A few years ago Raj, one of my students, invited Carla and I to his house for dinner. His parents were visiting from India and his wife was going to prepare a special dinner. At Raj's house, we all sat in the living room around a large coffee table. Raj's wife and mother began bringing out platter after platter of delicious Indian food. It was the most wonderful Indian food I had ever had. Soon I was stuffed. Then Raj announced, "And now for the main courses!" What had seemed to me to be a feast had only been appetizers!
This experience came to mind this morning as I was pondering a popular movement of a few years ago called What Would Jesus Do? or WWJD. It was (I thought) a great movement, but it was also (I think) the equivalent of my mistaking Raj's appetizers for the main course. The question "What would Jesus do?" carries with it an implied assumption, which is "Since He's not here anymore."
The assumption is that revelation of who God is, who Christ is, what God wants, etc., is fixed and set down in the scriptures. It is a frozen record of revelation. If one views the scriptures in this way; as the sole (or even primary) source of our understanding of God, then it becomes necessary to defend the inerrancy and infallibility of the scriptures. They are, after all, the authority upon which we base our Christianity. We study the scriptures and imbibe the teachings of various experts (actual or self-professed) on scripture and then we go forth into the world asking "What would Jesus do?"
But what if there is more to the meal? What if, in addition to the fixed and documented record of revelation that scripture provides, there is also an ongoing, living revelation? Then WWJD becomes WIJD: What Is Jesus Doing? Just as the main course doesn't negate the appetizer, so the ongoing living revelation doesn't negate the scriptures. Rather, they complement each other. But where "the rubber meets the road" is in the living, moving, speaking God at work both within us and in the world. Our challenge and privilege is to ask "What is Jesus doing?" and then join in with Him.
I think I'll have some wrist bands made up...