Skip to comments.Four letters that shook the world (WWJD)
Posted on 07/31/2003 3:04:03 PM PDT by Pokey78
The salesman is a little excitable, but forgive him his enthusiasm. His product could change your life, he says. Paul, from Worcestershire - it's first-name terms on eBay, the online auction house - is keen for you to pick up your personal invitation into the smart set. But before that, he has a few questions.
"The craze that has swept America has finally reached the UK," he announces. "Are you a trend setter? Do you like to be the coolest dude in your area? Would you like to be among the first in your area to be seen wearing one of these?"
Paul wants you to get your hands on the fashion accessory of the season. So what is it, this must-have item, this ticket to paradise? It is a brightly coloured braided wristband carrying four letters. Not FCUK, not Nike; not a brand name at all, in fact, but "WWJD". The letters stand for a message that would never get anywhere near either the catwalk or the advertising billboard: "What Would Jesus Do?"
If these bracelets are to become the hottest new fad - and they have a cheerleader in Heat magazine, which rarely misjudges the mood of Britain's youth - it will be the most unlikely craze. Which is why those who know about these things are so fascinated by it. Will the wristband make the transition from passing fancy to fashion icon? From happy-clappy churchgoer to teenage partygoer? From there, will it, like so many other fashion crazes, gain a grip on the rest of us? Or will the excitement dissipate as quickly as the fame of a reality TV show contestant?
It's a reasonable question, since the intrigue stems from a passing comment heard on this summer's Big Brother. Cameron Stout, the devoutly Christian fish-trader from the Orkneys who bagged the £70,000 winner's prize, is a proud Baptist. "If anyone asks me about my Christian beliefs, I will tell them. I am not shy when it comes to talking about God," he says. Given that he was imprisoned in the BB house for nine weeks, cut off from the outside world, it is not surprising that the subject came up. During one visit to the diary room, he happened to mention that young people in his church had taken to wearing WWJD bracelets and wristbands in an effort to make sense of the world.
Cue much excitement on the show's companion programme, Big Brother's Little Brother, when the presenter Dermot O'Leary began wearing one of the wristbands in tribute to Cameron and his church group. Cue a swooning reference in Heat about how O'Leary had been "pioneering a new look". Cue 500 readers' letters and e-mails to the magazine, begging for the chance to win one.
No sooner had Cameron made his comments than reports appeared in the Scottish press of a run on the bracelets at Christian bookshops. Little wonder that Heat's editor Mark Frith predicts that they could become the latest in "kitsch, ironic fashion".
So where did the bracelet appear from? In 1896, the Christian novelist Charles Sheldon wrote a book called In His Steps. It's the tale of a church minister, a businessman, a newspaper editor and a vagrant. One day the Rev Henry Maxwell is preaching at his pulpit when he is confronted by a tramp. He and his parishioners are thrown into confusion. The appearance of the stranger leaves them deeply shaken. How should they deal with him? A great amount of soul-searching goes on, until they alight on a solution. All they have to do when confronted by an ethical dilemma is to ask: "What Would Jesus Do?"
Fast forward almost 100 years and to real life. In the small beach town of Holland, Michigan, a place boasting little other than a factory making wooden shoes, Janie Tinklenberg, a youth worker at the Calvary Reformed Church, is recalling the book, which had been a family favourite since her childhood, with groups of young people. She is intrigued by its central question. One day in 1989, she finds herself in conversation with a congregant who works in the merchandising business. Might she and he be able to come up with a gimmick that could act as a prompt to young Christians to lead the good life?
Today, Tinklenberg is still spreading the word. Speaking from Toledo, Ohio, where she is on a mission trip, she recalls: "We looked at T-shirts and hats. But this was the time when kids were making braid friendship bracelets with coloured thread..." So bracelets it had to be. "And we just used the abbreviation because kids wouldn't have time to read the four words." The conversation was to have an astonishing outcome. Estimates about how many bracelets have been sold in the United States range from 15 million to 52 million.
But the whole thing started on the tiniest scale. Tinklenberg asked her friend to make just a few of the wristbands to see if she could interest her charges in them. They were asked to wear them for 30 days. "The first run, we had to order two or three hundred as a minimum order. Kids were coming back and saying that people wanted them. So we started giving out two at a time - one to give away, and one to keep.
