This is a warning to all readers. This blog contains discussions of a controversial nature. Even though the text will seem accusatory in nature, the finger pointing is a generalization and is not meant to be inclusive of everyone in each listed group. Now back to your normally scheduled reading.
Today, I want to discuss a topic that God has been teaching me about for the past 13+ years. I have by no means mastered this, but God has brought it to my attention again over the past couple of weeks. The topic is this: Are we as Christians more concerned with being “Right” than we are with being “Righteous”? Another way to look at it is are we more fixated on the “Process” than we are with the “Provider”?
I feel that many of us, as Christians, spend more time finding faults with other Christians and other denominations than we do finding what we have in common. I have to admit, up until I attended a Walk to Emmaus weekend in 2001, I thought of other Christian denominations in how we were different. For instance, we were different from X denomination because of our beliefs on Baptism, or we are different from Y denomination on how we worship. As I spent time, in 2001, with Christian men that were Methodists, Church of Christ, Baptist, Nazarene, non-denominational, and others, I learned that we had much more in common than we had disagreements. The main things that we had in common were a love for Christ, the belief that He is the son of God, He died for our sins, and that our only way to heaven was through His grace and our acceptance of His grace.
I have seen that we, as American Christians, can easily find fault with people and churches that do things differently than us. I recently saw a Facebook post that was making fun of Life Church and the “video preacher”. The comments that followed the post continued to post jabs at the way Life Church reaches people. This struck a little close to home, as we attend Raw Church, a network church of Life Church. I did not post a comment on this thread, as God has been working with me on this issue. Even though Life Church does things differently, we cannot deny their reach into the non-churched. They have given away over 1 Billion copies of the bible on phone apps. They also are able to reach into countries where Christianity is forbidden, to unchurched people, by internet worship services. I am not saying that their plan is the best way or that it the only way, but it is an effective way. Let’s celebrate the successes of other churches, rather than pointing out their problems.
As I mentioned, God convicted me of this issue at an ecumenical meeting of men. This, by no means, is the only way to grow in your walk with Christ. I cannot be narrow minded and just think that if everyone attended an Emmaus weekend, all Christians would live harmoniously. By the same token, if there was a certain type of worship that led you to the church, don’t think that is the only way that people can be attracted to church.
I’ll be honest with you, I feel that the reason God brought this up to me again recently is related to the work we have done with Jamil. I found myself praying that we can get everything done to get him to the USA for medical treatment. This desire to get him to the USA is for medical treatment and cure. BUT, I know that the thing I should be praying for is healing. God is not concerned with the process, because he is the Provider. The end goal is not to get him to the USA, it is for him to be healed. I know that this will work out, in some way, so that God receives the Glory.
Let this list of differences run together like voices speaking them out loud in your mind.
Praise and worship with a band, traditional hymns with piano and organ, no musical instruments at all, sprinkling, immersion, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, predestination, free will, communion weekly, communion quarterly, dancing is a form of worship, dancing is of the devil, alcohol is ok in moderation, no alcohol at all, praying in tongues, no tongues, once saved always saved, if saved always saved, you can lose your salvation, birth control is ok, birth control is forbidden, deacons vs. elders, Baptism is required for salvation, Baptism the first act of obedience to God, the worship center should be cooler or warmer or lighter or darker……………………etc
To quote the American liberal progressive, Hilary Clinton, “At this point, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?"
We are living in a lost world that is going to hell. The signs of the end times are becoming more and more visible. All the while, we as Christ’s church are splitting hairs about minutia! Just think of the impact that we could make, for Christ, if we would just:
1.) Concentrate on the main points of Christianity that we have in common
2.) Minimize the differences in our style or process that really don’t matter
3.) Show grace and tolerance to those that are serving and worshiping God in a slightly different way.
4.) Use all of our energy to work together to reach a lost world for Christ
I’ve heard it said that we as Christians need to work as Christ’s church, or the capital “C” Church and not as our individual churches. I wholeheartedly believe that for us to truly see revival in the USA or to reach all of the people groups, God’s children will have to work together as the “C”hurch. A big goal of international missions is to reach all of the people groups, of the world, so that it will open the door for Christ’s return. I heard a speaker at an international missions event say one time, “If we as Christians and individual churches focused all of our energy and resources on reaching every last person on Earth with the message of the Gospel, we could accomplish it by next Thursday". The sobering question is why don’t we do that? Are we more concerned with proving that way we do it is “right”? Do we think that since our “process” worked for us that it is the only way to the “Provider”? Are we worried that someone else or some other church would get the credit? I truly do not want to stand in front of my Jesus and have to explain to Him why I used my gifts and resources to bring another Christian or group down in order prove that I am “right”.
Take some time today and think about what God might have to say to you about this. Let’s use our creative energy finding ways that we as Christians can work together to reach our world.
Are you preparing for “Due Season”?