Darrell Bock posts on the difference between Christianity and Jesusanity.
There are really two Christian stories in our culture, two things often called Christianity that are very different in their focus.
One approach sees Jesus’ teaching and person at the center of what God is doing for people. Jesus is God’s anointed one, the Christ, whose mission, life and death is at the center of God’s program. This is what is known as Christianity …
The second approach sees only Jesus’ teaching as the key to understanding who Jesus is. Jesus is like a great prophet, whose teaching shows us the way back to God, but his person, other than the example of Jesus’ walk with God and pointing the ethical path God calls us to, is not central to the divine program. This I have called Jesusanity, because in this view, it is Jesus of Nazareth, the teacher-prophet who is the central focus …
A conversation between people holding to each of these views can be confusing, because people may think they are discussing the same thing (Christianity), when their perception of that belief is in fact very different. Much cultural Christianity, as well as many presentations of Jesus in the public square, actually reflects this Jesusanity.
Bock identifies the following four characteristics of Jesusanity:
- It tends to distance the creature’s responsibility to the Creator.
- It places a significant distance between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.
- It often argues for dividing the New Testament into very different theologies.
- It often claims that many types of Christianity existed in the first century with an equal claim to go back to Jesus.
Obviously, Jesusanity is very different from the Christian faith taught in the New Testament. As Christians we accept Jesus’ teaching because of who he was – the promised Christ sent from God for our salvation.