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Is "What Would Jesus Do" a Good Question to Ask?

Although this may seem to be a legitimate question, there are several problems involved.

1.Many if not most situations don’t require this question to be asked.

Question: Would Jesus choose onion rings or fries?
Answer: Jesus would have chosen what he personally preferred and so should you.

Question: Would Jesus admit to defrauding the IRS?
Answer: Jesus wouldn’t have defrauded the IRS to begin with.

2.Sometimes there is simply no clear answer to this question.

Question: Which of my two job offers would Jesus accept?
Answer: Probably neither.

Question: Which of these two women would Jesus choose to marry?
Answer: Perhaps Jesus could make a good marriage with either one.

Question: Would Jesus square dance?
Answer: I have no earthly idea.

3.It fails to recognize that I am not Jesus. I am a radically different person.

·Jesus could perform miracles. I cannot.
·Jesus was a spiritual giant. I am a spiritual pygmy.
·Jesus did not make mistakes. I make lots of mistakes, so how can I ever be sure what he would do in my place?
·Jesus was both human and divine. I am only human.
·Jesus came to die for our sins. I have a different role.

Question: Would Jesus protest the death penalty?
Answer: Well, he didn’t when it was imposed upon him. But, then again, my role is not to die unjustly for the sins of world.

Question: What would Jesus do about hunger in the world?
Answer: Perhaps he would perform a miracle and feed the five billion. I cannot do that.

4.It tempts us to project our own biases and assumptions onto Jesus.

Question: What would Jesus drive?
Answer 1: Jesus wouldn’t drive. He would walk or take the bus to preserve natural resources and to limit pollution of the atmosphere.
Answer 2: Jesus would drive whatever made his ministry more effective.
Answer 3: Jesus would drive a hybrid car in order to set a good example of concerned moderation.

Question: What would Jesus say about the homosexual lifestyle?
Answer 1: He would harshly condemn it as against the law of God and nature.
Answer 2: He would express love and compassion for those trapped in situations over which they have no control.

5.The question may be interpreted as inherently judgmental and divisive.

·It implicitly judges anyone who fails to ask the question;
·It implicitly judges anyone who gets a different answer from mine.

Question: Would Jesus serve as a bomber pilot and bomb innocent civilians in order to win a war?
Answer 1: Absolutely not. He was the Prince of Peace.
Answer 2: Yes he would, if that was what it took to preserve our freedoms and those of innocent people who are being tyrannized.

6.It does not take into account a holistic view of Jesus.

·Answering the question “What would Jesus do?” is not simply an intellectual exercise in moral judgment.
·To answer the question correctly, one would have to consider Jesus’ personality, generosity, warmth, wit, creativity, compassion, and divinity. How can anyone do that?
·What would Jesus do? He would almost certainly do something I did not expect, almost certainly something surprising. Remember Isaiah 55:8-9. For example, consider this:

Question: Jesus, what should I do about paying taxes? (Matthew 17:24-27)
Answer: Go catch a fish and look in its mouth for your tax money.

Better Questions to Ask:

1.What did Jesus tell me to do in the New Testament?
2.What do I think Jesus would want ME to do? Given all I know about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, which option should I choose?
3.How can I glorify God in this situation?

Comments (1)


As a believer in the goodness of humanity -- which, you might argue, has been created in the image of God -- I am sometimes dismayed when I look around at my fellow humans. But not when I read your writing. I wish there were more Christians like you.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 17, 2007 12:16 PM.

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