THE MUSICAL ‘JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR’ IS A BLASPHEMY OF CHRIST!

THE MUSICAL ‘JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR’ IS A BLASPHEMY OF CHRIST!

Pastor Brian McClung 

Jesus Christ Superstar portrays Jesus Christ as a ‘sinful’ man, something he was not and never could or can be!! Therefore it is not factual. It is a presentation based upon a lie. A lie that insults the purity of the Son of God, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, 1 Peter 2:22. Therefore it most certainly is blasphemous to Jesus Christ.

JCS has come into existence through the sinful prejudice of two unconverted men who have low views of the person of Jesus Christ.

For you to claim that the views of a traitor like Judas Iscariot ‘makes you a stronger Christian’ is absolutely staggering.

Since when did the ‘lie’ every make anyone a stronger Christian. No lie is of the truth, 1 John 2:21. It is the truth alone that sets a person free, John 8:32. To claim that a rock opera makes anyone a stronger Christian is the height of folly!

The Word of God and historic orthodox Christianity clearly teach that the means of grace, i.e. that which makes a Christian stronger, are the Word of God, read and preached; prayer and the sacraments. Now where exactly does a rock opera, based upon a lie, fit into this definition? It simply doesn’t!!

Those who watch and support such a production are most certainly failing to keep the command given in John 5:2: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

Opera House’s website states:

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera that highlights the political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus. It is based loosely on the Gospels’ account of the last week of Jesus’ life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem, and ending with the crucifixion.

Jesus Christ Superstar was the first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be produced for the professional stage.

This ‘rock opera’ is highly questionable, insulting to Christians and ultimately blasphemous to Christ.

Leaving aside the medium of an opera and a rock opera at that, when the name, character and work of our Saviour Jesus Christ is slandered, in the fashion that it is in this opera, we need to raise our objection to it. It would be a dereliction of duty to Christ to remain silent.

If someone slanders the name and character of our best friend we would be so rightly incensed that we would have to show our disgust and opposition to such a thing. In highlighting our opposition to this opera we are showing our disgust at those who slander the name and person of Jesus Christ.

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is a rock opera about the last seven days of the life of Christ before His crucifixion. Critics have given it rave reviews over the years. Even some churches have sung its praises. Some have even hailed it as a means of presenting Christ to young people in a way they will understand and accept. What is wrong with it? Why would we want to oppose it?

There are three areas we want to consider, two briefly, one at some length.

I. The Viewpoint of the Composers
Two specific individuals were involved in the composition of this opera. The opera’s lyrics were written by Tim Rice. The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The worth of this production can surely be gauged by the expressed views of these two men.

The opinions of these men can be obtained from an ‘Open-end interview’ they gave when the opera was first performed, forty years ago. I am unaware that they ever have repudiated these views.

Tim Rice had this to say about Jesus Christ:
For me it obviously indicates that, Christ was just a super-prophet who – a fantastic man, who made a big mark on his time, and we don’t really know all that much about him. The fact that an awful lot happened in Christ’s life that could easily be legend, I don’t think diminishes the importance of the legend. But, I think, as the years roll on, in the 20th and 21st centuries, I think less and less people are going to think of Christ as a god, and I think more people are going to see him as a generally good thing. I don’t see him as a god at all, and the opera doesn’t categorically say he wasn’t but I think it leaves the question very open.

Some important points arise from this statement. In Tim Rice’s view Christ is:
1. Just a “super-prophet”; “not a god at all”.
2. Surrounded by that which “could easily be legend”.

He further said:
Although the gospels seem largely accurate in their telling of the events of the crucifixion, one can see great flaws in their portrayals of both Christ and Judas.

Andrew Lloyd Webber made similar statements about Christ which we will consider a little latter.

The Scripture asks the question: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one, Job 14:4. How can anything good come from men who think this of Jesus Christ? How can anything honouring of Christ come from men who cast aspersions upon His person, work and the Scriptures?

II. THE AIM OF THE OPERA

These two men have not left us in the dark as to the aim of the opera. Is it to glorify Christ? Is its purpose to set the wonderful person of God’s beloved Son before men? Are they no more mistaken than to use the wrong medium [rock music and opera] to present their message? They have told us their aims:

1. It is to view Christ through their own eyes. In a joint statement in the same interview as already quoted they confirmed this by saying: …well it’s bound to be Jesus Christ seen through our eyes, I suppose.

This is not therefore God’s revelation of His Son. This is what two sinful, blinded, benighted sinners, like us all by nature, think of Jesus Christ. Mankind by nature always has low views of Jesus Christ. It is not man’s views that are important but the truth. The truth relating to Christ is found alone in the Holy Scriptures.

