The Utilitarian Christ

I confess to a feeling of uneasiness when I observe the questionable things Christ is said to do for people these days. He is often recommended as a wonderfully obliging but not too discriminating Big Brother, who delights to help us accomplish our ends, and who further favors us by not asking any embarrassing questions about the moral and spiritual qualities of those ends.

Within the past few years, Christ has been popularized by some so-called evangelicals as one who, if a proper amount of prayer is offered, would help the pious prize fighter knock another fighter unconscious in the ring. He is also said to help the big league pitcher get the proper hook on his curve. In other instances, He helps someone win first in a track meet and set a new record, helps a businessman beat out a competitor, and even lends support to a praying movie star while she plays a movie role that is so lewd that it brings blood to the face of even immoral people.

Thus our Lord becomes the Christ of utility, a kind of Aladdin’s lamp to do minor miracles for anyone who summon Him to do their bidding. All this is too horrible to contemplate, and I hope that the proponents of this modern accommodating Christ do not see the implications that lie in their shoddy doctrine. But perhaps they do see, and are willing nevertheless to offer this utilitarian Christ as the Saviour of mankind. If so, then they no longer believe in the deity or lordship of Christ in any proper definition of those words. Theirs is a Christ of carnal convenience, not too far removed from the gods of paganism.

A Joshua fighting the battles of the Lord, a David rescuing Israel from the Philistines, or even a Washington seeking God’s help against the enemy who would enslave the young America–this is all up on a high level of moral and spiritual principle and in line with the purpose of God in human history. But to teach that Christ will use His sacred powers to further our worldly interests is to wrong our Lord and injure our own souls.

We evangelicals need to learn the truths of the sovereignty of God and the lordship of Christ. God will not play along with Adam and Christ will not be used by any of Adam’s selfish brood. We had better learn these things fast if this generation of young Christians is to be spared the supreme tragedy of following a Christ who is merely a Christ of conveneince and not the true Lord of glory.

– A. W. Tozer

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