(Photo: REUTERS/ REUTERS/Daniel Munoz)
Steve Jobs will be remembered for many things, including his creative genius, his cutting-edge innovations, and his numerous contributions to the technological world, but will he also be remembered for his Christian faith?
Undoubtedly not. Many knew Jobs to be a Buddhist. Nevertheless, pastors, Christian leaders, and theologians are all celebrating Jobs for his critical role in advancing Christ’s cause and the Great Commission.
Dr. Michael A. Milton, chancellor-elect of Reformed Theological Seminary, in a statement released on Thursday, linked the Apple co-founder oddly with The Great Commission.
“We at RTS remember that [Jobs’] contributions and the contributions of his company, Apple Computer, became critical collaborators in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.”
“That sounds like an odd alliance, doesn’t it,” Milton confessed.
“But this is the God who raised an Empire, the Roman Empire, that linked far-flung cities and territories with efficient governance, ‘super highways’ of their day, and allowed St. Paul and an innumerable host of disciples of Jesus Christ to get on that ramp, and transport Christ’s message of hope and freedom to the ends of the world.”
“I will remember the legacy of Steve Jobs in a way that he might not have thought of, as the founder of an empire that linked the world in order to bring Christ to those who have never heard.”
Passing no judgments, the chancellor commended Jobs and his family “to a God whose grace and love is greater and wider than we could ever imagine.”
“In God’s common grace, He used this man’s innovation and creativity to build a new Roman Road to the world – a pathway through the extremities of a world still held in the tyranny of despots and dictators, poverty and radical religious fetters,” Milton added.
The Reformed leader listed iTunes, iPads and iPhones as tools being used to spread the Gospel.
“At Reformed Theological Seminary, our classroom teaching, the very same courses by the very same professors, as well as sermons and teaching by some of the most notable pastors of our generation, are being downloaded onto Macs, and yes even PCs, as well as iPads and iPhones all over the earth.”
About five million of those resources, according to Apple’s reports given to the seminary, were resting on portable, electronic “book bags” of believers, seekers, pastors, and pastors-to-be throughout the world.
Through Apple’s technology, the Gospel has been getting through to what the professor dubbed the most hostile places on earth as well as the most hostile ideological places in the secularized Western world.
“Behind this brilliant and quite resilient man who changed so much of modern life, and whose destiny is now with His Creator, is really the figure of One who rose again from the dead. Through the creativity of Steve Jobs is a God using all means to reach His own.”
“So I thank God for the life of Steve Jobs,” Milton noted.
“The Associated Press reported, ‘Steve Jobs saw the future and led the world to it.’ Maybe that is more eternally true than even Steve Jobs could have known or believed.”
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, also thanked God for Jobs, a man whom he believed to have changed the world, and reflected on Jobs’ last years when his health began to rapidly decline because of his battle with pancreatic cancer.
“He was more than an inventor. He was also a public figure – and few people have lived in the public eye like Steve,” Stetzer stated on his blog Wednesday.
“Watching his health over the last few years reminds us of our own mortality – and Steve thought that death was a good thing for all of us to consider.”
Referring to Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, where he memorably addressed his fight with cancer, Stetzer lauded Jobs for his perspective on mortality.
“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent,” Jobs had shared with students. “It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be dramatic, but it is quite true.”
The LifeWay president thought that it was “a biblical thing to see life as fleeting.”
“I do not know Steve’s spiritual condition, but I do know that each of us must live in the light of eternity. Steve died today. I could be tomorrow. May I live my life in light of that reality – that life is fleeting AND that eternal life is a gift to all that have been made new in Christ.”
Though it is unlikely that Jobs realized his impact in the Christian world, the feelings of gratitude and thanks from believers all around the world testify to his far-reaching legacy.