Bait and Switch Jesus?
Updated: 13 hours ago
I want to speak out about something that the Lord has placed on my heart over the past year, as a snare for both believers and unbelievers. Myself, included.
Counterfeit spirituality, offered through hits of emotion that music and entertainment provides, can rob us of a deep and abiding relationship with the living God, offered through his word.
"Warm fuzzies" can sometimes replace the deep transformation that comes through commitment and devotion to Christ, the Word of God, made flesh. His grace offers to us the gift of his word and salvation. Redemption from our sin and from death. It's so much more than just a nice story. It's historical fact with implications for every single soul. It's life and death, this book.
For many years, my enjoyment of belonging in church culture deceived me into a false sense of security. I loved fellowship, music, missions and giving, but I was not living faithfully to Christ, because I was idolizing the things of this world. I was spiritually compromised, because I was practicing sin. A heart that practices and delights in sin and worldliness isn't a heart that has been gripped by the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:8).
I wasn't biblically literate. I thought that being a Christian meant, "accepting Jesus into my heart" (a prayer I prayed as a child.) I didn't understand the danger I was in, by not abiding in Jesus. The comfort that I was receiving from a sugar gospel and a sugar church was not making me aware of my need for the Word of God. And so, I didn't diligently pursue it. Because of that, I didn't receive the new life and deliverance that Jesus died and rose again to offer to me. I wasn't free. I was still in bondage to sin and my own faulty will. I didn't even know it. I needed the conviction that God's word produces.
This is a message about sensuality that poses as spirituality, in order to prevent the real and living word of God from penetrating the hearts of men. It's the Word of God, entering into the gates of our eyes and ears that produces hearts of repentance and the transformation that's evident of saving faith. Saving faith in Jesus Christ requires a hearing of the Word (Romans 10:17). Counterfeit faith is hits of religious emotion through anything, but.
Please understand that I'm not intending to rob people of art, church or the pleasures and gifts of music that come from God. God gave us senses. They aren’t evil. God made them, so, they're good. I’m highlighting how this can substitute real faith, so that we don’t stay in the shallows of Christianity, thinking we are “deep” because of sensual experiences in worship or rituals. Or worse, taking these feelings and experiences as evidence for salvation, when there is no repentance (Mark 1:15).
Jude warns us about empty rituals as sensual and fleshly. They are not of the Spirit. He refers to them as “waterless clouds.” So, I'll take it as a good sign, if people think I'm raining on their parade. I will be the resident party-pooper for the things that Jesus died to save us from. One of them, being the false or twisted doctrines of men. Even a little leavening leavens the whole lump (Gal 5:9).
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4
It's good to ask ourselves, are we gushing and swooning over a pastor or a teacher? Are we more enamored with Maverick City Music and the sensationally popular show, "The Chosen" than we are with the real Jesus - the Word of God? It's important to distinguish if affection for Jesus is awakened by a "presentation" of God, or if our affections are a fruit of communing with him. Of knowing him. True affection for the living Jesus comes from an intimate relationship with him, devoid of "props".
One sign of sensuality, masquerading as Christianity, is attending a church where “the worship is good,” because we don’t understand that worship is something we give from our heart to bless the Lord. Worship that is acceptable to the Lord springs forth from our understanding of the Word (John 4). It's not something we “get”. (Though it's amazing that we get to do it!)
If we are serving the god of goosebumps and entertainment, who only kisses us when we are drinking his cup of sensuality, it's good to ask why that is. If there is no mountain top of spiritual union or ecstasy with God outside of these mediums, it’s worth asking why. If the living word of God feels so dead to us that we hardly read it, yet we can't wait to soak in some Bethel Music and "feel God" again, it's worth asking why. There may be another spirit at work, that isn't the Holy Spirit.
