Justin Bieber's Favorite Pastor Judah Smith Talks 'Jesus Is' Movement, Says 'Gospel is Provocative by Nature'
By Rachel Liu, Crossmap On May 14, 2013
Justin Bieber may have been bestowed saving grace from Judah Smith in his relationship with Selena Gomez, but the Seattle Pastor has surely impacted many more lives in his best-selling book "Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human."
Smith, the lead pastor of The City Church in Seattle, opened up about the "Jesus Is" project and the power of the gospel to engage diverse groups of people. Judah is part of a charismatic movement led by his later father, Pastor Wendell Smith.
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In an interview with Charisma News, the favorite pastor of Justin Bieber spoke of the way the gospel can engage and capture the hearts of many people, even those who may be considered far away from Christianity.
"The receptivity of people that are seekers, people that are lost, people that are searching," Smith said.
"We have seen porn websites and prominent atheist websites link up and create links to our website and really engage. Just the idea of having a dialogue—being a Christian and say, 'Look, let's dialogue. We want to listen and not just talk.' It's surprising to see the interaction and receptivity of people. It's just amazing."
Asked what inspired him about the "Jesus Is" campaign, Smith answered,
"I think what's inspiring is the compelling, provocative nature of the gospel. Just seeing what the gospel does and what it does best, which is that it captures people."
"The person of Jesus still and always will be the most compelling person who has ever lived. I think we’re living in an era and a society that is in desperate need of seeing Jesus for who He really is," he continued.
The greatest challenge facing the body of Christ today "has always been and will always be keeping Jesus the main thing—keeping the main thing the main thing, keeping the big deal the big deal—and not getting caught up in the peripheral," Judah Smith remarked.
"I think that continues to be the challenge in an era that's so distracted by media and so distracted by a fast-pace society, culture, entertainment. I think it's imperative that we keep it clear, keep it simple and really make it about Jesus."
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Asked of how to keep the balance between remaining relevant and proclaiming the truth, Smith affirmed that the gospel is by nature relevant, or rather "prophetic."
"I kind of feel like the gospel's nature is beyond relevant, in terms of the nature of the gospel is prophetic. It's very much transcendent, in terms of the discussion of relevance," he explained.
"I think there are certain words and terms, and not so much biblical vocabulary. I believe in the fullness of Christian Scriptures and their choice of words. I feel like we've got to stick to the ancient truths."
"We've got to stick to these beautiful mysteries that we hold so dear, and I think they are by nature prophetic. The gospel supernaturally keeps us relevant. It's amazing that way," Smith concluded.