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Intersection of Life and Faith

Jesus is Ambidextrous

  • Terry Jacobson
  • 2007 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
Jesus is Ambidextrous

I have to confess –- I am tired of the conservative Christian “right” and the liberal Christian “left” claiming to speak for God.[1] I may be wrong about this but I think God is tired of it too.

The conservative Christian “right” claims to speak for God on a number of issues –- who is the best candidate for Supreme Court Justice, what laws best promote social order and harmony, and even what is wrong with America. When speaking on moral issues, they can often cite biblical precedents for their positions. Life begins at conception and so abortion is wrong -- Psalm 139. Homosexuality, like all sexual experiences outside of marriage between a man and a woman, is sin -– 1 Corinthians 6, 1 Timothy 1, Romans 1 and Leviticus 18 and 20. On the other hand, when the conservative Christian “right” speaks on things that God doesn’t directly address -– such as tax cuts or tort reform, their voice loses its power. So long as the conservative Christian “right” speaks on issues the Bible directly addresses, their voice is loud and clear. And, because they say the same thing God says about immoral behavior -– it is sin -– their message is very powerful.

There is also a liberal Christian “left” that claims to speak for God on a wide variety of issues –- who is the best candidate for President, what laws promote fairness (racial, economic, sexual identity, etc.), and even what is wrong with America. When they speak on issues such as feeding poor people, debt relief for Third World countries and providing health care to those who have great need, they speak with a powerful voice because God is passionate about those very things. Sometimes, the liberal Christian “left” embraces an issue that requires them to explain away or ignore what the Bible has to say. For example, when the liberal Christian “left” campaigns for gay and lesbian rights, they have to do something with those passages in the Bible that tell us what God thinks about homosexuality and lesbianism. Pretty clearly, He thinks it is sin. And, once they abandon the Bible as the source of truth, or try to explain that it doesn’t mean what it clearly says, they get into a bit of a conundrum. If the Bible isn’t the source of truth, then what is? If the words don’t mean what they say, then how can we have confidence that any other biblical passage is a source of truth? Some theologian or church body has reinterpreted the words to mean something other than what they plainly say. Well, I don’t think God needs an interpreter –- He communicates pretty well all by Himself. In the end, if their message is not centered on biblical truth, it is devoid of the authority or power that can change our culture.

You can see why both sides have some success in selling their respective messages -– they are both half right. The conservative Christian “right” has mastered the political expression of the holiness of God. Right is right, and wrong is wrong -– holiness is absolute. They are correct as far as they go, but is it far enough? What about the grace of God?

On the other hand, the liberal Christian “left” has successfully captured the political expression of God’s lovingkindness -– His love being poured out on needy people, regardless of race or even nationality. They are also correct, in so far as they go, but again, is it far enough? What about the holiness of God?

Both sides have failed to embrace the paradox that is at the heart of Christianity: the holiness of God and the grace of God simultaneously coexist and are both fully expressed at all times in the person of Jesus Christ. His holiness compels Him to completely account for all our sin and His love compels Him to pay every one of those accounts in full. God never ever compromises one or the other -- He is always holy and He is always loving. He always hates the sin and always loves the sinner. The conservative Christian “right” is demonized because those who speak on its behalf routinely fail to project the grace of God. On the other hand, the liberal Christian “left” is marginalized because those who speak for it routinely have to "relativize" the truth, and thereby emasculate it, in order to stay on message.

For me, the view that simultaneously and fully expresses the holiness of God and the grace of God is the one for me, because it reflects Jesus. You see, Jesus is ambidextrous -– He doesn’t favor His right or His left. He is fully adept at both.


[1] The use of the words “left” and “right” to describe liberal and conservative political positions apparently originated in the French National Assembly of 1789, when the radicals were seated to the left of the presiding officer. 

Terry Jacobson practices civil trial law in Corsicana, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Tina, and their 3 children. He has been an elder at Believers Bible Church since 1998.

Used with permission from Cheryl Pruitt Shelton, The B & B Media Group, Inc.
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