Mr. Thoemke Does not Know the Jesus of the Bible

I recently came across an article in the August 29, 2013 issue of the Golden Transcript, a weekly newspaper in Golden, CO. The article is titled “A Driving Force” and can be found here. If you are interested in community service projects or anthropology, it is a fascinating read. What I found most interesting, though, is what it reveals about Mr. Thoemke’s theology. This is the same Mr. Thoemke I wrote about last week who is a pastor at Hillside Community Church. The article is essentially about how Mr. Thoemke is a driving force in the Golden community, but his own words reveal more than just what he is doing for people in the community.

As Mr. Thoemke tells the story of his faith journey, whatever that is, he says, “I always saw and read in the scriptures what Jesus did and he was really into helping the poor.” I am not sure where Mr. Thoemke has been seeing this or what scriptures he has been reading, but the Jesus I read about in the Bible never did anything for the poor, whoever they are, much less was he “really into helping” them. I am not kidding. Go and read all four gospels and try to find an instance where Jesus actually does something for a person who is described as “poor.” You won’t find it because it is not there.

It is true that God commanded the nation of Israel to provide for the orphan, widow, and alien in their midst through the tithe. It is also true that the church should continue this practice, the practice of providing for those within the church who, for whatever reason, cannot provide for themselves. This is, of course, something completely different than providing goods and services to strangers in the community free of charge.

It is also true that Jesus healed some people who may have been poor, but the fact that their economic situation is not something that any of the writers chose to include tells us that it was not important. It tells us that Jesus did not look at and treat people based upon how much money they had. He treated people based upon two things, their spiritual condition and their spiritual need. Even when he healed people, he did it in order to demonstrate his power and authority. Every single person he healed eventually got sick or old and died. The healing did not last. It was merely a sign that pointed to the full redemption of our souls and bodies that we will see in the eternal state.

Mr. Thoemke does not stop there. He goes on and gives us more insight into what he actually believes. While talking about his personal struggle with feeling the need to spend time in the city and also spend time in his church, he says that Jesus “spent very little time in the religious community.” This was apparently the evidence Mr. Thoemke needed in order to “finally give up the hat of being in the church all the time and just [move] into the city.” There are two things that are horribly wrong with this statement.

First, if Jesus spent very little time in the religious community, where exactly did he spend his time? I am dumbfounded that Mr. Thoemke, a pastor of at least 13 years, does not realize that the nation of Israel was a religious community. I would be willing to bet that every single individual who Jesus spoke with would have considered himself to be religious. They all celebrated some sort of religious festivals. They all adhered to or knew when they had broken religious behavioral standards. All the Jews were members of a local synagogue, which was at the center of their social and cultural lives. I would say that the society in Jesus’ time was more religious than the religious sectors of modern American society. To say that Jesus spent very little time in the religious community is simply bizarre.

Second, Mr. Thoemke’s thinking that giving up on being in the church full time and moving into the city, whatever that means, indicates that he has no idea what his role as a pastor in the church actually is. Why would a pastor be thinking about spending time anywhere other than the church? An evangelist may want to spend time outside the church, but isn’t a pastor’s job to care for the flock? Is the flock not found exclusively in the church? What would we think of a shepherd who left his flock of sheep on the hillside, no pun intended, so that he could go out and look for other people’s goats to feed and water with the food and water that should be going to his sheep? This would be a terrible shepherd who should not be allowed to care for sheep, but Mr. Thoemke does the same thing and thinks he is doing what Jesus would do.

When a person reads the Bible and concludes that Jesus is something he is not, it is a sign of reprobation. It is not foolhardy proof of reprobation, for we were all once just as blind and unable to see God for who he is. Still, it is a frightening sign. For Mr. Thoemke to lack the ability to see the Jesus of the Bible or to comprehend with any sort of accuracy his own role as a pastor is sad and pathetic. If you ever find yourself listening to the dribble that comes from Mr. Thoemke’s mouth, I would encourage you to stop up your ears. If you choose to listen, though, I urge you to at least think critically and ask lots of questions.

10 thoughts on “Mr. Thoemke Does not Know the Jesus of the Bible

  1. Zomusa

    I find it interesting that you are attacking your brother in Christ. I dont know either of you, but your messages seem filled with hate. Why is that? Do you think Jesus Christ is honored by this more than what someone is doing to serve Christ in a community that is filled with needs? Even if this man commited a horrible crime doesnt deserve this hate.

    Reply
    1. Jason Bolt Post author

      I am not attacking a person. I am attacking a person’s teaching and theology. There is a huge difference. Mr. Thoemke is free to do what he wants for people in his community, but he is not free to say that Jesus was “really into helping” poor people. What Mr. Thoemke says is simply not true.

      What is it about my messages that make them seem filled with hate? Can you be more specific? What do I say that is hateful?

      You ask, “Do you think Jesus Christ is honored by this more than what someone is doing to serve Christ in a community that is filled with needs?” First, I do believe Christ is honored when false teaching is corrected. People dishonor Christ when they say he is something that he isn’t. Second, exactly what is Mr. Thoemke doing to “serve Christ” in the community? He is serving a lot of people outside the church, but what is he doing to serve Christ?

