Archive for October, 2001

Reflections on Evangelicalism #2

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts, to be known and read by all men; and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”. 1Cor 3:1-3.

How can we measure the depth of truth we reside in as a church?

One of the yardsticks is the people in our church. The people we minister to reflect the depth and sincerity of our work in the Lord. Those in ministry can cover up their shortcomings in a lot of ways. We have academic degrees, exciting events, and new programs. We might be able impress each other with these accomplishments but these aren’t the things God judges by. God looks at the people we’ve ministered to.

When I consider the kinds of Christians that our churches create I’m disheartened. Recently I participated in a bible study. Most of the people in that room had almost no idea of how the cross works to put to death the sins of the old nature. I still sit in stunned amazement at how people can be in the church for decades and know so little about how the power of Christ’s sacrifice can change their lives. How can people go through years of bible school, Sunday school, seminary, and sermons and not know how the work of the cross puts to death the old sinful nature?

So many Christians are helpless against the power of their sin because they think that they aren’t trying hard enough to stop their inappropriate behavior. You would think that more people would give up on a useless, powerless Christianity.

There is something very wrong with this. This is absolutely pathetic! I am so thoroughly disappointed with what I see sometimes. We pretend to be the agents of God’s kingdom in this world. How can we be the agents of God when what we do makes Christians that are convinced they have everything when they are poor, blind and naked?

If the average Christian in the church is our letter of recommendation it should then compel us to seek the Lord for his judgment. We desperately need to know exactly what He thinks of us. As leaders we have spent too much time congratulating ourselves for getting ever increasing numbers, making new programs, getting our masters”, or building new buildings. It’s time to realize that we have missed the mark corporately and we need a radical readjustment. An adjustment only the Holy Spirit can supply us.

One of those adjustments is a return to the pure and unaltered gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve skipped ‘Christ and Him crucified’ and jumped straight to don’t do drugs” and expand my borders”. We need a redefinition of what it means to have faith in Christ. We need to know exactly who we are and why we need redemption. We need to believe in the Lord so He can His work in us and through us.

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Reflections on Evangelicalism #1

In the last month I’ve submerged myself in to Christian culture. I returned to bible school to finish off my BA. I’m even living in a dorm. I really like it and I’m very at peace with where I’m at.

I think that part of my purpose here is to get a closer look at how evangelicals think and act. So far I’d say that evangelicals act more than they think. I consider myself an evangelical theologically. I believe that scripture is the only reliable source of revelation and I feel that the church lost its way not long after the last apostles died. It is our duty to rediscover the heart of following Christ while putting aside the thoughts and traditions of people.

I have a strong bias against churches that carry on ancient tradition. Because of the fallen nature of humanity I believe that it is impossible for us not to distort, compromise, and generally screw things up. The only source of revelation I trust is the bible.

Your average evangelical would likely agree with me. What evangelicals don’t see is that they are neck deep in the ways of the world. The evangelical church has become the McDonalds of spirituality. Instead of making disciples of the world we are selling faith to consumers. Instead of equipping people to make their own spiritual meals, we feed them systematic processed theological “TV Dinners”. How many times have I endured sermons calling me to pray more, work more, do more, love more, care more, read more, or commit more? You would think that after watching the church become increasingly powerless in society that we might realize that what we are doing isn’t working.

What works to bring hungry people in to McDonalds will work to bring people in to our buildings and events. It won’t make disciples of Jesus Christ. Coming to Christ is like buying a cell phone. You pick your plan (find a church), sign the contract (accept Christ in to your heart). From here on in you pay a certain amount each month (attend conferences, watch 100 Huntley Street, read the Prayer of Jabez), and use the service (get counseling, have a great worship experience, expand your borders).

In Acts we see Spirit empowered disciples turning the world upside down. Perhaps its time for us to consider the idea that they were tapped in to something we aren’t. Perhaps we need to humble ourselves and seek the Lord for the answers to our powerlessness. 1Corinthians tells us the Kingdom is not in word, but in power. If we aren’t walking in power, then are we really servants of His Kingdom?

Faith isn’t a contract by which God serves us, but a contract in which we serve Him. Faith itself isn’t merely giving intellectual assent to a list of doctrines and moral boundaries. It’s relying on the grace and the power of God to gain understanding, to have our hearts and minds transformed, and to empower selfless works of service.

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