Manuscript of Dr. Beckum's Controversial Message
"I do not preach “everything” I believe.
But, I also do not preach things I don’t believe.
In my life, I have struggled with some things that Jesus said, (pretty plainly), that go against the grain of what is accepted as normal, or OK or even a sign of a being a good Christian in this part of the world.
This sermon is not meant to give a final answer but to get the conversation started or keep it going. So you can tweet away. I hope you will talk about it.
I am afraid that some of us have come to the conclusion that being a Christian is the result of a prayer we pray and trying to pray every day and read the Bible and go to church and not smoke, drink or chew, or go with girls who do.
So, this morning I want to talk to those of us who have decided to follow Jesus. If you are not a Christian, a follower of Christ, you can listen in, but what I am about to say won’t matter to you and you won’t be affected by it. You are welcome to listen.
Anyone who has made a decision to follow Jesus realizes that the goal of a being a Christian is to become Christ-like. As the Orthodox so beautifully say, “To become by grace what he is by nature.”
In the Apostle’s creed, we Christians affirm our faith…
I believe in God the Father almighty maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate was crucified dead and buried,
The creed jumps from conceived and born to suffered and died and leaves out some pretty important stuff that Jesus taught and did in between those two events.
I am afraid some of us are guilty of the same thing. We have as Eugene Peterson says, skipped over the Way of Jesus to get to the Truth of Jesus. But Christians believe that truth is not a proposition, it is a person. And to know the truth we must know the person. And to be a Christian (which by the way was a derogatory term, “slave of Christ”) we must actually pattern our lives after Jesus.
The Jesus Way, Eugene Peterson
Like I said, I am just talking to those who would be followers of Jesus. This is not for those who don’t care about being a Christ follower.
I am extremely troubled. I have been for a long time and I have hesitated to address this subject publicly, but I cannot keep silent about it any longer.
Something happened recently that has really disturbed me.
As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever.
And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history.
Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are.
I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation.
Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians.
It is a scary complicated world out there. People want to kill us. We have an obligation to protect our children and loved ones, our neighbors. But Christian words are not revenge and retaliation, they are redemption and reconciliation.
This is the struggle.
So, what does Jesus have to say about it. Again, if you are not a follower of Jesus you can relax. This doesn’t concern you.
But Christians have to do something with this. I have to do something with the words of Jesus and his actions.
We have to be very careful about equating patriotism with Christianity. We never say God and…anything. God is above all, everything else is underneath.
I love my country and am thankful for freedom.
But the earliest Christian creed was very politically
incorrect and dangerous.
Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not
We have put “our way of life”/freedom on the top rung.
If you mess with it I’ll blow your head off.
For a Christian what is on the top rung? Love for all.
Christians are, as Paul writes, controlled by love, compelled by love for everyone.
Listen to the word of the Lord
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
One person said to me, but they didn’t have terrorists trying to kill them. THEY DID. THE ROMANS WERE AN OPPRESSIVE SUPER-POWER RULING OVER THEM, THEY CRUCIFIED HUNDREDS IN PUBLIC PLACES AS EXAMPLES TO THOSE WHO FELL OUT OF LINE.
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. (what kind of spirit is in you? The son of man has come to save lives, not destroy them.)” 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant,cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
1 Peter 3:9
9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Which is exactly what Jesus did.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
All New Testament passages: NIV
This is what a Christ-like person does. If you don’t want to be Christ-like, no worries. If you do, yes, worries.
We have to wrestle with these words.
Don Quixote in the play, The Man from La Mancha
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Too much sanity may be madness. To surrender dreams- -this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. And maddest of all- -to see life as it is and not as it should be.”
Followers of Christ are to see the world as it should be. They are to seek first the Kingdom of God.
Are we walking toward the Kingdom of God where weapons are beaten into plowshares, where no one goes hungry, everyone is valued and cared for? Or are we walking away from the Kingdom?
I’d like to know what you think about the issue.
Robbie WegleyEditor-in-Chief - More by this author
Robbie Wegley is a senior history major from Olathe, Kan. He plans to pursue a career in journalism.