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Compromise Today

Christianity Today Calls Jesus Asian

Big Eva has been quite naughty this year, but they have some coal for Christmas to share. In our modern continental distinctions, Christianity Today decided to call Jesus Asian in the exact meaning that you think, east Asian, in what amounts to a shameless ploy for clicks. In an article titled “How Asian Artists Picture Jesus’ Birth From 1240 to Today” Christianity Today aims to celebrate Aisan artwork. Although behind a paywall, this cringe was saved in the Wayback Machine. The article begins provocatively.

Jesus was born in Asia. He was Asian. Yet the preponderance of Christian art that shows him at home in Europe has meant that he is embedded deeply in the popular imagination as Western.

This is already ironic, as Jesus was born within the Roman Empire’s realm. Rome is quintessential Europe, to the point where each European power in World War 1 had some sort of claim, however dubious, to be the successor of Rome. Moreover, people in the ancient Levant have diverse depictions, so there is little way to know what Jesus actually looked like, without major assumptions.

Putting aside the 2CV debate, as many Reformers believed that historical depictions were allowed, some of these depictions are an affront to the accounts given in Scripture.

One such artwork lauded by Christianity Today is an Islamic depiction of Christ’s birth in which Mary births Jesus alone in a desert. 

The anonymous artist has captured an intimate moment between mother and son, as an angel peeks at them over the purple hills. While Mary offers Jesus her breast milk for food, Jesus offers her a pomegranate—one of the fruits of heaven according to the Qur’an.

Perhaps the most egregious is “Ang Kahulugan ng Pasko” because it chooses to change the nativity to fit an agenda.

At the bottom, the tastes and flavors of the street market come to the crib as vendors approach with eggplant and calabaza (squash), fish, and balut (steamed duck eggs). Ardeña substituted these three figures for the Magi who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh because he wanted to emphasize that Jesus’ birth is for the poor as well, and that simple gifts given in love are just as dear to Jesus as any other, according to his artist’s statement in the December 1996 issue of Image: Christ and Art in Asia.

This 1995 “modern art” is celebrated by Christianity Today despite having a clear subtext that ran afoul of Scripture.

It’s worth noting that European artwork has subtext to the Nativity, some justifiable some not. The subtext includes the angels of Heaven worshipping, the spiritual battle, or the church church that was to be born. All of it was done with a higher degree of art prowess and without a communistic agenda.

Christianity Today is notoriously compromised even on things as seemingly secular as art.

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2 Responses

  1. Leave it to Russel Moore and Co to stir up trouble, right before Christmas, over a matter that is entirely irrelevant, and couldn’t possibly matter less.

    Some days I’d feel like smacking certain troublemakers upside the head and saying, look here God’s word is need-to-know. If He didn’t tell you something, then you don’t need to know. If He did tell you something, then you’d better well pay attention. But these people will focus on all sorts of nonsense that isn’t in scripture, while blatantly ignoring the parts of it they do not like.

    The Bible does give some indication of where the sons and grandsons of Noah settled, with many of the places named after them, and many of those still bearing those names today.

    There are 60+ generations from Noah to Jesus, through Jesus’ line given in Matthew, and nearly 80 generations from Adam to Jesus, through Mary’s line given in Luke. If somebody had nothing better to do than to spend decades studying the migrations of all the individuals along that lineage, then they might be able to come away with some weak notion amounting to little more than wild suspicion, which would still come nowhere near to settling a matter that is entirely irrelevant, accomplishing nothing but to stir up strife.

    It doesn’t flipping matter. If it mattered, then God would’ve told us. Let it go, and get over it, for crying out loud.

    1. Even if it were possible to track all the migrations, where they all settled, and to then work backward based on where various groups tend to have settled in modern times, that would still not be much of any indication of appearance, skin color, or other ethnic features. Those can change in one or two generations, to the point that you would never know and couldn’t possibly tell just by looking at someone. And the lineage of the mothers along the way isn’t given at all.

      They might want to stop and consider the possibility that nobody knows because we’re not supposed to know. Lord knows, the conflict and strife is bad enough already as it is. We’re better off not knowing.

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