John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Jesus: Both Wise AND Moral?

There is a problem among evangelicals, and it has to do with our children. There are several ways of dealing with the problem, and what will follow for the next several days (perhaps a couple of weeks) here on the blog is simply one way of dealing with it. The problem is that many of our young people completely drop their faith when they head off to college. Generally speaking, they do not lose their faith because they are presented with a better option. Rather, many lose their faith because there is a subtle psychological pressure brought to bear against them, and, finding themselves with inadequate resources for response, they give in.

Essentially, the flow of events goes like this: It is acceptable to believe in Jesus as a “wise and moral” teacher. It’s acceptable to give him that status — provided you also give such status to Mohammed (the founder of the Islamic faith), Gautama Buddha (a prince from India who founded Buddhism) and Confucius (a Chinese political philosopher whose sayings have affected so much of that portion of the world). In other words, you may say that Jesus is important but only as important as any other respectable founder of a religion.

You can put Jesus in that category alongside other “wise and moral” teachers, gain acceptance and receive your intellectual wings. But if you hold to the belief that Jesus was the Son of God, or that there was anything super-natural about him, well, that’s just unacceptable. You aren’t considered intelligent until you graduate from that sort of primitive understanding of Jesus as the super-natural, divine Son of God and instead accept him as just one more expression of religiousness — another “wise and moral” teacher.

I have a problem with this intellectual substitute for a faith in the supernatural Jesus. My problem is this: If you remove the deity from him, he immediately fails to be wise AND moral. He can be one or the other, but he cannot be both.

As we move towards Easter, I want to consider this more. But first I want to ask you two questions:

1. What do you believe about Jesus?

2. Why do you believe what you believe about Jesus?