Dallas Jenkins, the producer of the Chosen, emphatically states that though he is an evangelical Christian, he will go to his grave defending the Mormon Jesus. He insists that it’s the same Jesus as the biblical Jesus and that Mormons are saved. The reason he states this in a couple of easily found interviews is because of concern from Christians about the influence of Mormon contributors on the show. Jenkins insists he has full creative authority and intends to only use the Bible, though he considers Mormons to be brothers and sisters in the Lord.
There is a hope that this kind of compromise will introduce people to the real gospel, who wouldn't otherwise be interested, because the word of God isn't as "entertaining" or "inclusive". This defense breaks my heart. The Word of God is Jesus. He died to give the Bible to us. He was tortured so that we could possess this treasure: himself. To say that it isn't sufficient, and that man can come up with better ways than God to entice people to God is prideful.
Sometimes, God, in his grace and mercy, will retrieve a person and gather them to his word through an unclean medium. But most of the time, what we draw people with is what we draw people to. Let it be the Word of God -- Jesus. The pure bread of life.
The Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints believes a doctrine that denies the holy trinity. They worship three separate gods. They do not read the word of God, but the Book of Mormon, written by occultist, Joseph Smith. Mormons support polygamy, which the bible says is a sin. They also believe that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. It goes on. If we don’t see the grave danger and the abomination of these doctrines, then we don’t know our Bible. We don’t have any grasp of fundamental theology. And therefore, no grasp of Jesus.
*Pastor Jeff Durbin, of Apologia Church, has an active mission in evangelizing to Mormons, and has a lot of great videos on how to reach out to them in love and truth. His channel is linked in the above video.
The infiltration of Mormonism into a show that claims to be about the biblical Jesus should provoke the Holy Spirit in followers of Christ, “who yearns jealously.” (James 4:5) Sadly, I’m hearing a lot of people shrug it off as if it doesn’t matter, as long as we aren’t taking the show as scripture. Or, as long as the gospel is in there. But, if we are holding to scripture above the show, then we should be casting the show away from us, because of what the scripture says about demonic doctrines, like Mormonism.
This argument also ignores the implication of mixture and the effects of seed planting in the viewers. Stories are a powerful way to plant seeds of truth or deception. There’s a reason that broadcasting means “to scatter seed.” If we care about the blood that Jesus shed on the cross to deliver us from religion, false doctrine, and the deceitful philosophies of men, any suggestions that Mormon theology isn't an abomination to the Lord, but rather, acceptable, should cause us to walk away.
There can be no common ground between Mormonism and Christianity, because it's a different Jesus altogether. There are Roman Catholics who also work on the show. There is more commonality between Christianity and Catholicism, though there is much unbiblical Catholic doctrine. Beware a bait and switch Jesus that is meant to give rise to the ecumenical spirit of the age and keeps people from real biblical salvation, by the gift of grace alone.
Here is what 2 Corinthians 6 says:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Before I continue, I'll drop a few videos at the bottom, for any Catholics who are here. Welcome! I pray that God has led you, here. Please hear my heart and know that I'm not personally attacking you. I just want to shed light on what the Bible says about these things. I appreciate your consideration.
Much like the feel good Jesus of The Chosen, there's a brand of modern worship and religious experience that creates an illusion of security, when hearts are not repentant. Mistaking sensuality for spirituality gives people an illusion of true love and affection for Jesus, so that the real thing is not sought after. God defines love in the Bible as not delighting in evil, but rejoicing with the truth (1 Cor. 13:6). He defines the fruit of true love for God as obedience to his commandments (John 14:21). Loving God requires knowledge of his word. Not feeling. It's a total rending of the heart.
We are not called to be divisive. We aren't called to sow discord. The real gospel is divisive enough on its own. (Luke 12:51). But if the majority of Roman Catholics and Mormons aren’t offended by it, then it’s probably not the real gospel or the real Jesus. The real Jesus was crucified by the religious establishment and hated by the world. We are told in scripture that if we are real disciples, then we will be hated by everyone (Matthew 10:22). I don't want to throw water on a real revival, or scoff at the shedding abroad of the gospel message on a TV program, but the sensational popularity of the show should raise healthy suspicion. It’s warranted. A worldly Jesus is never of God.
