Food For Thought from J.B. Phillips–We Need to Be on guard agnst Squeezing Jesus into our own Mold

It is by no means easy to make an accurate summary of that character and truth revealed by Jesus Christ, even if we do not omit those parts of the records which we personally think distasteful or discordant. In this “Christian” country, we nearly all have some pre-conceived, even though vague, idea of the Christ-character, and we need to be on our guard against “reading back” into His deeds and words what is already in our minds about Him. Men have tamed and modified and “explained” so much of His message that a great deal of its edge has been blunted. Nor does our reverence for the superb literary quality of the familiar Authorized Version do anything but hinder. Truth that should be regarded as FACT comes to be regarded as “a beautiful thought”: at best it is “a religious truth” rather than a reliable and workable fact on which to act and build. A “fact” of psychological research or of medical science for example is accepted by the mind as being more “true” than a statement of Christ. Yet if Christ was God, it should be the other way round. It may help, therefore, to re-state the basic principles of Jesus Christ in somewhat unfamiliar form.

The truth taught by Jesus Christ is the right way to live. It is not primarily a religion, not even the best religion, but God Himself explaining in terms that men can readily grasp how life is meant to be lived.

–J.B. Phillips,Your God is Too Small (New York: Macmillan, 1961) [emphasis mine]


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