      As for your final statement, please tell me what I am doing that you deem to be hateful.

      Reply
    2. Maks Nelkin

      Mr. Zomusa,
      I read your post and have a few questions of my own. What do you have to hide by not disclosing your real name?
      Where do you see hate in any part of the post? Can you define hate for me please? I think this term has been perverted and is not being used properly. Lastly, do you think God hates people, some people, any of a people? Why do you think that Mr. Thoemke is so called “brother-in-christ” to the author, if the post itself states that the Jesus of the Scriptures is different from the one Mr. Thoemke is propagating?

      Reply
  2. Doug Brode

    Mr. Zomusa:
    You seem very confused about many things. Since when is correcting a professing believer of theological error an act of “hate”? If all correction is sinful, why did Jesus call Peter “Satan” and order him to “get behind” Him? Even more surprising is the fact that you begin by admitting that “I don’t know either one of you” and then go on to render judgements about Jason. If you know nothing about him, how can you so arrogantly derive your judicial decisions against him? The best thing to say after “I know nothing” is nothing. You might want to practice that in the future.
    To answer your question, yes, I believe that Jesus is significantly honored when his people correct each other. Conversely, I believe Jesus is significantly dishonored when elders abandon their flock and spend their time giving away things to pagans.
    You conclude with the judicial opinion that a man who commits a “horrible crime” does not deserve “hate”. Of course, you either fail or refuse to define what you mean by “hate”. Did Jesus hate the Pharisees when He called them a “brood of vipers”? Did Jesus hate the Pharisees when He called them “sons of Hell”? You might want to spend some time reading the words of Jesus in Matthew 23. They say a lot about hate that you need to learn.

    Reply
  3. zomusa

    “Hate” means to dislike intensely. I would deduct from the post words like “listen to the dribble that comes from his mouth” and calling his role as a pastor sad and pathetic and that he doesn’t care for his flock – those are going further than just correcting his theology, that’s hatred my friends.

    To pick apart someones sermons as you do and question a persons leadership qualities is destructive to the church body and wrong. I don’t remember Paul – or Jesus- spending the amount of time you do tearing down a brother in Christ. The pharisees were religious Jews and spent all their time studying scriptures but still missed the message with hardened hearts. This guy doesn’t seem like he missed the message but is trying to live it out. If you really think that God is honored with your words against this man, I feel sorry for you.

    From what I read Mr. Thoempkes faith in action, being Christ to the people of his community, and his leadership in his church honors the Lord. That’s what we should all be – the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, right?

    Miss Ziphozomusa is not a cover, it’s my name and I am not confused but am leaving this crazy conversation.

    Reply
    1. Jason Bolt Post author

      Zomusa,

      Thank you for responding and clarifying your position. I disagree with your definition of “hate,” but I will accept that this is the definition that you choose to use. I would, though, like to emphasize again that I am not expressing hatred towards Mr. Thoemke as a person. I am expressing hatred (using your definition) towards what Mr. Thoemke says. I do indeed hate the things that he said in the sermons I heard and in the article I read, and I do so because I believe that Jesus hates the things that Mr. Thoemke said. I would define the things he said as “dribble.” Notice, I did not say that he is dribble but only that the words coming out of his mouth are dribble. Also, I did not call his role as a pastor sad and pathetic. I said that he does not understand his role and a pastor. The fact that he does not understand his role as a pastor is sad and pathetic.

      But then again, maybe you are right. Maybe it is wrong of me to pick apart Mr. Thoemke’s sermon. Maybe it is wrong for me to question what he says and does. Of course, that would also mean that it is wrong for you to pick apart my article and question what I say. That would mean that it is wrong for you to express hatred towards me by saying that you feel sorry for me and implying that my behavior is the same as that of the pharisees. This would, of course, make you a hypocrite. This would make you guilty of the exact same thing you accuse me of doing. Fortunately for you, I reject the idea that it is wrong to point out false teaching, which means that you are not necessarily a hypocrite.

      Can you show me one place in the Bible where we are told to provide social services for unbelievers in the community? Can you show me one place in the Bible where a pastor is told that his role as a shepherd is to take resources from the church and give them to unbelievers? I have looked, and I can’t find such things. But then again, I am the pharisee who can’t see what is really there, right?

      Waiting for your response . . .

      Reply
      1. Carrie

        Mr Jason Bolt, my spirit is grieved by what I am reading. As I sit at the end of a hard day and sort out scriptures in Matthew, I am perplexed by your energy to attack a leader over the internet. I would love to sit down with you and share my interpretation of how to confront another believer. Jesus gave us examples of how to approach an individual that we have a problem with. If you are really concerned that a Pastor or Biblical leader does not know the “Jesus of the Bible”, I would meet with him individually first to share your concern.
        It is also a FELONY to Defame people over the internet, are you aware of that?
        It is more heart-breaking to me to defame people who have a relationship with Christ.
        I would love to meet with you and share my concern in the way you divide. I would also challenge you to meet with Mr. Thoemke yourself.

