ReJESUS: The Early Church and Counterfeiting Jesus

I'm sure you have heard people express the same idea as Gandhi: "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christianity." I know I've often thought the same in our overly contentious times. The only issue is, Gandhi fashioned a Christ according to his own image; a Christ that fit his personal passion. So, naturally he liked his Jesus.

Decades later, we continue to hear descriptions of Jesus that fit more with someone's own perception of Him than that of the Bible's. The same happened even in the early church. All sorts of counterfeit ideas about Jesus emerged in the early centuries and many of those same ideas are present in our day still.

Getting our Christology sorted is one of the chief responsibilities of Christian leaders. As Paul reminded Titus, a leader "must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" (Titus 1:9).

As Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch remind us in reJesus, "If we are to reJesus the church and remake it in our Founder's image, we need to go back to the daring, radical, strange, wonderful, inexplicable, unstoppable, marvelous, unsettling, disturbing, caring, powerful God-Man."

Heading into February and March in preparation for Easter, turning my attention to who Jesus says He is reminds me that an incomplete picture of Him is an inaccurate picture of Him.

With you serving Him,
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Michael T. Cooper, PhD
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The Early Church and Counterfeiting Jesus

Back when the color inkjet printer and image scanner were introduced to everyday consumers, many with nefarious intentions came up with the brilliant idea to print counterfeit money. Simply by laying a piece of currency on the scanner and printing the image onto a piece of paper, the money looked remarkably similar to the real thing.

In those early days, I knew of a person who, along with a group of high school friends, came up with the brilliant plan to print $20 bills and drive to Mexico to purchase goods. The plan worked as they purchased a car full clothing and electronics until one shop owner recognized the counterfeit and alerted the authorities. Ultimately, the Secret Service became involved and the misfit high schoolers were extradited back to the US to face punishment. For the shop owner, as well as for the Secret Service, the key to recognizing counterfeit currency is knowing what the real currency looks like, down to the minutest details.
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Movemental Ecclesiology

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Movemental Ecclesiology focuses on the movemental nature of the church with attention to the importance of cultural exegesis and adaptive strategies for ecclesial structures and leadership. Special attention is given to the importance of missiology in catalyzing reproducing churches, making disciples, and developing leaders.

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The Practices of the Ancient Church

Practices of the Ancient Church explores the beliefs about Jesus Christ that led to a deep appreciation for belonging to the body of Christ and resulted in a behavior that established Christianity's good reputation in the community.

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With the continuing decline of Western Christianity and the expansion of the gospel around the world, church planting can play a vital role in the evangelization of people in the post-Christian cultural milieu as well as in the majority world. This Master of Arts degree is designed to equip those who sense God’s leading into the challenging ministry of starting new churches. The 48-credit hour degree focuses on biblical, theological, and missiological competencies to effectively launch, ground, lead, multiply, and sustain healthy, reproducing churches.


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