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Debunking Leftist Myths About Jesus – Part II: Jesus Was a Political Rebel

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Apostasy, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Social-Issues, The Church, Theology | 0 comments

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The many ways that some movements have perverted the history and theology of Christ is a phenomenon that has perplexed many of us throughout history. At its root, this twisting of biblical truth typically stems from a desire to justify personal ideologies and lifestyles that stand in contrast to objective biblical morality. By reshaping Christ into a figure who aligns with contemporary political or social movements, many attempt to collectively deaden their consciences against their own sin and rebellion against God. They seek to create a “savior” who not only tolerates but endorses their worldviews, their lifestyles, and their selfish desires, thereby removing the sting of conviction and the demand for genuine repentance.

This twisting of God’s grace for personal gain is not merely a benign theological error but a significant spiritual deception with eternal consequences. It demonstrates a grave misunderstanding of who Christ is and what He came to accomplish, turning the Savior of mankind into a mere instrument for earthly gain.

One of the more sinister ways in modern times that these leftists use to pervert God’s grace is to characterize Jesus as a political rebel—a revolutionary figure who opposed the established government and societal norms. This modern movement has a complex and multifaceted history, however. In the mid-20th century, the emergence of Liberation Theology, particularly in Latin American contexts, sought to reinterpret Christ’s teachings through a lens of class struggle and oppression. Influenced by Marxist principles, it painted Jesus as a champion for political revolution.

This thinking was further compounded by the influence of the Frankfurt School, with its Marxist and neo-Marxist underpinnings, contributing to what is now known as the modern “woke church” movements. These contemporary ideologies, mixing elements of Liberation Theology with various Critical Theories, particularly Critical Race Theory, created a pseudo-Christianity that is more aligned with political activism and societal upheaval than with the true gospel of grace.

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With this historical backdrop, we can see that the notion of Jesus as a rebel is not a mere misunderstanding but a serious distortion of the gospel that has been fostered and nurtured over time. This article will dispel the myth of Jesus as a political rebel by examining Jesus’s actual teachings and actions, exploring how they have been misinterpreted, and revealing the incongruence between the true Christ of the Bible and the one conjured by these political ideologies.

Contrary to this twisted portrayal, the Bible presents Jesus as one who recognized and respected earthly authorities to the extent that He should. Jesus understood that it was God who establishes governments and sets up kings and authorities. Notably, He acknowledged this in His interaction with Pilate right before His crucifixion. When Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus did not challenge Pilate’s authority but rather explained that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus told Pilate, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11), affirming that even Pilate’s power as a Roman governor was part of God’s sovereign plan.

In Matthew 22:21, when questioned about paying taxes, Jesus responded, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” His response was not an incitement to revolt but an affirmation of the legitimate role of government. Jesus’ mission was not to overthrow Roman rule or challenge political structures but to call individuals to repentance and faith in Him. He came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17), not to discard it or to incite anarchy. When He did confront authorities, it was the religious leaders who had twisted God’s law, not the civil authorities per se.

In modern leftist quasi-religious circles, this truth is often manipulated to foster a perception of Jesus as a revolutionary figure sympathetic to causes aimed at tearing down established authorities. By twisting the image of Jesus into that of a political rebel, proponents of this myth attempt to lend divine sanction to causes that promote discord, lawlessness, and even violence against established authorities. This movement often manifests in slogans such as “Jesus was a refugee!” or “Jesus supports black lives!”

Movements such as Black Lives Matter and various socialist agendas are embraced by those who seek to align Christ with ideologies that fundamentally oppose biblical principles. They often cite Christ’s compassion for the poor and marginalized as a mandate for political activism and radical societal transformation. In doing so, they disavow the actual gospel and a life that aligns with biblical Christianity—a life that emphasizes personal and spiritual sanctification and seeks Christ’s kingdom that is not of this world (John 18:36). This distorted view of Christianity is more concerned with temporal political power and social change than the eternal salvation of souls.

The apostles also continued this teaching. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 13:1-7, explicitly instructs believers to submit to governing authorities, recognizing them as instituted by God. The Apostles’ approach towards government was not one of rebellion but of respect and submission, aligned with Christ’s teaching.

The blending of Marxist thought, Liberation Theology, and Critical Theory has resulted in a dangerous distortion that perverts the gospel of grace. Jesus’ life and teachings were never about political revolution or societal restructuring. His mission was spiritual, focused on reconciling sinful humanity to a holy and righteous God. Any attempt to reduce His message to mere political activism diminishes His purpose and leads to a tragic misunderstanding of who Jesus truly is.

The biblical Jesus calls us not to political rebellion but to personal repentance, faith, and sanctification. To misconstrue Him as a political rebel is to miss the core of His message and to stray from a path of genuine Christian discipleship. The myth that Jesus was a rebel, fighting against established authorities, is not only historically incorrect but a disservice to His mission to seek and to save the lost and a grave distortion of His person and nature.

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