On the Danger of Imitating Great Men

On the Danger of Imitating Great Men

Posted on:Dec 23 2013
Captured by:Flint M

The history of the church is littered with copycats. We rightfully raise up examples, they inspire us, and then we duplicate their externals. This duplication, this imitation, gets in the way of us understanding their internals. We do not become a Bonhoeffer or a Bonaventure by imitating the externals of their life. Indeed, the externals get in the way of understanding the internals. Moreover, we should be asking, “Who were they imitating?”. The great ones drew inspiration from many, but did not fully imitate anyone. Those who have the greatest impact defy the mold.

Jesus was unlike any other man. You can decide whether he was divine or not, but you cannot deny the fact that his impact on the world was breathtaking. Had he been an imitator, he would have vied for a seat at the Sanhedrin, or he would have been the Pompey of Rome. But Pompey is barely remembered. He was imitated and he imitated. Jesus came and conquered the thinking of millions and never drew a sword and never vied for a political seat. Do not get trapped in the game. It is even a mistake to imitate Jesus. Theologians beware. You may misunderstand me. The question is not “What would Jesus do?”, it is “What would Jesus do if he were me?”. This question produces totally different answers. 

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