Russell Brand reminds the Church to witness
Biblically-educated Christians forget the urgency of the gospel. | Photo Courtesy of wikipedia.org
In the most recent edition of Relevant Magazine, Russell Brand states:
BRAND MEETS JESUS
“There’s a famous quote that goes ‘Every man who knocks on a brothel door, he’s looking for God.’ Crack houses and these dens of suffering and illicit activity, they are all people trying to feel good and looking to feel connected. People are trying to escape… To me, this is a spiritual impetus.”
Brand sees the gospel in a manner of urgency that many Christians have lost. He has a heart like Jesus, broken for the least of these, and a desire to “help free people.” He states that many of us crave connection. He himself is living proof of the downfall of the gospel of gain. Though previously married, he found it unsatisfying and difficult, his addiction to drugs was public—and at one point life-threatening. Seeking satisfaction, he slammed his fists into the door and came up with cuts—bloodied, tired and still empty inside.
Then he met Jesus and began to battle his addictions by diving into the Word. The way in which Brand tells his story—a mixture of his past washed clean by Jesus, his present a work in progress and his future a joy set before him to witness and give others hope— exemplifies a Christian life that attests to God’s goodness.
In his interview, he quotes Matthew 19 saying, “‘What good shall I do that I may have eternal life? Give away all your possessions and follow me’… That’s a pretty radical thing.”
The article goes on to tell how his direction in life has changed. He has sobered up, gotten clean and gotten right with God. He sees the teachings of Jesus as countercultural and attributes this to why Jesus’ messages have not been shared more. This is correct. Our society is so self-driven, pleasure-driven and possession-driven, we as Christians often become discouraged, cowardly and unmotivated to share the gospel with those around us. In Brand’s case, as Relevant states, this is not true.
“Unless Jesus is right here, right now in your heart...Then what is Christ?”
Seeing the impact that a non-material, Christ-centered pursuit of life has made for him, Brand wants Jesus for everyone. He sees the deep hurt of the world, and through his story has rejected what he calls the “superficial language of religion”—or negative associations of ritualistic religious practices. He instead focuses on love, connection and relationship: what he has found only Jesus can give him.
We, as biblically-educated Christians, can explain the way in which hermeneutics influence and guide the readings of Scripture. We can navigate discourse in our classes on the theology of sin and lust, and the narrative of Christ’s coming into the flesh. Yet we have lost our drive and also lost sight of why we learn all of this—to save the lost. To go into the whore-houses, as Jesus called Hosea, and rescue those unknowing, just as he did for us.