Have you ever used the word reductive? Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines it as, “of, relating to, causing or involving reduction.” When you use it in a non-scientific sentence, you are talking about reducing something or someone. I have been thinking about that term in relationship to Jesus.

You see, Jesus claimed to be many things. The most astounding claim He made was that He was in fact, God’s Son, and one with the Father in essence. His words, not mine, “I and My Father are one.” John 10:30 The one cardinal doctrine in mainline Christianity is that Jesus, God’s Son, is in fact, also God.

Any other characterization of Jesus is reductive. Some claim He was a prophet. Some believe He was the finest man who ever lived. Several offshoots of Christianity believe Jesus was an angel. Some Eastern religions believe He was an Avatar, a special being who came to earth to enlighten mankind. None of these definitions are inherently bad, they are just reductive. They reduce Jesus to something less than He claimed to be.

When deciding who Jesus is, we must take His claims seriously. He is either who He claimed to be or He is a liar. There is really no other choice. If you have decided that Jesus is something less than He claimed to be, then please, read the Gospels and make an informed decision. Is He the Son of God, i.e. one in essence with the Father, or not? Any other opinion about who He really was is reductive.

Image by Jeff Jacobs. Courtesy of Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Reductive

  1. Valerie,

    As usual you think and write in good company.

    C.S. Lewis thoughts were in the same vein in “Mere Christianity.” At risk of making an inept paraphrase, I’ll venture out anyway. The wonderful Lewis disputed those who were reductive in their understanding of Jesus. He cannot be a good man or a brilliant moral teacher or even a great prophet. Jesus said He was God, one with the Father; the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So Lewis wrote that Jesus can only be lunatic, liar, or Lord. Deranged, a bad man, or God.

    Because of what He clearly said, He could only be one of those three: liar, lunatic, or Lord. Lewis said given what Jesus said about Himself that He left us no other possible interpretation than those three options, and that He didn’t intend to.

    Great post. It is our post modern culture that is reductive, not Jesus.

    Thanks, j

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Jack for sharing us the thoughts of C.S. Lewis. We are so much better off if we look at Jesus through the lens of truth. What is the truth about him? Again, thank you for your enlightening thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

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