Updated: Sep 3, 2021
I can think of no better place that showcases the fundamental problem with being a “Jesus Plus” Christian than in the allegory of, “The Wizard of Oz.”
Even after eighty years “The Wizard of Oz” is still one of the most endearing movies of all time. It is the story of innocence in search of truth. It is an allegory which instinctively resonates with all of us. One of the most memorable lines in the movie is when Dorothy says, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas any longer, Toto”. She wasn’t in plain, simple, no nonsense, down to earth, black & white Kansas any longer. She was lost in the enchanting land of “Oz” but was told that the Wizard of Ox could answer all of her questions if she followed the “Yellow Brick Road” to the “Emerald City”.
After experiencing many thrilling adventures and sensational encounters, Dorothy and her intrepid band finally entered the palace of the “Great & Powerful Wizard of Oz”. They had come a long way to hear his great wisdom. They entered the cathedral like pavilion in fear
and trembling, cowering before the image of the wizard projected on the curtain. It was in the midst of his thundering bluster and bombast that Dorothy noticed a befuddled old man standing behind the curtain frantically manipulating levers. When he saw Dorothy, he panicked and shouted into his microphone these timeless words of wisdom; “Just ignore the man behind the curtains!”
What a timely message for the “Jesus Plus” crowd and many in contemporary Churchanity who always think there has to be something more exciting than their own state of spiritual Kansas. It tells the story of so many who have been on their own naive quest to see the Wizard. How many spiritual “Dorothy’s” have also been seduced by the deception of the “Yellow Brick Road” with its elusive promise of some deeper truth, some life-changing experience or some radical encounter with God that will give them a much more exciting than boring old Kansas? Some like those in the “NAR” heresy, Bethel, Redding, and “Word of Faith Camp” have gone so far as to invent extra-biblical experiences and revelations to justify the journey to Oz. Their bombastic leaders are just as impotent as the wizard behind the curtains and should be ignored as well.
How many have been seduced by the allurement of some special path to follow or dynamic leader who promises to give them all the answers and take them to where no one has gone before? – something to spice up their Jesus experience? But like Dorothy most inevitably reach the end the “yellow brick road” only to find it was just another dead end. She didn’t need to travel to Oz to hear the wizard. When all the props and special effects had been removed the wizard was exposed as just another self-important phony behind the curtains. He had no real message, power or authority. Dorothy didn’t need the Wizard or the illusion of Oz after all. You see, Dorothy had the real answers all along.
How many in the church today have innocently taken the same elusive quest only to be disappointed and disillusioned because, when the truth was finally revealed, Oz was just an delusion, the quest was a deception and there never was anything over the rainbow. Only the gullible believe the wizard is a whiz of a wiz if ever a wiz there was. He offered little more than showmanship, bluster and manipulation. How many have bought into the lie that there was something more than our simple faith in Jesus and trust in His word? How many have discovered that Oz is a delusion? Like Dorothy, some will eventually get it while others will continue in their never-ending quest for the next sensational experience, the next deeper truth, the next cutting-edge formula or the next innovative program.
It’s time to leave the journey to Oz behind. The journey to Oz holds about as much Christian reality as Munchkins and flying monkeys. We don’t need to be “off” on any spiritualized versions of the “Yellow Brick Road”. We don’t really need any special revelations from some dynamic church wizard behind the curtain. We are already complete in Him. Jesus has already given us everything we need for the journey He has called us to. It’s time to return to the wholesome truths of His word to guide us. It’s time to click our biblical heels, wake up and return to that simple faith in Jesus that was once and for all delivered unto the saints. – (Jude 3)