Y'all remember this archtypical villain from The Matrix, right? Agent Smith, accompanied by his surly entourage of clones, concocting all manner of devilish plots that would make even The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns faint due to their pure and unadulterated evil.
You may have noticed that it’s become popular these days to portray pastors and theologians as dastardly villains. The kind who take nefarious delight in wreaking havoc upon unsuspecting Jesus-followers.
A few years ago, a book I was reading (representative of many; revealing the title would only result in a rabbit trail) was determined to convince its readers that Old Testament Law was God’s blueprint for “discipling nations.” This mind-blowing truth had been kept hidden from the author for years because – you guessed it – pastors and theologians had deceived him into viewing the Old Testament through what he called “Jesus lenses.”
Can you believe it?!? The unmitigated gall of those sneaky, conniving, deceitful pastors and theologians! Where the Holy Hand Grenade do they get off, deceiving thousands upon thousands of unsuspecting Jesus-followers like that? Where on God's green earth did they ever come up with the lame-brained lie that the Old Testament points to Jesus?
“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself (Luke 24:13-35).”
Face palm …
Oh yeah, that’s right … they got the idea from Jesus.
Those dastardly pastors and theologians tried … you see, they were basically … um, agreeing with Jesus. When anyone in the Gospels refers to “the Scriptures,” they mean the Old Testament. The New Testament hadn’t been written yet.
So when Jesus says things like, “These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life (John 5:39-40),” and “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me (John 5:46),” He was talking about the Old Testament. You know … the Scriptures that point to Jesus.
As it turns out, dastardly pastors and theologians may not be the real villains, after all.
Agent Theo-Smith can show up in many disguises, possibly even as one of the Good Guys in the White Hats. But if you pay close attention, you may detect a certain – oh, how shall I say it? – “barnyard aroma.”