2. It is to view Christ through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. In this opera we see how natural man in his sinful and natural ignorance views Christ. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber present Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. They stated:
Basically the idea of the whole opera is to have Christ seen through the eyes of Judas, and Christ as a man not as a god And the fact that Christ himself is just as mixed up and unaware of exactly what he is, as Judas is.

3. It is ultimately to view Christ through the eyes of the devil. If it is from Judas’ standpoint it is therefore from the devil’s standpoint. Christ said of Judas: Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? John 6:70. He is called the: son of perdition, John 17:12. The Scriptures speak of the devil entering into him, John 13:37.

Jesus Christ Superstar presents a Christ who died in defeat and mental turmoil. It leaves Him on the cross, as a failure. That is surely the devil’s version of the story of Christ. It is a distorted view. The devil ever seeks to denigrate, minimise and pervert the person and work of Jesus Christ. This opera certainly fits into that perspective.

III. THE CONTENT OF THE OPERA

The name of this opera alone would immediately give cause for concern. Jesus Christ was no Superstar, as the term is used today or for that matter in any age. He was the eternally, only begotten, Son of God, deserving of highest respect and honour. He was God manifest in flesh.

The Christ this opera portrays is a blasphemy. It is a slander on the person and work of Christ.

1. Christ is portrayed as being confused. Both men said in their joint statement that:
The idea of the whole opera is to have Christ seen through the eyes of Judas, and Christ as a man, not as a God. And the fact that Christ himself is just as mixed up and unaware of exactly what he is, as Judas is.

The Christ portrayed in this rock opera is a confused individual who has little true idea of who He was or what He was meant to do. He is mixed up even to the extent of railing against His Father for sending Him to the cross. Words are attributed to Christ which portray Him confessing that He is not as sure and sad and tired:

Can you show me now that I would not be killed in vain?
Show me just a little of your omnipresent brain;
Show me there’s a reason for your wanting me to die;
You’re far too keen on where and how, and not so hot on why.

Contrast this with Luke 2:49: And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Christ knew from eternity past the purpose of His coming into the world. He was well acquainted with the ‘why’.

2. Christ is portrayed as being powerless. On one occasion in this opera our Lord is depicted as being angry and disconsolate, causing Him to turn upon the crowd and scream in frustration at them as they beg Him for His healing touch. Though He heals some of them, their number increases, and He is overwhelmed. He is depicted as being unable to solve everyone’s problems, This is why He tells the crowd to heal themselves.
There’s too many of you — don’t push me
There’s too little of me — don’t crowd me:
Heal yourselves.

Contrast this with Matthew 12:15: But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.

Christ willingly healed all who came to Him. No one was turned away.

3. Christ is portrayed as being impure. Through the words of Judas and Mary, this opera casts Jesus Christ as the lover of Mary Magdalene. To make this supposed relationship all the more repugnant it implies that Mary Magdalene is a harlot.

The Scriptures totally repudiate this wicked insinuation on both accounts, For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens, Hebrews 7:26. No where in all the Bible is there is slightest hint that Mary Magdalene was a harlot. It is said that out of her the Lord cast seven devils.

4. Christ is portrayed as being inconsistent. This opera has Judas chiding Jesus Christ for being morally inconsistent:
It’s not that I object to her profession,
But she doesn’t fit well with what you teach and say,
It doesn’t help us if you’re inconsistent,
They only need a small excuse to put us all away.

Imagine the man described in Scripture as having a devil accusing the Son of God!!

5. This rock opera accuses God of terrible sin. This opera takes away the accountability of man for his own sin and makes God to blame for the evils deeds of men. The opera has Judas saying:
God! I’ll never know why you chose me for your crime,
For your foul, bloody crime
You have murdered me! You have murdered me!

Judas was responsible for his own moral actions and generally men and women go to hell for their own sin not because God sends them there.

CONCLUSION

These are not minor, insignificant points which can be passed over and neglected about this opera. These are serious errors, defamatory to Christ and grieving to any who truly love Jesus Christ as their own and personal Saviour.

Ultimately this is a breaking of the third commandment which warns us: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain, Exodus 20:6. This third commandment forbids the peddling of falsehoods about the person of God. Is this not what this opera is doing? Is this not what Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and all who play a part in any production of this opera, are doing?

The Scripture counsels us to abstain from all appearance of evil, 1 Thessalonians 5:22. That counsel is well worth heeding in relation to this opera.

 

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