Skip to content

Macho Jesus is a false Jesus


I think this is the most blasphemous image of Christ I've seen.

Brings to mind that pithy saying often heard on the lips of an influential pastor: 'I refuse to worship a Jesus I could beat up.' 

If that logic were followed - would this be the Jesus who is worthy of worship?  Perish the thought.


0 thoughts on “Macho Jesus is a false Jesus

  1. Missy

    Interesting. "I refuse to worship a Jesus I could beat up." I've never heard that statement before. Makes no sense. I recall he got beat pretty badly. He just didn't stay that way.

  2. Glen

    Makes no sense is right! But I assure you it is said. And the groupees - how they do lap it up. In fact... hark... is that them now? Rushing to defend its use?? Time will tell...

  3. Tom

    Seems like straw man to me. Though, I don't disagree with your reaction to the picture of the macho Christ.

    I'm not a huge fan of the person you quoted personally. But I believe in fairness even so, so let me ask: wasn't the point behind "I refuse to worship a Jesus I could beat up" that we need to let scripture define the reality of who Jesus is, rather than an effeminate church, or a non-Christian who refuses to let Jesus be anything but meek and mild?

    I've listened to him saying it a few times, and this is the context. It might be quite rhetorical, I wouldn't use it. But he's an American and they tend to push it a bit further.

  4. Missy

    I guess I thought that one of the lessons of Christ is that meek and mild takes a great deal more power that we have to live that way - and that it's neither an effeminate nor a masculine trait, but a godly trait.

  5. eclexia

    "But he’s an American and they tend to push it a bit further."

    That made me smile, and immediately got me singing, "Well, I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm pushy...."

    I can only imagine which American it is saying that, but it sure feels like letting him (who I'm imagining it to be) off the hook because of his nationality. Being an American is no excuse, I don't think, for saying something which misses the point that badly and saying it so definitively and repetitively (do I understand correctly that this is some sort of principle the particular pastor-in-question stands on?)

  6. Tom


    I think your nuance is effeminate. Jesus was gentle, kind, but quite fearsome sometimes. Think of some of the things he said to people.

    "You brood of vipers"


  7. waycon

    Common people - just say Mark Driscoll and be done with it.

    And I think the precise quote was "I refuse to worship a Jesus that I could punch out"

    Anways - I assume the blasphemous nature of that picture revolves around the usage of a loin cloth?

  8. Paul Huxley

    Well, point taken with all of the above, but Driscoll might not be getting at that. Isn't he attacking the kind of Jesus who isn't God but just a nice wimpy 'good teacher' with no power or authority? Even on the cross, Jesus could beat Driscoll up by summoning angels if he wanted to.

  9. Jeff

    Is not the whole point of the self-sacrifice of Jesus, that he could not be conquered unless he allowed himself to be. I don't think the picture lines up with the quote. Nor can we say because Jesus got beat up, we can beat him up too. Isn't the glory of the cross is that the unconquerable allowed himself to be conquered. Maybe I'm missing something fundamental, but the Angel of the Lord seems pretty fiece and Revalation 19 Jesus seems to be as well.

  10. Glen

    What's the difference between these two statements:

    Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.


    Worthy is the Almighty Lord who could have avoided it.

    I think they are quite different. And I think we're in danger of losing the outrageous counter-intuitive nature of the cross if we let Driscoll's line pass - no matter what the context.

    Revelation 5:12 locates the divine worth of Christ *in* His being slaughtered as a Lamb. Linger long at this truth - *then* go and think about the nature of His deity, the nature of masculinity, His judgements etc.

    What does an 'effeminate church' look like? Would the same accusations be levelled at Jesus for the unmanly things He did? It seems like gender and christology are rising and falling together - but which is driving which? This is where I see the parallel with the picture. We want Jesus to define manhood ok, but when we look to the pinnacle of that revelation (the cross) we have to recast it because it's not manly according to our prior definitions.

    I agree that a) Jesus *also* slaughtered 185000 Assyrians (Is 37:36) and is Warrior, Judge and King of kings (Rev 19).
    And I agree that b) real men should *also* be able to fight for what's right etc (according to the way of Jesus of course!).

    But for me the discussion is not about the "also" of His strength. It's *not* about whether Christ was *also* strong- as though we have to hold His weakness in tension with a theology of glory considered apart from the cross. It's about the nature of His divine glory - see John 13:3-4 'Jesus knew His eternal glory as the divine Son SO He washed their feet.' Or Phil 2:5ff - Jesus humbled Himself THEREFORE He was exalted. See John 17:5 - the uncreated glory of Jesus doesn't stand somewhere behind the cross but is shining at full strength on the cross. It's about being able to look AT the slaughtered Lamb and see the eternal glory of God - not just to look away to another characteristic called 'strength' that is defined non-cruciformly.

