There are lots of things Jesus didn't say. But pastor Will Davis Jr., author of 10 Things Jesus Never Said: And Why You Should Stop Believing Them (Revell), focuses on two main categories: expressions of disapproval and permission to judge. The effect is to counteract judgmentalism against both oneself and others. So Davis aims to comfort Christians who suffer from performance anxiety as well as challenge those who indulge in self-righteousness.
The expressions of disapproval we never hear from Jesus include, for instance: "I'm so disappointed in you," "This wouldn't be happening if you were a better Christian," and "I've given up on you." These have no place in the Bible and, I would add, do not even bear much resemblance to Jesus' many words of warning and condemnation. Jesus' words can be scathing and terrifying (just ask the Pharisees), whereas Davis is concerned with people who are not terrified but suffer from low self-esteem. He wants to help them get rid of the tapes they play in their heads that tell them, when they're disappointed with themselves, that God must be disappointed too.
Then there are examples of the permission to judge that Jesus never gives us: "It's okay not to love certain people," "Everyone should believe and act like you do," and "You don't have to forgive someone who really hurts you." The overarching concern here, and indeed throughout the book, is to replace legalism with a life of grace. If Davis gets his way, the church would be a kinder place, one not so apt to wound people.
Perhaps the most important thing Jesus did say, Davis suggests in his first chapter, is "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). He goes on to quote several other passages ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.