Of Course He Preaches a God of ‘Yes’- He’s In Vegas and He Runs a Mega-Church. He Knows His ‘Congregation’
When you think of Las Vegas, you may think of slot machines, strip clubs, and Zach Galifianakis shouting, “There is a tiger in the bathroom.” You probably don’t think of Christian churches. Yet, somehow, Jud Wilhite has managed to grow Central Christian Church to 19,000 members and four campuses in the middle of it all.
The Sin City pastor is now promoting a new message about what he calls “the God of yes.” Believers have often defined Christianity as “no,” reducing it to a series of rejections of just about everything God has created. In his book, “The God of Yes,” Wilhite urges the faithful to throw off these ideas and discover a divine “yes” to all of life. Here, we discuss his message and whether he’s just trying to make faith more palatable and positive.
He must not like the Ten Commandments very much.
RNS: But there are many places in the Bible where God-followers are instructed to reject destructive things with a firm “no.” In fact, the Ten Commandments are largely a list “thou shalt nots.” Your thoughts?
JW: Certainly there are plenty of “no’s” in the Bible. But the big story of the Bible is that God seeks relationship with people. From a Christian perspective, the big picture is that God is for us in Jesus and went all the way to the cross to show His love for us. The “no’s” in the Bible are to lead us more fully to live in God’s “yes” and experience all of life not as guilt, but as gift. The commandments serve to lead us to a fuller life God designed for us, not to keep us from it.
No, the commandments are boundaries set on our selfishness and our tendency to live out our own self interests. They aren’t intended to actualize we folk but to limit us.
But that won’t sell in Vegas. Where ‘you are not to commit adultery’ is not only regularly ignored, but when it is ignored, the behaviour is praised and lauded and exalted. After all, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Winking at sin and minimalizing God’s instructions doesn’t lead to your ‘best life now’, it leads to misery.