Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What Would Jesus Say to the American Christian Church?

I think He would regard all our denominations and how they have split us until we regard ourselves as Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Pentecostals, Baptists, or any other sect, and say: "You are all disciples, followers of Me, and brothers and sisters in Jesus."

I think He would regard all our church buildings, all our decorations, all our programs and our events and say, "This is not the Church. The Church is not any of these things nor is it a place or an event. You are the Church, all of you who carry My Name."

I think He would regard all our surplus resources, including all our Bibles in numerous translations and in different genres, our many Christian books that are often self-help and all our Christian colleges, Christian radio and Christian TV and say, "These are good to a point, but many of My people all over the world do not have nearly what you do and they are rich toward Me! What you need, more than anything, is a living relationship with me."

I think He would regard our fast-paced living and the way we meet once (maybe twice a week) in worship contexts and share only superficially when together, and say, "I have commanded you to love one another. How can you do that if you are too busy to take the time to get to know each other?"

I think He would regard our practice of setting up congregations that draw different people groups of Christians (Black, Caucasian, affluent, poor, different ethnic groups) and say, "This should never be! I see all of you as one Body of Christ. You have split Me up so the world will never be convinced that You are mine."

I think that He would regard all the scandals that so often break out publicly among Christian leaders and that happen as often in fellowships everywhere though lesser-known, and say: "I commanded You to watch and pray so that you would not enter into temptation. Because you refuse accountability and ignore my instruction to confess your sins to each other and pray for one another for healing, sin overcomes you and My Name is dragged in the mud."

I think He would regard our ingrained habit of looking to our Pastors and other Pastoral staff to do our ministry and divide them into clergy and laity and would say, "This is backward. You are all brothers and sisters in Me and no one is professional or unprofessional in my Kingdom. You are all ministers and you all have a job to do."

I think He would regard our appalling divorce rate in the Christian community that is as high as in the general community and would say, "I designed marriage not only for procreation and companionship but also to represent the forever relationship between My beloved Church, Whom I love passionately, and Me. Divorce does great violence to My design for marriage."

I think He would regard the 4000 abortions a day and our silence about this social ill and even our participation in it (getting abortions or enabling others to get them) and say, "This is very wrong! I create every person from conception on with purposes and gifts and these are My children who are being killed! And it breaks My heart to see what abortion does to all those left behind--the moms, dads, grandparents and all the waste of life."

I think He would regard our ignorance of or refusal to address so many social ills that also affect Christian (abortion, same-sex attraction, mental illness, sexual abuse, domestic violence, poverty and more) and would say, "I commanded You to bear each other's burdens and so fulfill My Law. It is by loving each other that people will identify you as Mine. Step it up!"

I think He would regard our tendency to politicize Him and the Bible and subtly (and not so subtly) totally ignore one party and refuse to see that both parties have both strengths and weaknesses, and would say, "My Kingdom is not of this world and I am not a Republican or a Democrat or any political title. The government cannot save you."

I think He would regard all His people all over the world so willing to give up all for him and even their physical lives and then regards our lukewarmness and blindness about so much of His teachings, and would say, "All who want to live a godly life for Me will be persecuted. Stand up to your more subtle enemies of materialistic and consumeristic temptations, and embrace the cross and be forever exalted."

I think He would regard the mass exodus (at least 70 percent) of young people from our fellowships (in all denominations) and the sad phenomenon of so many "losing their faith" in college, and say, "This breaks My heart. The Body of Christ is not supposed to be age-segregated and divided into age-segregated worship services, small groups and Bible study groups. Young people are being turned off by the way you do church and I do not blame them."

I think He would regard how we have thoroughly caved into our culture so that an estimated 60 percent of professed Christians approve of homosexuality as an "alternative lifestyle" and see this sinful lifestyle that God clearly denounces in even the New Testament, and says, "When I told the women who was being condemned for her adultery I did tell her that I did not condemn her. I did not tell her to do whatever made her happy even if it means sinning. I told her to stop sinning. Acceptance of sin and love for it is sin."

I think He would regard the horrible practice of so many televangelists and Christian leaders of saying "the right things" while they get rich off their followers and live their cushy and wealthy lives, and say, "These wolves in sheep's clothing do not speak for me and I do not know them. I told you to watch out for false prophets and do not listen to them but follow me and study My Word and sound Biblical teachers."

I think he would regard our refusal to proclaim the full Gospel, not only of God's grace and love and forgiveness but also of sin and holiness and judgment and hell, and say: "If you are bent on not offending or upsetting people with the truth, even when the truth hurts, you are offending Me."

I think He would regard those among us who, though far from perfect, are earnestly seeking to daily hang onto Him as Savior and Lord and endure in faith, and say, "Continue to stand firm in your faith and don't let anyone hinder you, even if everyone around you goes into the opposite direction."

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