"What would happen is that an aunt or uncle or neighbour would then come along and say, 'That's a really cool idea, where can I get those things?' and they would call me, and I would call the folks who manufacture them and we'd start getting those bracelets out. And it was just word of mouth."
Gavin Calver, an evangelical worker for British Youth for Christ, was what a marketing executive would call an "early adopter" of the product, having spent many of his early years in America. He says the bracelets were enthusiastically received in the church. "For the young person growing up, it was an excellent way of reminding them of the personal commitment to Christ and of their behaviour as a result." They were also "a great conversation opener: not as threatening as carrying a large Bible under your arm. It's a way in. It's there to remind me how to behave and also to share my faith with those around me."
Things bubbled along relatively quietly until, one day, the manufacturer sent samples of the bracelets to a Christian bookshop convention. Soon, word had spread across the US. From a few hundred bracelets a week, the factory was churning out 20,000 a week by 1997.
America was spellbound by this simplest of inventions. It had moved into the very mainstream of secular life - into politics, and sport. Baseball, gridiron football and basketball players made sure they were never without their faithful reminders. On the international scene, Hansie Cronje, the disgraced former cricket captain of South Africa, who died in an air crash last year, wore a wristband.
If it was good enough for the private morality of public figures, it was also good enough for an American politician to appropriate for his public persona, in a country where Christianity is not so much a badge of honour for those seeking high office as the price of entry. In 1999, Al Gore, fighting the presidential election, told a newspaper reporter that there was one question that guided him. You guessed it - "What Would Jesus Do?"
For some, the question was a little restricting. A pressure group got in on the act. Last year, television commercials appeared in four states beseeching people to abandon the gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles that are so popular in the US. The ads asked: "What Would Jesus Drive?"
The Rev Jim Ball of the Washington DC-based Evangelical Environmental Network, which paid for the commercials, said: "We take seriously the question of 'What Would Jesus Do?' 'What Would Jesus Drive' is just a more specific version. What would he want me to do as a Christian? Would he want me to use public transportation?"
This was only a prelude. The slogan and the wristband were moving out of the church and on to the streets. T-shirts appeared featuring a picture of Michael Jordan, the basketball star, and the question: "What would Jordan do?"
Americans without the remotest interest in religion enjoyed the enigmatic charm of those four mysterious letters. The Christian message was becoming muffled by a commercial one.
You could pick up your WWJD trinket at the same time as you were filling up the car. "Probably the thing for me that was the most uneasy was the first time when I went into a gas station and there, next to the can-openers for beer and all this other stuff, was some cheap, dangly something that had WWJD scrawled on it," says Tinklenberg. "It was clearly just getting in on the action while it was hot. For me, WWJD should not be some sort of fashion deal, with people saying, 'I'm going to buy a blue one because it matches my jeans.' It was meant to be a reminder for church people."
WWJD is threatening to become a brand like any other. Look on the internet, and you can pick up WWJD pens, pencils, travel mugs, lunch bags - even teddy bears and cutesy knick-knacks known as "snow buddies". For $20 you can buy What Would Jesus Do? - The Boardgame. ("Challenge yourself as you put yourself in Jesus's shoes and explore 600 thought-provoking questions.") It has shifted more than 100,000 units since its launch at the height of the WWJD boom.
So could it all happen here in Britain? Evangelical Christians have - unnoticed by the rest of us - been enthusiastic supporters of the wristbands ever since they arrived in British churches a couple of years ago. To them, according to Hazel Southam, the editor of the Baptist Times, the bands are already "slightly passé". She says: "It was huge with the under 25s, the kind of people who would go to ordinary rock festivals as well as Christian rock festivals." Now, in church circles, "it's not the new trend, but they are still quite popular".
You know that something is aiming for the mainstream when it becomes the subject of satire. A couple of months ago, a stallholder at the National Christian Resources Exhibition in Surrey was selling WWJD boxer shorts. With the fly sewn up.
Gavin Calver no longer wears his wristband. "You don't replace the Bible with a bracelet," he says. "I wore one as a teenager because I felt I needed one. I would now like to think that I would immediately go to the Bible anyway."
