This past spring I attended a service at a local church in my area that was in the middle of a series they entitled “Outlaw.” Their goal in the series, according to their website, was to communicate: “It was at Easter that God intended to break all the rules that man had come up with about how we are supposed to connect with God. If you were going to break all the rules you would need an Outlaw. That is really what Jesus was. He came in human form to break through all the man-made rules so that we could really connect with God.”
Is this really the best way to communicate the person of Jesus, and His mission?
According to the Oxford American Dictionary, an ‘outlaw’ is: a person who has broken the law, esp. one who remains at large or is a fugitive. According to this definition, I do not believe that Jesus is best described as an “outlaw.”
I wrote a response to the message/series which you can read here: Outlaw Response
In addition to the content/argument of the letter, it is also vital to be aware of Matthew 23:2-3ff. Jesus is opposed to the hypocritical lifestyle of the religious leaders of His day, not the things they taught the people to practice and observe.
After submitting my letter I received a reply from the “lead pastor” at the church. He said that around Easter there are usually more men in attendance, and they wanted to “package” messages that would target/connect more readily with men. However, I do not feel it is worth the hazy, inaccurate, and weak connection of portraying Jesus as an “outlaw” for the sake of attempting to connect with male listeners.
In reality, when Jesus is proclaimed accurately and biblically, the Holy Spirit will convict the hearts and minds of those listening to be reconciled to God through Jesus.