Avatar: an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avatar
As has been previously noted, across the entire 24,000 word Rationale record on same-gender marriage Jesus Christ is not allowed to speak even once in a referenced Scriptural passage. When the Presbytery of New York City claims to quote Christ, we find that they have inexplicably used not Christ’s but rather the Apostle Paul’s words.
What we find instead is passage after passage that either nakedly claims that they are following Jesus Christ, or, telling us what they believe Jesus taught, often in the most general and/or selective terms, without the slightest attempt at demonstration. And, what do these authors tell us that Jesus teaches and believes? He teaches and believes exactly as they already believe! This stunning development has been commented upon in numerous posts, including an in-depth treatment in Presbytery of the Cascades: Amending Marriage (1 of 2).
I contend that through the incessant repetition of these misleading statements postmodern Christians have emptied Jesus Christ of who He is and refilled him with who they would like him to be. They have turned him into an avatar whose purpose is to act as an embodiment of their philosophy. He has been turned into “that guy who surely agrees with whatever I decide is good and true” as opposed to the objectively real incarnation of God who said and did specific things that are authoritative in defining our Christian understanding of faith and it’s playing out in our lives.
This project to redefine Jesus Christ has two primary benefits. First, the extent to which people are convinced that Jesus is only A, B and C, and so, would obviously support position X, is the extent to which the postmodern Christian position has already prevailed. I suspect that this is one reason our discourse in the PCUSA has fallen to such an embarrassingly low level. Apparently a majority of our leadership is convinced that Jesus is nothing more than an amen shouter to whatever they decide to believe. Thus there is no need to search out and consider what Jesus actually teaches in Scripture. Rather, any position that they take is simply assumed to be supported by this avatar Jesus.
The second benefit is subtler, but just as powerful. That being, when Jesus Christ is reduced to “that guy who agrees with whatever I decide is good and true” then it is immensely easier to assume a posture of authenticity and faithfulness. After all, at that point you are authentically and faithfully fallowing Christ simply by being who you already are!
Consider the condition of the orthodox Christian who sees Jesus Christ as God Incarnate, fully human and simultaneously fully God, tempted as are we, bur utterly without sin; who sits at the right hand of God the Father. We know that we are called to imitate our Savior, but are also painfully aware of how far we fall short. Thus, our lives are far more vulnerable to the charge of inauthenticity and unfaithfulness. In a world that values the authenticity of “being true to yourself” above all else, our orthodox understanding of Jesus Christ places us at a distinct disadvantage.
However, we need not be dismayed. For:
If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31b)
Do we believe this? Do we trust that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who’s nature and purposes are authoritatively conveyed only by Scripture’s testimony, is for us even when all the powers of this world scream that we are inauthentic, hypocritical imposters; that our motives are evil; that we are pathetic throwbacks to a discredited, ignorant and failed faith? We should be absolutely confident that God is not in need of our answer being yes. We should, out of overflowing love and thankfulness to our Savior, respond yes with all the strength that God has granted us.