of intuitive belief – the shortcoming of rational thought becomes apparent.
bravo.



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Timothy Wright

posted April 2, 2006 at 11:35 am


If a Muslim asks to be baptised they know it means they are ready to suffer and die for Jesus. Unlike 99.9% of us who read this blog. Being a MBB- Muslim Back Ground Believer she has joined the body of Christ as her ONLY FAMILY. They are her family. She no longer has a family to go back to. If she has brothers it will be upon them to kill her if her Father is alive and asks them to do it. If her Father is dead she may live.
Pray for her
Tim



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Chris P.

posted April 3, 2006 at 1:12 pm


Jesus is orthodox. He went to temple, and kept the Torah.
It’s about Him not “denominations.”



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Scot McKnight

posted April 3, 2006 at 1:32 pm


Chris,
Odd way of putting things: Jesus is “orthodox”? Anachronistic, wouldn’t you say?
When he went to the Temple he (1) made claims about his relationship to the Father and wowed the leaders and (2) turned tables over, abandoned it as on the verge of destruction, and then established an alternative meal.



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Chris P.

posted April 3, 2006 at 2:34 pm


He still observed all the law, and perfectly btw. I would say that you are dangerously close to saying that the Law has been abolished. Matthew 5:17-20
The money changers, the pharisees the sadducees etc. knew neither the Scriptures not the power of God. Therefore they did not keep the Law. They added to it, and circumvented it.
His claims of relationship to the Father, show us that He (Jesus) is the author and content of the Law.
Jesus was/is the most orthodox man who ever lived. He never broke a commandment, He came to show us who and what they are about.



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