From the Worldwide Faith News archives

'Jesus is Lord': Don't take it personally

Date 20 Jun 2002 09:11:36 -0400

Note #7281 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


'Jesus is Lord': Don't take it personally

Theologian says proclamation of Christ is not individual, but corporate

by John Filiatreau

COLUMBUS, OH - The foundational quality of Christians' affirmation that "Jesus is Lord" was the subject of a theologian's address during a June 19 breakfast meeting sponsored by Presbyterians for Renewal.

The Rev. Marianne Meye Thompson, a professor of New Testament interpretation at Fuller Theological Seminary, said the proclamation of Jesus's lordship "is not first personal and individual in scope, but corporate. ... We do not merely confess what we believe to be true 'for me' or even 'for us,' but what we believe to be true about Jesus Christ with relationship to the one God and all the world."

In her address, subtitled "How the Earliest Christian Confession Informs Our Proclamation in a Pluralistic Age," Thompson said that, to deny the uniqueness of Christ "in the alleged interest of mutual tolerance among the world's religions" is actually "tantamount to idolatry, honoring one lord among many."

"To say there are many equally valid ways to God is not to make God more generous, but simply to make God generic," she said, "... And a generic God ... is simply not the God of the Bible."

Acknowledging Christ's lordship, she added, brings with it a challenge to "show the kind of compassionate and courageous love which Jesus demonstrated to the tax collectors and sinners."

"There will be a profound irony, and indeed shame," she told her audience of about 300 people, "if those of us who insist most vociferously that 'Jesus is Lord' are also known to be most characterized by a lack of humility and love."

She concluded: "Where the church fails to hold fast to its commitment to Christ as Lord, to his way of living among us ... the loss is not only ours, or the church's, but also the world's."

PFR, meeting here in conjunction with the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), awarded its Bell-Mackay Prize for 2002 to Dr. and Mrs. Ken Bailey, recently retired after nearly a half-century of missionary service in the Middle East; and announced a partnership with OneByOne, an ecumenical ministry to people "who struggle with issues of their sexuality."

In a brief welcoming address, the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, the newly elected GA moderator, asked his listeners to "email everyone you know" and request prayers "for the spiritual renewal of the church."
Send your response to this article to

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send an 'unsubscribe' request to

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home