    Why can't we see the glory and strength OF the slain Lamb? This seems to be the problem both with the picture and the Driscoll line. They both have pre-defined notions of masculinity that sit at odds with the cross. Yet, of all things, the cross needs to be shaping our concepts of masculinity etc. If it did we'd be far quicker to identify these kinds of things as manly rather than immediately thinking of hard words like 'you brood of vipers' etc.

    When conceiving of manhood we should *first* think of the cross and things cruciform, not least because He is *only* covenant Head over those who know Him as Lamb. The cross defines covenant membership. Or in other words, His model of Husbandly strength is His giving of self not asserting of self (Eph 5:25).

    This out-pouring of self takes masses of courage for men to follow and is something that we shrink from all the time. So I'm all for challenging men to step up to the plate here. But it's asking for trouble to challenge men to be like the destroying Angel or Warrior! What we really need to do is challenge men to be like the Man upon the cross. To be vulnerable, loving, sacrificial, meek. Yet what's outrageous to me is that those adjectives sound 'effeminate' on the lips of those who would only worship a Jesus who could punch them out.


    Oh, on another note, I think it's just odd to defend a sentence on the lips of another that you wouldn't say yourself. If you wouldn't say it yourself there must be good reason you wouldn't say it. And that reason ought to apply to Driscoll - American or not!

    Good to hear from you Steve (waycon)! Just like you to draw attention to the loincloth. I'll leave that well alone...

  11. Missy

    "...the uncreated glory of Jesus doesn’t stand somewhere behind the cross but is shining at full strength on the cross."

    Glen, could it be that this picture is trying to portray just that? (The operative word is "trying.")

    Tom, I have to say, as a female, I find being meek and mild absolutely impossible. :) As I said, it's neither a feminine nor a masculine trait - it's a godly trait. Also, there are distinct differences in the responses Jesus exhibited in his own suffering vs. those he exhibited in the suffering of others.

  12. Tom

    There is a failure to distinguish between two different meanings in this conversation. As such, the conversation is getting 'outrageous' about something that no-one is actually saying.

    Two different "meek and mild" meanings

    1. "Meek and mild"
    -wimpy, weak, bland

    2. "Meek and mild"
    -powerful, sacrificial, loving

    When I said that the meaning of the phrase "I refuse to worship a Jesus that I could punch out" seemed to be "understandable" I was using meaning 1.

    Glen is talking about meaning 2. and he is right to say that if someone means 2. then we are missing something to let it past. But he is not communicating clearly, and is setting up a straw man, because he isn't distinguishing clearly between 1 and 2.

    The reason I was more charitable about the use of the phrase, though I wouldn't use it myself, is because I think that even though I try hard not to I sometimes say phrases that aren't brilliant, and I would like people to give me grace. I think that making quite a big judgement about someones theology on, what appears to be one small sentence, and disregarding the context entirely, is not something that anyone of us would like done to us.

  13. Glen


    That's a helpful distinction - and one that's entirely muddled by Driscoll himself. He repeatedly talks about Jesus' real power and masculinity in terms of Him 'working in construction, swinging a hammer.' Driscoll takes aim specifically at 'wimpy Jesus' depictions and continually talks about Jesus not wearing product in His hair or drinking a soy latte. Tell me - who is muddling the distinction?

    I am not the one blurring this distinction. For me Jesus could drink a soy latte, work as a nurse, wear product in His hair (in fact He'd be hypocritical not to - Matt 6:17) and still be a real man. Because manhood is all about sacrifice. More than this, His divine glory is all about sacrifice. And the ways in which Jesus revealed His true manhood I greatly fear would be considered effeminate by Driscoll (see my last post).

    In order to oppose a liberal, emergent, (perhaps less than divine?) Jesus - Driscoll takes aim at an 'effeminate' or 'wimpy' Jesus. And so for Driscoll it is extremely important that Jesus was a 'dude' because if He wasn't a 'dude' then He wasn't God. And so, again, we have this massively unhelpful blurring.

    I am not nit-picking a single sentence. I am pointing out a theology of masculinity that is *very* important for Driscoll, very popular in reformed evangelical circles and IMO completely questionable when judged by the logic of the cross.

  14. Glen

    Yes at points I've wondered whether this image might be *very* charitably construed as a poor attempt to show Christus victor. But the glory attached to this cross is very obviously a human glory. If an artist managed to show Christ reigning from the tree, holding the cosmos in order, shining forth as the glory of God - that would be one thing. But the glory on show here is a very worldly one.

  15. Hugh

    I hear what your saying Glen, and I agree... but, do you actually think that Mark Driscoll would disagree with what you're saying?