Creators of Christian content must understand how important integrity to the Word of God is, even in their personal lives. They are priests and ministers, with a different medium (1 Peter 2:5). Their pulpit is their show or their stage -- and it's also their lives. People want to separate these, but the Bible tells us to inspect the fruit and make a judgment (Matthew 7). Jenkins' adamancy that Mormons are saved sends the wrong message, especially when I see Mormons on the comments threads saying how grateful they are that Dallas would say that. It's counterproductive to evangelism to say that Mormons are saved and need not repent.
People don’t always have the emotional maturity to separate the figure on the show from the actor. That’s why we see a flood of people following the actor who plays Jesus, Jonathan Roumie, on social media. That's why we hear fans screaming at the appearance of producer l, Dallas Jenkins, like it's the 60s and the Beatles just walked onstage. We already know that Dallas is in err, whether it affects the biblical integrity of the show or not. Can Jonathan Roumie and Dallas Jenkins' false doctrines influence and seduce people away from the scriptures and into extra-biblical practices that the bible warns against? If the ecumenical spirit that is at work in Dallas Jenkins and team is the same spirit that is making the show, then it's almost certain. If anything, it gives the message that these things that God hates, are okay.
The last nail on the coffin, for me, in regards to The Chosen, is a satirical channel that they produce on youtube, called, “The Chosen is Bad.” It sexualizes Jesus, dresses the devil up as a harmless jokester, and calls the bible boring. I understand satire. But the lack of reverence for God’s word reveals that the spirit at work is not one who instills the fear of the Lord, but one that makes a mockery of God’s righteous judgments and makes light of hell. The devil loves to project himself as a cartoon trope.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Mathew 24:24
Our periodic worship and devotion to Christ means nothing if the rest of our lives don't match. If we are living in rebellion, then we must question if our hearts are truly regenerated by the blood of Christ and the impartation of his righteousness to us. Jesus commands his chosen disciples to take up their crosses to follow him. He demands that we crucify the desires of our flesh, because they are at enmity with God (Romans 8).
Like other religions, shallow, sensual Christianity is a counterfeit. Even the book of Mormon starts by saying that a person who reads it will know that it's true if they feel “a burning in their bosom.” Most Mormons claim to have felt it. Satan will happily provide a sensual experience to trap someone into a cult like Mormonism, a religion like Roman Catholicism, or into a false Christian conversion. He does it all the time.
We need to pray for discernment and stay in God's word, when it comes to worship and entertainment. Repetitive, hypnotic hype with seductive voices that work us into an emotional frenzy of tears and "feelings" about Christ that are absent the rest of our lives only robs us from seeking the Lord with diligence and discipline, through his word. It robs us from real heights. Real depth. The good news is that if we lay down our desperate desire for Jesus to look us in the eyes with the soul - sparkling gaze of Jonathan Roumie, we can receive the real thing. The real Jesus is far more nourishing, loving, life-giving, chain-breaking than any crush an actor might produce. Better than any goosebumps that a vocal run might give us. One look from the real Jesus will strike us dead, if we are blessed to seek it through his word. Only the real Jesus can look upon us with life-changing love and resurrect us with him into glory. He's alive and wants to be known and interactive with us, through his Word (He is the Word of God).
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-3)
Sensual experiences do not produce real spiritual fruit, which starts with repentance in the heart. The Word of God produces conviction, as it reveals Jesus to us. It's wise to steer clear of hits of religious emotion and comfort, where there is to be none. Only those who have received the Holy Spirit, through faith in the biblical Jesus alone, are safe. Let us prayerfully examine ourselves with the mirror of the Bible to see if our faith is genuine. Only then, will we know if our eternal security is genuine.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8, NKJV).
Mary Magdalene's character interview and her occultic gospel:
(10 minute video)
(Deeper biblical analysis - 2 hours)