Though he views them as "an excellent way of reminding young people of their personal commitment to Christ," he is concerned that wearers should not lose sight of the meaning of the four letters. "To wear the bracelet is not about a fad, it is about developing a relationship with Jesus. They are not a fashion statement. They are there to remind us how to behave and share our faith with others. If they are used for any other purpose, that is wrong."
And Janie Tinklenberg? She is the registered trademark holder of the WWJD bracelet - in theory the only person allowed to market them. But she has had nothing to do with the product since the early days. In practice, she says, she would never go to law to prevent someone else using the letters for their private gain. "All the money that was made from it was made by other people. I have never made a penny."
Tsk, and we thought all your SouthPark-watching was a waste of time... LOL!
I don't want to sound contentious, but do you even read your own statements? When you make the statement "Jesus is available to all people" you identify yourself as someone who doesn't believe the gospel but rather is a member of the American Religion (which is an apostate parody of Christianity). "Jesus is not available to all people" in the sense that "all" means everyone without distinction. There is this continual theme throughout the entire Scriptures that teach the Doctrines of Grace. The reason I say this is that election is not contingent on head knowledge. In fact without prior regeneration/salvation, headknowledge would be impossible. Preaching the gospel is necessary as in that it is the conveyance of salvation, but all of the manipulation and pleadings don't make Christians.
Here is why your stuff is internally inconsistant. As a person of the American Religion, you probably buy into this idea of head knowledge precedes salvation (which is contrary to 1 Cor 2:14), or in other words, one is a clueless seeker and after being in the presence of mood manipulators, will eventually fill out the 3x5 "I wanna be a Christian Card". The gospel is not the conveyance, to those in the American Religion, it is the "free will choice" that comes about by making an informed decision. In evidence of wonderful American Religion documentaries like Left Behind it is a well established, yet totally unbiblical notion that there is this "Age of Accountability". How AoA is rationalized is that children don't need a savior and are born naturally meriting heaven because they are allegedly not accountable for their sins. If a child could make a "free will choice", then the safety net of AoA would not be necessary, or there is a conflict in reasoning that states that a child is not capable of recognizing sin, but is capable of recognizing that he needs to "choose Christ". That is some wierd "gospel" that says "choose Christ" but doesn't have a reason why.
So I don't know what comes out of the mouths of babes because they allegedly aren't capable of "choosing Christ" nor have the faculties to do so and thus need the protection of this thing called "Age of Accountability". Yet you pretend they are capable of saying profound things. I would like an example, otherwise this is mindless utterings on your part.
But then again, the plush toy Genie Jesus you are referring to is not the one described in Scripture, so my blood pressure really shouldn't go up over this. I just wish that you would be clear and say up front that this Jesus you are talking about is a figment of your imagination, not to be confused with the Son of God.
That's why you're welcome to come.
And that's as far as I got before I stopped reading...if you don't believe Jesus and His promise of salvation is available to anybody for the asking (John 3:16), then you're not worth listening to. As in the previous post, you make erroneous assumptions about who and what I am, so there's really no point in carrying this any further.
Ok, Shoot the messenger. Jesus loves you, man. Feel better?
...then I'll take the other place any day.
Exactly. Bring asbestos underwear.
Although presumably I have no choice anyway since I clearly can't be a member of the Elect...
Funny, there was this pejorative called "Hyper-Calvinism" that was tagged onto people who claimed to already have a sneak peek in whose names were written in the Book of Life. Who would have ever thought that during Paul's roadtrip to Damascus that he would have that stop along the way? Under the American Religion's road to salvation, what happened to Paul was impossible since he didn't get to use his free-ill to choose. God didn't respect Paul's sovereign choice to go to hell. Instead one must make repeated trips to rock concerts, pep-talks, PK rallies, 12-step programs, skits, parties, church league baseball, and scores of other neo-evangelical experiences before one can be saved.
What say you of the disciples? How many of them used their free-will to choose? (Answer: John 15:16 - None.)
Abraham chose, right? Esau? (nope, he was hated by God Romans 9:13) Maybe Lazarus used his free-will when he brought himself up from the dead and came forth from the tomb. It was just a coincidence that Jesus was there calling him out by name. How about those who heard Paul and Barnabas preach? (Answer: Acts 13:48 - "appointed to salvation")
...believes he ...has been pre-destined into.
