I spent last weekend at the Victorian Christian Youth Convention.
I don’t know if it was because we were focusing on the resurrection of Jesus for the weekend or because certain frequently-downloaded preachers have set a precedent, but there were an awful lot of prayers directed to Jesus from up front.
Now, don’t get me wrong — I have no issue with people praying to Jesus. I’m confident Jesus is worthy of our worship. And I personally pray to him. A lot.
My issue is with what often happens when people who are used to directing most of their prayers to the Father start praying to Jesus. What happens is they get confused, trip up, and become unintentional heretics.
I lost count of how many times over the weekend people prayed prayers like this from up the front: “Heavenly Father, we praise you that you are raised from the dead”.
Bzzzt! That’s a theology FAIL.
I know it’s an honest mistake. But it’s dangerously close to the ancient heresy known as patripassian modalism — that is, treating Father and Son as though they were interchangeable and claiming that it was the Father who suffered and died on the cross (and, presumably, rose again).
Although, it could be worse. A friend of mine was once heard to pray: “Dear Jesus, thank you for sending your son to die for us”.
Don’t know which Gospel he’d been reading. But I’m sure Dan Brown would be interested to hear about it!