Saturday, July 24, 2010

Was Jesus a Shaman?

In his book Understanding Folk Religions, Paul Hiebert referred to Jesus as a “shaman”. Hiebert says shamans are those who “exercise control over spirits”; they do this to aid people in leading a better, healthier life. I have a problem with applying the term “shaman” to Jesus; shamanism is a rough knockoff of what Jesus did as part of His earthly ministry. We know that Jesus had full control over the activities of the demonic forces as He walked the earth – He exercised many demons from people and he healed may people of their illnesses. We, as Christians, can share in this power of Christ through prayer, anointing with oil, laying on of hands, etc. Our leaders today need to be biblically sound in the application of this shared power and learn to use it wisely.

Jesus was the ultimate religious leader, He set the example in everything He did and we are to attempt to follow this example while fulfilling the office of religious leader. When a leader holds a specific office, he should research the requirements of that office thoroughly, and use the biblical model as his guide.

Jesus was also the ultimate prophet of God. He proclaimed the word of God like no other because He is the Word of God. I’m not sure that the office of prophet is an active one today, certainly there are no prophets in the Old Testament sense. Hiebert says a prophet “go[es] to the people directly and challenge[s] them to action,” well, that’s ANY leader, Christian or secular. I would call that person a motivator, not a prophet. To me, a prophet is one who gets direct revelation from God to pass along to the people. The only ones I know of who claim that power are wolves in sheep’s clothing like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and the pope.

Every believer is a priest in the Christian church (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus is our example in this because He is the “high Priest,” we are to conduct ourselves in the way He taught us. Another office Jesus held was that of teacher.

Teachers are those who help us to understand what it is we need to know. Jesus was a great teacher! He was able to get His message out to the people in a way that made them remember what He had said. He made the people think for themselves and to come up with the correct ideas and answers without being spoon fed everything. Teachers today need to learn from this. A good teacher is also a good example, and one who live with the knowledge that they are being watched by others.

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