I would like to think that everyone has access to Ephesians 1; 3;11. Also, what is clearly outlined in Romans 8:29-30 shows completion in work. All of those He predestined, he also called, also justified, also glorified. The American Religion's god does none of those things; this impotent god just sits around fretting and worrying, just hoping that man will do the right thing. Keep worshiping an anti-christ and you should have no fears about ending up in hell.
John 3:16 doesn't say "Jesus is available to anybody", it is a statement on Particular Atonement. Apparently you don't even listen to the Bible.
The American Religion is based on sheer fraud, that man somehow cares to listen to and then "choose Jesus".
The American Religion is a false religion that has a false god, a false doctrine and a false gospel. The American Religion treats John 3:16 the same way Satan treated Genesis 2:16-17
I submit if for every day that a person spent wearing their WWJD bracelet they instead read the Bible for an hour, they would cast aside the junk realizing that WWJD is nothing more than man redefining god into man's own image.
WWJD, simply put is where man puts away his Bible and says "I don't need to obey Romans 12:12, nor 1 Thessalonians 5:17, nor Colossians 1:9; 4:2; Phillipians 4:6 and many other passages, I can wear this talisman and look kewl and rely on my own wisdom.") It is of the same origin from hell that ends up being "Every man did what was right in his own eyes.".
This is why the American Religion embraces it.
Rule #1 in public discussion, use the words that people to say as a basis for shoving through your own agenda.
What this means is that you say enough stuff to merit one of my trademark Over-Analysis Smackdowns. There are certain shibboleth's that emerge that betrays a philosophical preference. When you (or anyone else) makes a claim that is indicative of this ideology, then that becomes a foundation of sorts to fill in the missing blanks. If I were to mention "pre-destination" then you could go off on an anti-Calvinist rant and would stand a good chance that your assumptions were correct.
The point being, in public discussions, it is assumed that the two will not change their minds, it is for the audience's benefit.
Whether I am saved or not due to predestination or my own free-will, whether my ultimate destination is in my hands and God's, mine alone or God's alone, there are still only two entities that could possibly decide my fate; and YOU aren't one of the two.
That kind of statement converts the idea of salvation into a superstition. Freewill vs. Grace has been debated for centuries. Up until the last generation the freewill argument had some biblical basis, now it has none. So it is no longer a question of interpretation, it is a question of Vain Imaginations vs Sola Scriptura. Like in the Highlander, "there can only be one".
Since you keep going on about this "American Religion" thing, why don't you share with us your own denomination?
That is a fallacy I don't subscribe to. In the NT there were no "denominations" since there is only one gospel. Any I object to any suggestion that the neo-evangelical movement is Christian.
Jesus Christ was the Messiah. Throughout the OT, His coming was predicted. One day He actually came as man. He fulfilled prophesy; He fulfilled the Law. Yet the Jews rejected the Son of God, the I AM because they had in mind a political king, not a spiritual one. The present day hope of the Jews for a political messiah will not save them. They have followed their nature to reject the real Messiah in preference for another that is not mentioned in Scripture. Similarly the neo-evangelical (American Religion) "church" is apostate in that they have also rejected the Messiah in Scripture and have chosen to "seek" for another that lives in a WWJD bracelet and is conjured down from heaven when people chant emotive choruses and wave their hands around to the sound of rock music and the sight of flashing stage lighting.
It is like comparing Christianity with a Mormonism, in that there is another gospel, Joe Smith had his golden plates, the American Religion has its pop-culture and self-esteem movement. To say that there is a buffet of "denominations" to pick from ignores the fact that the American Religion isn't a denomination, it is its own false religion that seeks to replace Christianity - just as Scripture prophecy has foretold.
No, it does nothing of the sort. My statement sidestepped an area where there is obvious disagreement and arrived at a conclusion that you can't disagree with. All you need to know about me is that YOU don't determine whether or not I am going to Heaven or Hell, or whether I am a Christian or not, I might add. For the 3rd time, you're making assumptions based on a faulty premise--you're bound and determined to believe that I am not a Christian. That's all well and good, but the truth of the matter is what it is and doesn't change based on your interpretation of and selective emphases on scripture.
