Theology Fail: Muscular Christianity

“A more muscular presence of Christ in every area of your life”

The following excerpt is directly from our brother, Bruce Gust’s, website.

“Jesus Was In Shape

He wasn’t given to any kind of excess; He would’ve adhered to an orthodox Hebrew diet and if you consider the physical rigors of His trade and His ministry, the Biblical snapshot we have of Christ is a Man that was fit.

We are commanded in Scripture to imitate God (Eph 5:1). Since Jesus was God in the flesh, the practical response to that command is to imitate Jesus in the way He related to His Heavenly Father and in the way He lived – which includes His approach to diet and exercise.

To imitate Jesus, then, is to recognize fitness as a matter of more than just wellness or aesthetics, it’s a matter of obedience. And when you look at it from that standpoint, fitness is no longer just an extracurricular activity. Rather, it’s a part of your walk with Him. And with that Reality comes a sense of urgency and inspiration that goes beyond simply wanting to look good.

But “Muscular Christianity” doesn’t stop with your physical waistline. “Losing the gut” applies to your spiritual midriff as well.

Your Spiritual Gut

Your spiritual “gut” is comprised of those things that represent the distractions and excuses that keep you from being consistent where your time with God is concerned. So in this study, as you’re documenting your daily diet and exercise routine, you’ll also be documenting the time you spend with your Savior.

At the end of “Muscular Christianity,” you will notice a difference not only in the way your trousers fit, but also in your overall perspective. Yes, the exercises and the devotionals are put together strategically, but what makes the most difference is the way in which “Muscular Christianity” effects the whole of your life, and a lot that comes from the way “Muscular Christianity” has you applying the Biblical concept of accountability.

Flying Solo

So many times we men fly solo. In the gym, we typically work out by ourselves, for ourselves and answer to no one other than ourselves. Spiritually, we give it our best shot, perhaps, but without something or someone to really keep us focused, we fluctuate and our time with God becomes sporadic and devoid of substance.

With “Muscular Christianity” you will find yourself operating in the context of a community. You’ll have an accountability partner that you’ll communicate with on a daily basis and on the weekends. In addition, you’ll be meeting with a larger group dissecting the material from the previous week as well as exercising as a team.

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day, the result of this study is a more “muscular” Presence of Christ in every area of your life. Make no mistake, this is not a couple of anemic exercises casually superimposed over a Sunday School lesson. It’s tough! Whether you’re an athlete or someone who carts around some extra poundage, you’ll be challenged. But you’ll also be rewarded as is the case with anything that’s truly worthwhile.”

For more information on building not only your faith, but also your muscle, in Christ, check out:

http://www.muscularchristianityonline.com/overview.php

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7 comments on “Theology Fail: Muscular Christianity

  1. Theophilus says:

    Judging from the man’s testimony, he isn’t so much into imitating all aspects of Jesus’ life, such as singleness. Bruce Gust is married with a child.

    Also, we can have some real fun with Galatians, in which Paul explicitly tells Gentile believers not to get circumcised – in other words, to continue to be unlike Jesus, the circumcised Jew. It’s a good thing for Mr. Gust that he isn’t actually required to be exactly like Jesus, because otherwise he couldn’t be a husband and a father.

  2. Kampen says:

    It’s not accidental that Jesus wasn’t racing chariots at the Hippodrome. I just cannot get behind Gust’s theology at all.

  3. roger flyer says:

    Slow down, Bruce. Everything will be all right. Just drop the dumb-bells and exhale.

  4. Bruce Gust says:

    First off, I’m jazzed that someone is actually looking at my book! Secondly, let me see if I can’t add to the casual chatter by throwing in some of what I would say in response to the comments that have been posted.

    As far as the post: “It’s a good thing for Mr. Gust that he isn’t actually required to be exactly like Jesus, because otherwise he couldn’t be a husband and a father.” To be an “imitator,” like what it says in Ephesians 5:13, doesn’t mean that I need to go around turning water into wine, nor does it mean I need to go stage my own crucifixion. What it does mean is that I need to take my cue from Christ in terms of the way I approach life in general. As far as being single, according to Paul, that’s a good thing, provided God’s given you the gift of “singleness” (1 Cor 7:7). I don’t have that gift. But I’m still responsible to imitate Christ in the context of what Paul elaborates on in Ephesians (living as children of light, unity, etc.) That’s the point.

    As far as “I can’t get behind Mr Gust’s theology at all.” Well, it’s not my theology. I’m just connecting the dots.

    Finally, to the hardcharger that suggested I need to drop the dumb-bells…There’s too many folks who approach life in a way that’s devoid of passion. Check out Ecclesiastes 9:10. “All your might…” That’s what I’m talking about!

    • Theophilus says:

      While I’m certainly glad to see that you are, in fact, engaging the text with more subtlety and nuance than suggested in your book promo, your statement that “I’m just connecting the dots” isn’t actually all that solid. Take the stars, for instance. The dots are there, and they aren’t moving, and you can connect them and form constellations. But it isn’t a given that some constellations are definitive, right, the true constellations. Some might be particularly useful (for instance, Ursa Major is helpful for finding the North Star, Polaris) but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways of seeing constellations. Similarly, there are all sorts of ways of “connecting the dots” and reading the Biblical texts, which may engage any number of elements in the Scriptures. But that doesn’t necessarily make them useful, and some of them are flat-out wrong. As was proven by Jesus’ temptationby Satan, Scriptural justification can be given for outright rebellion against God, so “it’s in the Bible” isn’t actually a bulletproof theological defence by itself.

  5. Bruce Gust says:

    By the way, I like the chatter. And if you want a copy of the whole book, holler at me.

  6. Bruce Gust says:

    I get what you’re saying about how you can take Scripture out of context and be able to support whatever it is you’re trying to “prove” or defend. But my saying that Jesus was fit is not a subjective statement. Gluttony is a sin, and since Jesus was without sin, gluttony isn’t on the screen. He was a carpenter, which is physical labor, He walked everywhere He went, He would’ve engaged in an orthodox Hebrew diet which, by default is devoid of excessive carbs. And, when you consider what He endured on Calvary, it’s evident that He had the physical capacity to endure an immense amount of torture before He actually passed away.

    Problem is, most folks shy away from the idea that Jesus was fit. It can be incriminating if they themselves are out of shape, plus fitness is often marketed in the context of sex and aesthetics, which makes the idea of including fitness under the umbrella of discipleship a bit of a stretch.

    But when you look at how gluttony is condemned as a sin and couple that with Jesus’ background as a carpenter, the obvious physical rigors of His ministry and what He was able to withstand at Calvary, the practical picture of Christ as revealed in Scripture is a Man that was fit. And unless that you can prove that He was fat with specific Scriptures, you’re obligated to concede that the evidence tips the scales of this debate in my favor.

    He was either fit or He was not. To be out of shape requires a less than disciplined approach to the dinner table as well as overall well-ness. Galatians 5:22-23 includes “self-control” and since Jesus would’ve been the Perfect manifestation of that, again, you’re not going prove me wrong by simply saying, “Jesus didn’t drive chariots in the Hippodrome.” That’s not the point. The point is, He was Holy in the most comprehensive sense of that word and that’s going to play out in every area of His life including diet and exercise.

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