However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace~ Acts 20:24 NIV
This last week I happened upon a social media post from a friend who is not a Christian. Truth-be-told, my friend is loud and proud about not being a Christian. They frequently posts things critical of Christianity. Occasionally their posts are annoyingly insightful.
This was one of those posts.
I will not share exactly what was said in the post (it was far too foul). That being said, I will tell you that it was a critique of the church that although undeniably obscene was sadly spot-on. The post reminded me (for the millionth time) that the church is not impacting our culture with the message of Christianity (Matthew 28:18-20). It also reminded me that Christians have (at least to some degree) become a sad caricature of what we were intended to be. Here’s why we aren’t getting the job done or seeing God’s blessing on Western Christianity:
We are not dealing decisively with our corporate sin-
I am not a Catholic. However, I do believe that when one segment of Christianity has a problem it affects all of Christianity (1st Corinthians 12:26). The Catholic church has a huge problem that really is a problem for the entire body of Christ. There is a huge scandal in the Catholic church regarding children, sex and gay priests. The sin that has gone on for years in some Catholic churches is simply heartbreaking (on every level). Alas, most evangelical Christians are either apathetic towards the issue or entirely ignorant of the problem. On top of all that most Christians appear to care more about the silly antics of movie stars than they do about the thousands of kids who were raped by or pressured into sex by their spiritual leaders. Christianity is in a sorry state when the body of Christ gets more worked-up over a social media post than we do about the long-term implications of the countless sex scandals that have plagued Catholic and Evangelical churches in recent years. Christians of all denominations should be praying for justice and insisting we deal with the sin in our camp before anyone else gets hurt.
We have forgotten the point and purpose of church-
I do not believe Church was ever meant to be a place where unbelievers go to get evangelized. Church was intended to be a place where Christians go to learn the Bible and grow in their faith, so they can evangelize their friends, coworkers and family members (Ephesians 4:11-16). Churches ought to be sensitive to the feelings and needs of non-Christians when planning their services (1stCorinthians 14:22-23). That being said, services should never be planned primarily around the spiritual needs or personal preferences of unbelievers because Church is not really about them.
We butcher the Bible to get it say what we want it to say-
This is the one that could ultimately be the ruin of the modern church. Too many pastors and Bible teachers search the Bible looking for verses to back-up what they think about an issue or want to say rather than going to the Bible and doing the study necessary to find out what it actually says about a given subject. This has created a situation where there is almost a Medieval level of biblical ignorance in some Christian circles. Christians and non-Christians are not really learning what the Bible actually says about much of anything. Instead, they are learning the opinions of people and quite frankly we don’t really need to learn each other’s opinions. We need to learn God’s opinion on a every subject (1st Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:11-14).
We are weirdly infatuated by celebrity-
Over the course of the last four decades there have been innumerable scandals (mostly over sex) in the Evangelical Christian community among “celebrity” pastors. The Church in America has come to the pathetic place where a guy who can put butts in the seats and bucks in the offering plate can get away with almost anything. Sadly, too many otherwise intelligent people will completely overlook sloppy doctrine, weak preaching and even catastrophic moral failure if it keeps their Churches growing numerically. Because we have become enamored with superstar pastors many newer Christians have looked to celebrities to be their spiritual examples rather than their pastors or the faithful men and women in their own congregations (1stCorinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17, Titus 2:2-4). This has created a state of moral illiteracy in the church that hurts everyone.
Sadly, we will continue to get more of the same until we come to place where we expect better from our leaders and ourselves.