Freewill vs. Grace has been debated for centuries.
That it has, with the quite possibly mistaken notion that it is an either/or proposition that doesn't take into account the fact that God is not bound by the constraints of Time.
Up until the last generation the freewill argument had some biblical basis, now it has none.
I hope you mean that the freewill argument (whatever that is) has changed within the last generation, because the Bible sure hasn't changed.
That is a fallacy I don't subscribe to.
Then you must not attend church, because even the "non-denominational" churches are denominational by virtue of considering themselves non-denominational. So, if you do attend church, how would we blaspheming Baptists refer to it? Because I might be interested in attending a "real" church instead of remaining in perdition. Or are you simply flatly refusing to reveal that information? Just let me know, 'cos I'll stop asking. BTW, you never addressed my question about what seminary you attended.
Ah, good, someone to play with. :)
In other words, [Jesus] keeps us guessing, he won't be figured out.
Thanks for admitting that you don't read the Bible, nor cared for what it contains, because to do so, you would then know about Jesus and you wouldn't be pleased to keep guessing. (John 1). Didn't Jesus' ministry have to do with revealing Himself to the world? (John 15:15; 16:13-16; 17:6-8; Eph 3:3-4; 1 Cor 2:16)
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Jesus went where hearts were hungry and fertile, not where they were paved over with concrete and private drives.
Actually the tax-collectors were some of the most wealthy men in Israel. But you are correct in that His ministry was for those in need. In the end though, they still gathered together and killed Him. So I'm not quite sure what your point is.
Even if [Jesus] did [go to a rock concert], it wouldn't be 'blasphemy'.
There are no "if's", Jesus didn't attend a rock concert, so there is no fruit in speculating to the fruit of doing so. What I find objectionable and blasphemous is that people are quick to project their immoral lifestyle and corrupt feelings on to Christ. If I wanted to say "Niggers are cursed by God", then I would go make-up some crap about the curse on Ham (actually it was on Ham's son) and then say Ham begat black people. I could then go around and wear a white hood and feel OK about it. Similarly, many people are addicted to music of the sex, drug and rebellion culture and make up some crap that Jesus would indulge in pagan behavior so therefore it is OK for them to do it too. They of course rip out of the loose leaf Bibles that light has no fellowship with darkness (2 Cor 6:14-17), no one can serve two masters (Matt 6:24), one should remain pure and undefiled by the world (James 4:8). Because it is Fun, Fun, Fun to cavort with the world. The American Religion says "Come As You Are" and teaches "Stay As You Came".
All of the rules and regs and anal-retentive blabbing can be very impressive but it's all 'sound and fury, signifying nothing'
Actually you lifted part of this from 1 Cor 13:1-2, but typical of the American Religion, altered it so much that it loses its meaning and adopts your own propaganda. Eve did this in the garden too, just prior to her rebelling against God. "Rules and Regs" wasn't some comedy act by God to trap people.(Romans 2) Murder, lying, adultery, homosexuality, gossiping have not been repealed despite the antinomian bleatings of the American Religion. Believers are told not to associate with those who are still living in sin. When the neo-evangelicals say "the law was nailed to the cross", they are actually saying "there is no such thing as sin", or that is at least the way they conduct themselves. So that is why the Southern Baptists how justify "fellowshipping" and "worshipping" with active sodomites and adulterers. If you want to see "anal-retentive" just wait until Judgment Day when every word uttered will be recalled, every thought and every deed. God is not some sort of good 'ol boy whose holiness is so subject to compromise that He lets things slide.
Maybe the silly WWJD thing actually helped a few people, who knows?
Given that WWJD is of anti-Christ, and Romans 10:17 clearly and umabiguously teaches that faith comes by hearing of the Word of God, I think your assertion is bogus and contradicted. And lets see the context of what you hacked out of your prooftexting 1 Cor 1:27-29 you would have noticed that vv 27-29 were in defense of the practice of (v21) "...it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe."
Notice it didn't say through "fashion jewelry and pithy T-Shirts".
I hope you mean that the freewill argument (whatever that is) has changed within the last generation, because the Bible sure hasn't changed.
