Which Christ do we believe in?

Buddy Jesus

In the movie Talladega Nights, there is a scene in which the family is saying grace before they eat their fast food take home meal.  Will Farrel’s character offers the prayer to “Baby Jesus” and the “Christmas Jesus” which prompts an argument about which Jesus they pray to.  You can view the scene at  Grace to Baby Jesus (WARNING: the language and behavior of all at the table is offensive and crude, which has become the hallmark of American modern media comedy; you may find it lacking humor, propriety or grace).  I refer to the scene not because I think it brilliant, but  only because it highlights in an awful way a tendency in American society toward such extreme individualism even in one’s Christian faith, that everybody invents their own Jesus.  Jesus becomes nothing more than a personal idol – one can totally ignore Jesus as presented in the Gospel and tradition,  embracing instead the idol of Jesus that one makes for oneself, the Jesus that fits into one’s own unexamined lifestyle: a favorite Jesus, a preferred Jesus, a cuddly Jesus, or a Ninja Jesus.   The human creation of Jesus into an idol or into whatever someone wants to think about Jesus was the subject of debate for the first several hundred years of Christianity and is what prompted the need for a Creed and for the Ecumenical Councils to distinguish between the Jesus as revealed in the teachings of the Apostles (and the Scriptures and the Dogma of Christianity) and the many idols (heresies) which were constantly being created to conform Jesus to personal beliefs. 

Christ Pantocrator

“As we have seen, the Christ with whom we are concerned is the Scriptural Christ:  the Christ who appears in Gospels as the crucified and exalted Lord, understood and presented through the medium of the Scriptures—the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets.  It is this Christ who is the subject of our faith, not the Christ of historical reconstruction, individual mystical experience or metaphysical explanations.”   (Behr, J, Louth, A, Conomos, D Abba:  The Tradition of Orthodoxy in the West pg 176)

See also The Appearance of Jesus Christ: redux