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|Available from Amazon.com|
Jesus Love You, This I Know.
By Craig Gross & Jason Harper
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd
It is easy for me to say that I believe Jesus loves you. But if the truth is known, there have been many times in my life where I have felt that he didn’t love me. True, many people had told me that Jesus loved me…that there was nothing I could ever do to not be loved by him. During those times I was guilty of lobbing whimsical incantations of “Take heart, Jesus loves you,” at people experiencing low points. Now I see the hypocrisy of saying one thing and believing another. More to the point: it is easy for me to believe that Jesus loves you—it is harder for me to believe that Jesus loves me.
I have always believed that if I commit a sin, it’s unforgiveable. Again, on a purely theological basis, I believe I understand that God loves us and readily forgives us…it just does not seem that I can easily appropriate his love into my mindset. I have entertained the belief that there are some people who God just does not love.
Do you want to know a secret? It’s a lie: there is nothing that can ever separate us from God’s love. Now, to be true to theology, we have to remember there are things which can cut us off from experiencing fellowship with God. I believe this is the tenor of the anguish experienced by David in Psalm 66:18: “If I had harbored sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” [NET Bible] Unbelievers do not have fellowship since they have not carved out a relationship with God…once they do they will have the “spring of life” available to them as well.
As I was rummaging through books at a mobile book sale in the workplace, into my life came a book which, for the most part, illustrates this beautifully: Jesus Love You, This I Know by Craig Gross and Jason Harper. Craig Gross I remember from my days in youth ministry—Mr. Gross had noticed a recurrent theme in those he cared for: a struggle with pornography. Earning him the moniker, “the Porn Pastor,” he decided to go after pornography at its root and founded the controversial XXXchurch.com website which was devoted to telling the truth about porn. Jason Harper I had never heard of – but apparently he is very active at his church—Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, California—where he serves as its Director of Outreach.
I found the book to be written in a delightful conversational style. The essence of the stories they share bear the same conclusion: “no matter what has happened in your life, Jesus loves you.” This book is divided into ten chapters, each illustrating a different category of people whom Jesus loves…Jesus loves the:
- Bitter and betrayed
- Porn Star
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this book is related by Mr. Gross when he discussed going into porn conventions to hand out Bibles emblazoned with, “Jesus loves porn stars” on the cover. He has forged a friendship with one of the more notorious male porn stars where they travel and engage in “debates” where each offers his insights into the world of pornography. I do believe that the message of Jesus should be taken to all people, but I fear a certain level of compromise if you descend too deeply into the quagmire of the enemy. I would much prefer that Mr. Gross’s estimation of Jesus love was reflected in a new mantra: Jesus loves former porn stars.
The best written chapter of the book includes a discourse about how Craig Gross came to the realization that he really did not have affinity for those who were religious, since often these people sneered at him claiming his close ties with the porn industry violated a moral standard. To console himself, Gross quotes his porn star partner, Ron Jeremy, who reacts to the consternation by exclaiming, “My world loves you more than your world loves me.” Perhaps there is an overall lesson about acceptance—and the fact that Jesus does love everyone.
In a world that may have dismissed church as a declaration of living in a post-Christian reality, Gross and Harper are onto something. Jesus loves sinners (including you and me)…this, I know.