Darryl Tippens is Provost of Pepperdine University and the author of Pilgrim Heart: The Way of Jesus in Everyday Life. In this interview, Darryl has made some very interesting and thought-provoking observations about what it means to follow Jesus in the 21st century. His words have been encouraging.
These concluding remarks are a reminder of the compelling nature of Jesus.
(Remember that by making a comment in this or any one of the other three posts, you become eligible to win a free copy of Pilgrim Heart. You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here.)
In the Introduction you challenge the church to believe Jesus‘ call “…not just to believe what he taught, but to act like him” (p. 14). What is there about Jesus that you sense 21st century men and women might find attractive and even compelling?
Darryl Tippens: The fact is, Jesus stands very well on his own, without much help on our part, when he is simply received as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present him. Jesus doesn’t need to be “gussied up” or sanitized or modernized or edited or explained.
There is considerable respect for Jesus in the non-Christian world, to the degree that he is known. But his bickering, checkered followers are another matter. Too often we stand in the way, obstructing the view of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Not everyone will follow Jesus, of course; but when he is seen as the original Evangelists present him, it’s hard to treat his call or his claims trivially. We’ve got to do a better job of getting Jesus outside Sunday school literature, the sermon, the church, and the machinery of American politics (left and right), and back into the marketplace, the lecture hall, the workplace, and the home where he can stand on his own quite powerfully.
What men and women of the 21st century will find most attractive and compelling are people who incarnate Jesus, people who have “learned Jesus” or “learned Christ” (Ephesians 4:20). When people see the “way of Jesus” in ordinary people “in everyday life,” they will find it rather hard to ignore him. It’s happened this way in every century since AD 33. It will happen in the 21st century. Indeed it is happening now.
What has been your experience when you have seen people in the world actually exposed to the incarnate Jesus?