True, the Bible hasn't changed, it also never taught free-will salvation. But the arguments for "free-will" have changed dramatically. Who, other than a handful of Methodists agree with the five points of the Remonstrants? A decade ago, it was "Choose Christ", now the soteriology has changed to mean "Choose to not reject Christ". IOW, it is borrows from Rome the idea that sincerity in a belief system is what saves you. (Mother Theresa big advocate of that concept, her religion of choice was Roman Catholicism) The new free-will says that one actually has to choose to reject Christ before salvation can be lost. That is miles from the teachings of Jacob Arminius or the rank heresy of Pelagius. My point in saying so, is that I have yet to find someone who can make a cogent argument from Scripture for "free-will". Usually it is a handfull of eisegetical interpretations of a handful of passages that requires a dogmatic interpretation of vague words: (ie. "kosmos" can only mean one out of eight possible definitions, and that is "every person without distinction" despite the numerous passages that don't need any wresting to contradict it)
I have yet to see anyone explain, through Scripture how a person who loves sin, hates God, hates righteousness, doesn't understand Scripture, considers it foolish, doesn't seek after God, is spiritually dead, and would rather be crushed by rocks than bow the knee to God is supposed to be in a "seeking relationship" that results in them "choosing to love God". Without spiritual regeneration, this is impossible. But it works today if one just throws away the Bible and straps on the WWJD bracelet while chanting "Praise Choruses" to this character only identified as "Him".
Why I brought up the Free Will Theorists who define the American Religion, is that the philosophy of Free Will Theism is damaging. You don't see the OPC/PCA/RPC flavors of presbyterianism handing out WWJD bracelets. They don't dilute church teaching in order to attract those who hate church teaching. (I am not a presbyterian, BTW)
Then you must not attend church, because even the "non-denominational" churches are denominational by virtue of considering themselves non-denominational.
Double-speak may work for you, but I don't care for it. I fail to see how "A = NOT A" can be true, as in a non-denominational is a denomination. Actually the word "non-denominational" has been hijacked to mean "independant" or "open to whatever". What does a baptism service look like in a non-denominational "church"? They immerse the covenant child in a vat of water and claim regeneration? The eucharist: Transubstantiation, or Zwinglian? Music: Psalmtry or Hip-Hop? with or without musical instruments? Soteriology: pelagian or calvinistic? Eschatology: Dispensational, Classical Pre-Mil, Amil, or Post-Mil? Creation or Theistic Evolution? Do they have an catechisms? Follow any of the creeds or confessions? What type of church government: Congregational, papist, elder board, pastoral or presbyterian?
A "non-denominational church" is either a Do-It-Yourself brand of renegades, or really has no doctrinal statement. Thus if one stands for nothing, they will fall for WWJD.
The eucharist: Transubstantiation, or Zwinglian? Music: Psalmtry or Hip-Hop? with or without musical instruments? Soteriology: pelagian or calvinistic? Eschatology: Dispensational, Classical Pre-Mil, Amil, or Post-Mil? Creation or Theistic Evolution? Do they have an catechisms? Follow any of the creeds or confessions? What type of church government: Congregational, papist, elder board, pastoral or presbyterian?
Which were... but what denomination are you, and what seminary did you attend? Or is that private information
For security reasons I don't like giving out names and addresses to strangers.
A denomination has the following traits: common faith and name and organized under a single administrative and legal hierarchy.
You asked, "What denomination are you". I am not a denomination. I keep two residences, when I am at one, I attend a place that considers itself very independant. They taught the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, but they are not baptists, nor have "baptist" in their name. When I am at the southern fortress, I attend out of necessity an orthodox presbyterian assembly (which teaches the Westminster Confession). I do not subscribe to all the teachings of the Convenant Theology and I am not gung-ho about national assemblies, but I respect the reason why they conduct them.
In my life I have circulated among the large SBC, independant fundamentalist, and what I now call the neo-evangelical "churches". In the past two decades I have watched a remarkable descent into the abyss of apostasy by these groups (some predominately black,some mostly white,from profoundly wealthy to struggling), to the point that they are unrecognizable, yet they boast membership roles that look like ZIP codes.
Born a pharisee, saved as an Arminian, sanctified into Calvinism.
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