Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Jesus Isn't a Rorschach

The Rorschach Test is named after Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach  and it involves inkblots.  The inkblots are sufficiently ambiguous for someone to see whatever he wants to see in them.  I doubt the reliability of the test itself, but I use it now for its illustrative value, because people treat Jesus like a Rorschach Test, that is, Jesus is Himself sufficiently ambiguous to see whatever Jesus one wants to see in Him.

An actual Jesus most reject.  However, an inkblot sort of Jesus, that allows someone to see the Jesus he wants -- that Jesus would be acceptable.  We do understand Jesus in our imaginations.  We know Him in our minds, also called our hearts in the Bible.  What we know is real or concrete with definite boundaries.  Another way of saying that is "He is Who He is."  When He is turned into someone or something else, He isn't Jesus anymore.

People are more comfortable with an inkblot Jesus upon whom they can see what they want.  He gives them what they want.  He makes them feel how they want.  They accept him, even if he isn't actual Jesus.  Since Jesus died, was buried, rose- again, and ascended into Heaven, this has been a problem.  People impose on Jesus Who they want Him to be. In that sense, He becomes their servant, delivering to them a Jesus who is satisfactory to them.  They think their personal perception of Jesus is Jesus.  Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 11:34:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
He says "your minds should be corrupted."  People prefer a malleable Jesus, who they can turn into whatever they want him to be in their minds.  They accept him, and he saves them, also in their minds, even if he isn't Jesus.  He gives them a false sense of security.

The interpretation of the Rorschach Jesus is shaped in the imagination by various means, including entertainment, recreation, and music.  He is not shaped by a thorough exposition of scripture.  He is formed by varied means and false teaching or the acceptance of a counterfeit Jesus by others.  They might see something He isn't, but the toleration of variations of him bolster the error.

Subjects view the same inkblot and they see two humans, a four-legged animal, a dog, an elephant, or a bear.  No one is corrected.  Whatever they see can't be wrong.  The perception should be accepted without criticism.  There isn't anything specific in the inkblot.  It is designed to provide ample ambiguity for a range of perception.  Jesus is treated the same way today by the world and now by evangelicalism.  The only problem are those who require specificity and condemn for insufficient limitations on the true Jesus.  He should be a craft or vessel in which to pour whatever it is someone needs him to be, which is the beauty of him.  He doesn't have to be one thing.  He can be what you want or what you need in your own imagination.

A great threat exists for the corruption of thinking.  The unbeliever under the wrath of God has a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28).  Paul calls certain unbelieving men "of corrupt minds" (2 Timothy 3:8) and "men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness" (1 Timothy 6:5).  For this reason, the epistle contain regular prayer concerning what someone "knows."  Paul writes to the Ephesians (1:15-20, bold print mine for emphasis):
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.
The brunt of Paul's prayer is that those members of the church of Ephesus would have knowledge through revelation and have the eyes of their understanding enlightened so that they would know certain things (what and what and what).  For them not to know rightly was intolerable for him.  His prayer centered on their knowledge, in a major way because that's how they could become messed up the most in their lives.  Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:2-3 (bold mine for emphasis):
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
The wrong or false or lack of knowledge risks grace and peace and all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  For salvation, someone needs the knowledge of Jesus our Lord and receives salvation through the knowledge of him.  If someone doesn't have the knowledge of Him, the right knowledge of Him, or sufficient knowledge of Him, he easily could be left in a lost condition, even while thinking he is already acceptable.  This is how someone is deceived.  Very often, a person convinced of partial truth is inoculated against all of the truth.

How does Jesus become a Rorschach?  I will deal with one, even though I touched on several means above that are also worth exploring.  A chief means is conforming the Jesus of the imagination into one's own lust.  This is a message of 2 Peter.  Men walk after their own lusts and then conform Jesus or the entire Godhead to what they want Jesus or God to be.  Every false worshiper shapes God into his own lust.  In so doing, he isn't serving God, but himself (cf. Romans 1:25).

A man knows he is in trouble.  He knows death is coming.  At the same time, he wants what he wants.  He loves himself.  He needs Jesus for the former, but the true Jesus clashes with the latter.  The Rorschach Jesus works, except that He isn't Jesus, so He doesn't really work at all.

1 comment:

Dr. Chuck Barnes Sr. said...

Great illustration of the modern Jesus.