Two years ago a doctoral student in “religious studies” at a major public university in California was asked what he would do if he had a time machine. He answered that he would “assassinate Jesus of Nazareth.” Somehow, in his thinking, the world would be better off without Jesus and the movement He spawned.
What if Jesus had never been born? Dr. D. James Kennedy and I asked that question back in 1994 when we co-authored the book by that title.
In effect, the premise of this book is that because Jesus was born, incredible things have happened – and continue to happen – due to Christian influence.
The doctoral student and his ilk might say, “Well, if it weren’t for Christianity we would have been spared the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witchcraft Trials.” That seems fair enough, but as Dr. Kennedy and I emphasized in addressing these and other “sins of the church,” these aberrations (the most recent of which occurred about 330 years ago) are contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Meanwhile, an incalculable number of positive things came directly because of the love of Jesus as the Gospel spread(s) around the world.
For instance, the Christian church created the phenomenon of the hospital and has erected hospitals all over the world. To this day hospitals all around us bear names reflective of their Christian origin – Holy Cross Hospital, St. Luke’s Presbyterian, Baptist Hospital, etc.
Through His church, Jesus Christ unleashed the forces of charity in our world. Out of love for Him, this very day, tens of millions of people around the globe will receive help through one branch of His church or another.
Christ’s influence is so profound that He has divided time into Before Christ and Anno Domini (“in the year of our Lord”). Of course, the politically correct way of saying this now is B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era). But Jesus’ birth is still the basis for how we measure time.
Christianity has inspired some of the world’s greatest art and music. That includes beautiful Christmas music, like Handel’s “Messiah.”
Also, Christianity has expanded education from the elites only to the masses – even creating the phenomenon of the university around the year 1200.
Prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, human life on this planet was exceedingly cheap. But where the Gospel penetrated, human value and dignity were elevated.
Also, Christianity and the Bible played a pivotal role in creating America as a free nation, beginning with the Mayflower Compact, written by the Pilgrims in 1620, where they said they came here “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”
They instituted the essence of the American experiment – self-rule under God – which continued through other founding documents, culminating in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787.
Other such documents included Rev. John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” sermon in 1630, when he told his thousands of fellow Puritans who founded Boston: “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” The Puritans would go on to found Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth, among others.
The Puritans who founded Connecticut produced the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639, declaring their colony existed for “the liberty and the purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.” There is a line of descent directly from this written constitution to the United States Constitution. That’s why Connecticut is called to this day “the Constitution State.”
George Washington, the father of our nation, said that we can never hope to be a happy nation unless we imitate “the Divine Author of our blessed Religion” – Jesus Christ. And I could go on and on. In short, no Jesus, no America.
Recently, we at D. James Kennedy Ministries have produced a documentary on this theme, called “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?” based on our original program from 2002.
Beautifully shot on location in Europe and in various places in America, it includes brilliant comments from Os Guinness, Craig A. Evans, Nancy Pearcey and Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
In the original version, I interviewed the late Rev. E.V. Hill, who pastored in Watts in the Los Angeles area. He gave us one of the most memorable soundbites ever.
Pastor Hill said, “Right today, a lady asked me, ‘Well, you fellows are preaching, but it ain’t working.’ And I said to her, ‘You know, you can literally go down a street and smell body odor. The soap companies are failing to get their message over.’ And she said, ‘No, no, there’s nothing wrong with the soap, you’ve got to use it.’ Well, there it is. There’s nothing wrong with Jesus Christ, you’ve got to accept Him.”
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