Here’s the very short “parable” of sorts written by Mick Mooney. Read before continuing! WWJD: What Would Jesus Do? Do you Really Want to Know?
I thought about writing a parable in response, but I think it’s best just to discuss the ideas and assumptions purported in Mooney’s parable. Mooney uses well known stories of Jesus to prove multiple points, but is incomplete and sometimes just wrong the points he tries to prove. The most common problem? Mooney seems to pick and choose stories and Scriptures he likes and fits his agenda, while completely ignoring the rest of Scripture. 4 main thoughts:
1. Water into Wine (John 2: 1-11)
In Mooney’s parable, he equated Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding to the woman’s son buying a round of beers for a group of people who were already drunk. Interesting take. But does Mooney completely miss the point of what Jesus did?
Jesus did something that was impossible, supernatural. Jesus “manifested his glory” (John 2:11) by doing something that wasn’t humanly possible. Why: To prove that we was the sovereign Creator of the universe, not merely a man (John 1:1, 14). If Mooney seriously thinks that this miracle is to show us that we can and should buy alcohol for drunk people, he either 1) hasn’t read the actual passage, or 2) he doesn’t believe the Scriptures truly give an account of who Jesus is, but he’s still willing to use Scripture for his own purposes.
2. Jesus Turning over the Temple (John 2:13-17)
In Mooney’s parable, he explains that the boy went into a church, “tore down the bookstore, and threw the cash register through the window.” Then he chased the pastor out of the building…
Are these two actions comparable? Hardly… People were selling oxen, sheep, pigeons, and more. There’s nothing wrong with selling things, but to sell things completely unrelated to the purpose of the temple inside the temple was outrageous, and Jesus did something about it. Selling Christian books out of a bookstore…isn’t exactly in contradiction with the purpose of the Church. The two are completely unrelated.
3. Jesus defending the Adulteress (John 8:1-11)
Mooney compares this story with that of the boy walking out of an abortion clinic with women who had just had an abortion. The boy then yells at the picketers, “You who are without sin: throw the first stone!”
Again, the problem here is not that Mooney doesn’t make a valid point, but that his point is incomplete. We should love sinners, because we are sinners as well. But picketing an abortion clinic is hardly comparable to stoning a woman to death. If someone were to bring stones to the picketing site, I imagine that the picketers would not only refuse to throw them, but be outraged that someone brought them.
Another interesting note is what Jesus said at the end of this story: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (vs. 11). Ha! So if Mooney were to finish out his parable, it would include the son saying to the woman who had just had an abortion, “I love you and care for you, but don’t ever have an abortion again!” That sure doesn’t fit Mooney’s agenda… so, of course, it’s not included…
4. The Old Testament
In Mooney’s parable, only when the boy changed wristbands to one that said WWAPD? (What would a Pharisee do?), did the boy look like the average Christian we see today. This particular paragraph is particularly interesting, but I want to focus on just one of his character qualities given to describe a Pharisee as opposed to Jesus. With the new wristband, the boy became a “passionate defender of the Old Covenant law.” Because clearly Jesus didn’t like the Old Testament….except that he did…
Jesus quoted the Old Testament thirty-three times that we know of…. Clearly, Jesus was a “passionate” about the Old Covenant. Now yes, he wasn’t passionate about ceremonial law that was required for making sacrifices (because he was now the permanent sacrifice needed), but he was definitely passionate about Old Testament moral law. Matthew 5:17 makes clear that Jesus didn’t come to get rid of the Old Testament, but to fulfill it! The Old Testament, particularly prophetic texts, all point to the coming of a Messiah who will save sinners from their sin. How are we saved? By repenting from sin and placing our faith in Christ, the one-time sacrifice that appeases God’s wrath. Yes, even Jesus talked about repentance (Matthew 4:17).
Jesus didn’t endorse a lawless faith. Yes, as Christians, we should absolutely look to ourselves and our own sin before we worry about others. We should make sure we don’t have any particular unrepentant sin in our lives. But this doesn’t negate helping others with their sin! “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). Again, do you see what we do after removing the plank from our own eye?! Where’s the balance? We absolutely, and unequivocally, love all people. But we also absolutely, and unequivocally, proclaim all truth, both to ourselves and others.
God’s Word isn’t a buffet line. It’s “take it or leave it.” I, for one, take it. Not just the parts that prove the points I want to make, but all of it.
But if you’re reading this and you side with me on Mooney’s article, don’t just leave this article thinking, “Yeah!” Instead, ask yourself: do you treat God’s Word like a buffet line? Do you read all of it, or ignore parts that you may not like? This is definitely a question worth asking!