        I think that there is a place (absolutely) to challenge theology. My life has been enveloped in Bible Institutes, Seminaries, church positions, non-profits, growing up a missionary oversees ect. There is a place to challenge, my friends, and this is not the place.

        “Lord, fill us with your spirit and transform us into your likeness. I pray you teach us what it means to truly love one another, I pray you teach us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves in the way we navigate through theology. I pray you teach us to love the church and give ourselves up for her as you did”

        I invite anyone who is truly interested in discussing what it really means to know the Jesus of the bible to continue to discuss this. We could meet at a church, my home, the pub. Coffee or a good stout beer is on me. May we continue to use theology not as a power to separate and create dividing walls, but as a mode to our own transformation into Christ-likeness.

        Reply
        1. Jason Bolt Post author

          All the comments to this post have generated some internal discussion here at Being Berean as to how to confront bad theology and false teaching. The discussion has been really good for us. We will be posting an article on Thursday that addresses this very issue.

          I have not defamed anyone. I have not made any personal comments about Mr. Thoemke. Given what I read in the news article, he is probably a really nice guy who is willing to give just about anyone the shirt off of his back. All I am saying is that he does not seem to know the same Jesus who is written about in the Bible. It is a simple observation based upon what he says. For the record, I am not aware of any reason why people should not be his friend, do business with him, or volunteer for his community service projects.

          I do think you are right about one thing. It would be good to meet with Mr. Thoemke myself and have a friendly chat. Maybe you could facilitate that meeting for us? I am sure his contact information is on their website somewhere. I, and the rest of us at Being Berean, would enjoy the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Thoemke and anyone else from his church and have a constructive dialogue.

          Reply
        2. Pastor Doug

          Ms. Carrie:
          You make an interesting point. I assume that when you refer to your ruminations in Matthew you are referencing Matthew 18? As we both know, Matthew 18 contains Jesus’ explicit instructions for resolving conflicts in regards to sin in the church. Your exhortation to Jason to first meet personally with Mr. Thoemke prior to writing this blog post is a fascinating argument. I would like to consider it for a moment.
          Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother sins against you, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” You believe that Jason believes that Thoemke has sinned against him. In addition you believe that the first thing Jason must do, to be in conformity with the words of Jesus in this passage, is go privately to Thoemke and rebuke him for his sin. You believe that Jason has sinned by not first going to Thoemke and then writing the post that started all of this conversation. At this point there are several things that follow and several questions that come up:
          1. How do you know that Jason has not done what Matthew 18 requires and spoken with Thoemke personally?
          2. What should Jason do if he did go to Thoemke and Thoemke rebuffed him?
          3. What should Jason do if he did go to Thoemke’s church court with two additional witnesses to Thoemke’s sin and was rebuffed by them as well?
          4. Matthew 18:17 says that eventually this process can get to the point where Jason needs to “tell it to the church”. Does a blog post of the sort posted by Jason qualify as a fulfillment of the requirement to “tell it to the church”?
          5. Even if Jason did not do any of the things listed in Matthew 18, is he still in sin for posting the comments to this blog that he did? If so, what is the sin? Is Jason required to personally confront Thoemke if they live on different sides of the world? If so, who is to pay for the travel expenses?
          6. Is there any biblical provision for critiquing theological comments that are posted in a public forum? Do individual believers have the right to critique what is said or written by other Christians in public? If not, why not?
          Aside from your belief that Jason has failed to follow the procedures spelled out in Matthew 18, you are also “concerned” about the way Jason “divides” the members of the visible church. Why? Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that he planted to tell them how to deal with a discipline problem that had come up. He told them “For in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part, I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.” Paul did not have any problem with divisions. He saw them as a way to separate the sheep from the goats. Why do you have problems with division? Do you know something about this situation nobody else does?
          Indeed, Paul and Jesus Himself were well known to cause divisions everywhere they went. They rarely experienced a calm moment in their public ministries. They were constantly surrounded by people who were taking sides, usually against them. If we are to imitate Paul and be like Jesus should we be surprised if others accuse us of being divisive?
          My spirit is not grieved by what I have read. Nor do I think your’s should be.

          Reply
        3. Sandra

          He didn’t attack anybody. He stated his opinion and it differs from yours. People are free to differ in opinions…even when it comes to Christianity. This is especially true because so much of Christianity is interpretive. Do you follow the bible 100% as is in your life? If the answer is no or you pick and choose certain thing than you’re making your own version of Christianity. Just as Jason has chosen to do. Interpret scripture and ideas in his own way.

          Who are you to claim that Jason’s response is not what Jesus would have wanted? Have you met Jesus personally? What are his positions on internet posts if so?

          One of the dogmatic challenges that “believers” tend to face is that when they are confronted with a differing opinion they conjure all kinds of statements…like, “this isn’t what Jesus would have wanted.”

          John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone… ”

          Reply

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