Some of you might think CB Scott is a newcomer to Baptist Blogging, but he’s one of the original “Wild West” era Baptist bloggers and one of its key figures through the years. He took a break recently when his town (Birmingham, AL) was devastated by a tornado and he led relief efforts. His words here are very wise.
It is the Christmas season. Therefore several posts have appeared here at SBC Voices related to the various issues concerning the way individuals celebrate the Advent. No one can doubt that a great deal of myth has been attached to the time of the year when we formally celebrate the birth of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.
There is also no doubt that Santa Claus, elves, reindeer-drawn sleighs filled with gifts for good little girls and boys constitute myth. Obviously, Christians approach the mythical nature of Christmas in different ways from various theological and philosophical perspectives. Nonetheless, I think we can all agree that the red clad little elf, his reindeer, his elves, and his nighttime ride through the sky consist of nothing more than fantasy.
Santa is not the mythical figure I want to address in this post. I want to address another mythical figure that, in my opinion, is far more dangerous to children and adults alike than Saint Nick and the other infamous Christmas tree goblins known as the North Pole Gang have ever been to human kind.
Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, is no mythical being. His Good Story is true for He truly has risen from the dead and is at the right hand of the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth. His love for us is unquestionable and He has released those of us who are His children from our sins by His blood. I would assume that every born again, God called preacher of the gospel would agree with that.
Yet, and far too often, when Baptist pastors officiate funerals they bring forward the Jesus of the Baptist Funeral rather than the Jesus who preached “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.” The Jesus of the Baptist Funeral is a far more dangerous mythical creature to men, women, boys, and girls than Kris Kringle has ever been or ever will be.
I recently attended the funeral of a pagan I had known for years. At his funeral service, the Jesus of the Baptist Funeral was trotted out to comfort the multitude of mourners present. Sadly, he was trotted out by a well-educated Southern Baptist pastor. In seeking something other than the biblical Jesus and His gospel to share with the assortment of mourners present, he resorted to the well-travelled Jesus of the Baptist Funeral.
Here is an example of the of the pastor’s efforts to comfort with the mythical Jesus of the Baptist Funeral rather to present the truth of the biblical Jesus. My fellow pastor stated:
“As I got to know Brother X and his family before his death, I heard many things that give me assurance here tonight. I want to share some of those things with all of you to give you comfort in this time of grief and loss. His family told me a story of when he was a little boy. He and his cousins would find dead bird, squirrels, rabbits and other animals in the woods. They would bury the animal and pretend to give it a funeral. Brother X always wanted to play the part of the preacher. When Brother X came back here to live he was known as a man who would help his neighbors in any way he could. Those things about him just say to me he has always had Jesus on his mind and in his heart.”
The real shocker to me was the great number of people exclaiming A-Men and Praise the Lord which fueled the preacher to go on with further evidences that Brother X was resting in the bosom of the Jesus of the Baptist Funeral. Obviously, the Jesus of the Baptist Funeral is alive and well in the hearts of many, leaving no room in the “end” for the true King of kings.