Ancient is the temptation to attempt to make God in our own image, rather than to content ourselves with our being made in His. In light of that fact, Elton John's declaration that "Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man" is neither original nor surprising, heretical as it is (see here). It is the quintessence of self-worship and self-absorption to take sentences that one might well have written about oneself, swap out one's own name for the name of God, and feel very comfortable with all that we share in common with our favorite deity.
Of course, the real Jesus—the Jesus who actually lived in Judea 2,000 years ago and whose life is recorded in the gospels—must make Mr. John quite uncomfortable. He makes me uncomfortable. If He doesn't make you uncomfortable, then you're either not reading the New Testament or you're not reading it seriously.
And yet, no matter how much Mr. John may derive greater enjoyment from a Jesus of his own making, the remainder of Parade Magazine's interview with him shows clearly how much he needs an encounter with the real Jesus.
He needs the real Jesus because in spite of every conceivable advantage in his life, he's found nothing but heartache. His homosexual profligacy didn't satisfy him:
I'd always choose someone younger. I wanted to smother them with love. I'd take them around the world, try to educate them. One after another they got a Cartier watch, a Versace outfit, maybe a sports car. They didn't have jobs. They were reliant on me. I did this repeatedly. In six months they were bored and hated my guts because I'd taken their lives and self-worth away. I hadn't intended to.
Along with sexual perversion came chemical addictions, which also consumed his soul and left him with nothing:
Just about every relationship I ever had was involved with drugs. It never works. But I always had to be with someone, good or bad, otherwise I didn't feel fulfilled. I'd lost the plot.
. . . . . . . .
For some people a gram of cocaine can last a month. Not me. I have to do the lot, and then I want more. At the end of the day, all it led to was heartache
Underneath and around these perversions and addictions—leading to them and growing out of them—Elton John slumps under the burden of his own guilt. He has chosen the old path of seeing whether he can accrue enough good works to make his own atonement for his sins:
I set up my foundation because I wanted to make amends for the years I was a drug addict.
How much money will it take? How many good works? Who gets to read the scales?
I'm so thankful for Emir and Ergun Caner. We've seen two Muslims profess faith in Jesus Christ here at this little rural Texas church thanks to the witness and pastoral advice of Emir Caner. They are so right when they tell us about the brutality of the scales versus the beauty of God's grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But this message of grace is not a message for Muslims alone. The world is full of Elton Johns, toting around counterfeit Jesuses, all very comfortable to them, but no help at all. And all the while, "Jesus , the Mighty to Save" is not far away at all, and is their only hope.