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What Luther Says

The 'DC' In 'DC Comics' Must Stand For 'Doctrinally Challenged'

As someone who spent his adolescence collecting comics (everything from Marvel to DC to Image to Valiant), I'm no stranger to the "World of Fantasy & Make Believe" striving to have the content on its colorful pages serve as a commentary on what the authors and artists perceive to be the many cultural, political, religious, and social injustices of the day.

In other words, I'm no stranger to seeing a series create "controversy" intentionally, because it seems to go hand-in-hand with most comic books.

Whereas Pastors preach God's Word from the pulpit, comic book creators preach "the doctrines of men" (Colossians 2:22) with their pens, pencils, and paper.

So I guess it's no surprise to see the latest rendition courtesy of DC Comics.

DC Comics To Introduce Jesus Christ As New Superhero With A Distorted Telling Of The Savior 
DC Comics is introducing its newest superhero, Jesus Christ, adapted from the most popular book in history and with its own twist. 
The new series, titled “Second Coming,” is set to debut in March. The series, written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Richard Pace, has already been labeled by some Christians as "blasphemous." 
According to Comic Book Resources, Russell mixed in his own idea of Christianity in the animated work by claiming that Jesus needed to return to earth to learn how to become the “true messiah” from a Superman-like character called Sun-man. 
“Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful superhero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex! But when Christ returns to earth, he’s shocked to discover what has become of his gospel — and now, he aims to set the record straight,” the comic description reads. 
In a past interview with Bleeding Cool, Russell explained that the series centers on the fact that God “was so upset with Jesus’ performance the first time he came to earth since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked up since then.” 
When the fictional version of God sees Sun-Man, he tells the comic Jesus, “That’s what I wanted for you.” 
“He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other,” Russell added. “They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.” 
The theme of the comic is noticeably birthed from Russell's own idea of Christianity, shared in the books he authored, God Is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now. Both revealed that he believes people have “really misunderstood” the Bible and the Christian faith “doesn’t really base itself on what [Jesus] taught, particularly in the modern Evangelical megachurches.” 
The “Second Coming” series is hoping to “set the record straight” regarding Russel's interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus.

Lord, have mercy!

Like I said, I'm not surprised by any of this at all since religious plots, symbolism, themes, and undertones can be found in a lot of comic book series actually, but this is much more explicit since the main protagonist is Jesus Christ Himself. I mean, that's as in-your-face as it gets.

I may not agree with it at all, but I do believe in Freedom of Speech. Besides, Christianity is not Islam. We don't threaten to kill people (or actually do kill people; Charlie Hebdo anyone?) for drawing pictures of our Lord and Savior no matter how blasphemous and offensive they might be.

If I'm trying to put the best construction on this, then I guess the only redeeming quality I see at this point is that they have slapped the "Mature Readers" designation on this one for young readers.

You know, I really can't say that I didn't see this coming either. After all, what do you expect after years of various churches and denominations fashioning Jesus into the kind of Lord and Savior they want Him to be rather than the kind of Lord of Savior He says He is?

Besides, we were warned about this sort of thing, weren't we?

2 Timothy 3:1-7 (ESV) But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Yes, God's Word said we could expect this sort of thing to happen.

In fact, Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard even wrote a spectacular book on the subject titled "Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? 12 False Christs" which looks at the 12 most common versions of Jesus that American Churchianity (a.k.a. "Pop Christianity") has dreamed up for itself to suit its numerous unrepentant sins.

In short, the Pastor Richard asks us, "When's the last time you took a hammer and a chisel to the Jesus of the Bible and formed Him into your own personal Jesus?" Um, "idolatry" anyone? Yes, that's right, because that's what each and every single one of us is guilty of whenever we sin by making Jesus into Someone and something He's not.

I thought of that book when I saw this story about this new comic book today. Without having read the first issue of this comic, I'd be willing to bet that the creators are going to give us a heavy dose of the "Unholy Trinity" or a combination of the following three types of false christs as described by Pastor Richard in his book...

Jesus: The Therapist 
"This false christ is not the end or center of the Christian faith, but is a means to another end. And what end is that? The end located in the second tier that is supposedly better and greater for the Christian. This false christ is not about forgiveness, life, and salvation as an end, but about taking a person away from sadness, unfulfillment, stress, and averageness to better things (i.e., better marriages, improved parenting, more joy, a brighter future, greater maturity, etc.). In other words, like a therapist, this false christ is only needed when a person feels as if they are not meeting their full potential and desires to get to a higher level. However, once a person arrives at the second tier, this false christ dismisses himself and then waits for a call at some later point when he is needed again. In summary, a two-tiered Christianity and a false christ who functions as a means to another end are the two characteristics of this theology." -- Page 58