    You've taken a Driscoll quote (without the context - see quoted thought at end) and not really engaged with what he's actually saying.

    Driscoll is reacting to two things:
    lack of men in church + bad teaching on the person of Christ from liberals/emerging

    Maybe he reacts too much? Maybe he swings too much the other way? Sure he's not as nuanced as a Jim Packer (or a Glen Scrivener for that matter!)... but I think his point is right in context. And I don't think he'd say what he said in another context - helpful distinction from Tom.

    Here's a thought from -
    Mark Driscoll: "There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types [want] to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity."

    Amen. It made me sad how most people have taken the quote, "I can't worship a guy I can beat up", out of context. His main point is that we need to see Christ as He truly is, not as we think He should be.

  16. Glen

    Hey Hugh,

    I agree that there are two issues here: 1) the quantity and quality of men in church, 2) lack of biblical Jesus in teaching.

    And my beefs are these (beefs which I guess Driscoll would disagree with):

    A) Driscoll's got a problem with limp-wristed, wimps but seems to have little room for men who might be tender-hearted servants who wouldn't break a bruised reed. Why on earth bring locker-room taunts into preaching about gender?? It's pretty awful to be honest.

    B) Driscoll totally muddles 1) and 2) - your quote is a classic example of it. But to be honest every single time I've heard Driscoll on these issues (which is quite often - it's a favourite topic of his) his opposition to a liberal Jesus is almost always phrased in terms of perceived effeminacy.

    C) I fear that 1) is driving 2). Why does Driscoll home in on Revelation 19 and not John 19 in discussing true manhood? His selection of manly portraits from Jesus is completely arbitrary and regularly avoids the cross. Case in point - Driscoll avoids saying Gethsemane is a picture of masculinity but regularly portrays it as a picture of female submission (as Christ submits to His Head). Driscoll worries that 'some are becoming more cultural than Christian' - but there is a macho-man culture that needs to be challenged by the Scriptures every bit as much.

    D) I think the line about not worshipping a guy you can beat up not only needs repenting of, but the understanding of Christ as Lamb needs some serious theological examination. The context of this regular saying does not help things in the slightest.

    The context (as evidenced by the paragraph you quoted) very far from exonerates him from my 'beefs'. The very opposite - that quote is a classic example of every single one of them. And quotations could be multiplied - we've all heard Driscoll say this stuff many times.

    Driscoll believes one of his key callings is to disciple a new generation of men. He certainly preaches that way. And he certainly has a massive influence. Well if we want this influence to be Christian and not simply a cultural pendulum-swing then we need to keep holding it up to Christ and Him crucified.

    But I'm just a self-righteous blogger Christian, what do I know?


  17. Rich Owen

    It's personality type all over again.

    I don't "get" a certain type of bloke, so I'll bash him, marginalise him, demonise his type and move into his space. It happens in "nice" churches with more gritty blokes, and Driscoll is doing the opposite.

    Nothing new under the sun and it is SO DISCOURAGING.

    Grump rant rhubarb bah. What’s the point.

  18. codepoke

    Ummm. I don't know what to say. I read your post, and immediately agreed and never checked back. Your point was just too obvious to really discuss. And then there's all this discussion?


    The picture you reproduce here is pure blasphemy. At it's best, that's the work of an immature believer. At it's worst, it's a demonic heresy trying to mislead immature believers. Jesus was never remotely similar to the Conan archetype of that picture.

    As for Driscoll, I've not heard him say many things like, "I wouldn't follow I Jesus I could punch out." When I heard about ~3 things from him, all as misleading as this one, I quit listening to him.

  19. Dr nadeem

    Dear Pastor Glen

    Greetings !

    It is my previlage to share the activities of PASSION FORSAKEN a ministry. We are working for preaching Gospel and serving humanity in pakistan.
    We can not step ahead without your prayers. Your prayers are like an oxygen for our activities. Our power is Jesus Christ the Son of God and prince of Peace. We hope for better coordination for serving others.

    Hope to be hearing your a prompter reply,

    With the Best regards

    Dr.Nadeem Gill
    Passion forSaken - Pakistan

  20. Dr nadeem

    Dear God bles you

    Greetings !

    It is my previlage to share the activities of PASSION FORSAKEN a ministry. We are working for preaching Gospel and serving humanity in pakistan.
    We can not step ahead without your prayers. Your prayers are like an oxygen for our activities. Our power is Jesus Christ the Son of God and prince of Peace. We hope for better coordination for serving others.

    Hope to be hearing your a prompter reply,

    With the Best regards

    Dr.Nadeem Gill
    Passion forSaken - Pakistan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Twitter widget by Rimon Habib - BuddyPress Expert Developer