Jesus: The National Patriot 
"Meet our next false christ: the National Patriot. This false christ appears when God's ordained right- and left-hand kingdoms are not adequately distinguished -- for example, when the church forgets her identity and tries to take the place of the state. In that scenario, Jesus is viewed mainly as a patriot giving His all for the national cause, which creates the false christ -- the National Patriot. In this scenario, the National Patriot rules not by the Word and Sacraments, but by laws, policies, economics strategies, and military tactics. When the two kingdoms of God are mixed, everything in the Christian faith is twisted and corrupted. Law and Gospel are convoluted, and the identity, work, and mission of the real Jesus are redefined into a false christ. Instead of the identity, work, and mission of the real Jesus being about forgiveness, life, and salvation, this false christ makes everything about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American Dream becomes the main mission." -- Page 91

Jesus: The Social Justice Warrior 
"Meet our seventh false christ: the Social Justice Warrior. This false christ is a warrior who fights for victims -- those who have been socially, economically, and politically oppressed. He is embraced for his exemplary fight for the deprived and outcast of society and revered simultaneously for his fighting against powerfully oppressive people and powerfully oppressive systems. Since this false christ died on the cross at the hands of oppressive religious leaders, he also is an excellent icon of comfort for those who are also underneath heavy-handed social, spiritual, economic, and political systems. Salvation from this false christ is not deliverance from the condemnation of sin, but rather it is liberation from unjust economic, political, spiritual, or social conditions. Keep in mind that the Social Justice Warrior false chirst is not the Savior who died for the sins of all people, for that would make all of humankind enemies of God; rather, the Social Justice Warrior is an advocate for only a selected group of oppressed people, typically people deemed as victims. Therefore, they have rejected the real Jesus, the one crucified for ALL of sinful humanity, and instead created a false christ who is a social justice warrior advocating for only a portion of humanity. He has created a false christ who damns the privileged and fights for the disadvantaged." -- Pages 101-102

Sadly, those are just three of at least "twelve false christs who are embraced, loved, promoted, and revered -- even by well-meaning Christians" today, but they're the versions that I'm assuming will likely be featured in this new comic book based on what we've already been told about it.

Speaking of the comic book, how awful is it that the premise is that "God 'was so upset with Jesus' performance the first time he came to earth since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked up since then'" which speaks directly to Old Adam's persistent desire to want to constantly try to earn God's love and achieve salvation through his own efforts?

Turning God into a "Works-Based Theologian" Who essentially puts Jesus in a box and imprisons Him!?! Unbelievable! Then again, non-Christians would probably just argue that such a fate isn't the worst thing in the world. Come to think of it, they might even go so far as to suggest that maybe God (if He were real to them) should have reacted this way too since they would believe it's far better to merely imprison your son than to kill him for the sins of others.

Whatever the case me be, the only response I can think of is to say, "That's BLASPHEMY, Patrick!"

Colossians 2:20-23 (ESV) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations -- "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used) -- according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

In other words, man-made regulations of false religion (i.e., works) have nothing to do with Christ and the forgiveness of sins although this comic book series will try to tell you the complete opposite.

Those who seek salvation through their own efforts gravitate toward external exercises that are easily seen and measurable, but the irony is that a religion of any kind that's constructed from decaying elements of this world is itself perishing.

Self-imposed, external efforts are always vital to those whose religion is more about them and their "good works" than it is about God despite what they should have remembered reading in Isaiah 64:6.

"Eternal life is worked in the heart by eternal things, that is, by God's Word and the Holy Spirit" (Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXVIII 10). The Christian faith will never be replaced by man-made religion though many will try to replace it with their own apostasies, blasphemies, and heresies for sure.

Over the centuries, many have claimed to have found a substitute for Christ and His forgiveness (i.e., Rationalism; Evolutionism; Socialism; Postmodernism; etc.). Sometimes these ideas are very impressive and the lifestyles they conceive become extremely popular. But the divinely-inspired St. Paul wrote, "let God be true though every one were a liar" (Romans 3:4). These waves of man-made religion always end up breaking apart upon God's truth in Jesus, who "is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

This new comic book is called "Second Coming" which is interesting too. The reality? When Jesus Christ returns (and He will return one day!), it won't be as a meek, wimpy, hippy-like guy who's looking for a ministry "mulligan" or a cosmic "do-over" like some want us to believe.

No, the reality is that he is returning as "Lord of lords, and King of kings" (Revelation 17:14) "for we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'" (Romans 14:10-11). Yes, "every" is pretty all-inclusive. I pray that the creators of this comic book and this false christ repent and are saved before the true Second Coming is upon us.

At the end of the day, I get that it's just a comic book and a form of entertainment and that it's not like churches are going to be ordering copies for their parishioners so that they can do small group sessions to study it (they won't, right?).

Still, as a Bible-believing Christian who was once led astray by blatant mis-characterizations and half-truths like those that will be presented in this series, I fully understand the risk of how dangerous things like this can be. The "subtle serpent" likes it that way (Genesis 3:1). I feel obligated to at least shine the light of truth on darkness of deceit.

I've learned that the "DC" in "DC Comics" came from the company's popular series "Detective Comics," which featured Batman's debut and subsequently became part of the company's name.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, and in light of their newest comic book series that will blaspheme our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I propose that the "DC" in "DC Comics" must stand for "Doctrinally Challenged" from now on.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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