Support
Monday, September 21, 2009

Thanks for Your Support
I want to thank all the friends and family who have begun to pour support into our African Mission trip.  And as special thanks to the members of First Christian of Athens, Texas who are considering joining me on this trip.  Stay tuned for how the trip progresses.
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Mean Christians

Mark  8:6-8  Jesus replied, "You hypocrites!  Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God'  For you ignore God's law and substitute your own tradition."

               The discourse among Christians in recent months has become increasingly hostile.  It is hard to discern the difference between political foes and Christians at odds with one another.  And this hostility is not reserved for pastors and politicians.  Leaders in the Church, church families, and individuals alike are becoming more places of meanness than of grace.  This has prompted me to re-visit this issue. 

                Have you ever found yourself in the cross-hairs of some really mean Christians?  Isn't that somewhat of a oxymoron?  Sadly it is not.  In my 65 years on this planet, I have experience as meanness in the Church as anyplace on earth.  If you have been in church for any length of time you understand what I am saying.  Gone are the comments, "Behold, how they love one another."  Here to stay are the admonitions, "I am not going to [this or that] church, only hypocrites go there.  So I must ask the question, what makes some Christians [and churches] so mean?

                Of course there is never a one answer fits all and many situations arise in the life of the church that demand at least some tough Christian love.  But there is a difference.  When the sin nature erupts in our language, in our letters, and in our emails – there is something underlying that makes meanness emerge.  Let me give a couple of reasons that I think Christians are mean.

1.       First and foremost, they do not truly worship Jesus Christ.  The image of Christ has been so watered down by culture and tarnished by the Church that a Lord who can enter our lives and transform us doesn’t even make sense to the majority of Christians today.  The perfect imagery of this is Job’s friends sitting around the campfire – being really mean to a suffering man.  All of them knew plenty of theories about how God operates, but none knew God.

When Christians all walk around with their non-biblical theories about who God is and when those theories collide – meanness is the result.  All you have to do to verify this in the modern church just read the articles surrounding our liberal brothers and sisters dealing with the homosexual issue.  They shout at one another, because their focus is on the sexuality of humanity instead of the God who created us to be male and female.  We see it in our conservative brothers and sisters as they try to balance social gospel and gospel of the word.  In these cases, traditions and practices take on an identity of their own apart from God.  And so we find mean Christians on the left and on the right – both mean because they have lost their first love.

2.       Secondly, I think we have become mean because we worship the vessel instead of the treasure.  Paul found the treasure of Jesus Christ, but the church of Corinth was splitting in four factions because some worship Paul, some worshiped Apollos, and some worshipped Peter.  None of these men wanted to be worshiped but they were and the church was being descimated by mean Christians.  Martin Luther would turn in his grave if he could see the treasure he found being ripped apart by the many factions of the Protestant Church and even the many facets of those who use his name.  Listen to the arguments in Lutheranism and you can see real meanness.  The same is true for John Wesley, Alexander Campbell, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, etc.  These are men who have found the treasure and have shared Him with the world – only to find their followers working to protect the vessel (the institution which now bears their founding stamp) and meanness erupts.

 

But Christians are not just mean at the macro level, they are mean to the core.  They gossip about one another, they throw temper tantrums when they don’t get their way in church (color of carpet, etc.), and they even take one another to court.  What in the world is going on?  I believe it all goes back to Who or what is our first love.  Do we love Christ above all else and has that devotion caused us to follow Him in being transformed by His teaching; or do we have a convenient Christ in our hip pockets to use when we or our loved ones are sick or in harms way.  When Christ is in our hip pockets, He is not in our hearts so our hearts are open to meanness.

The Pharisees were mean religious people because they worshipped rules and denied the intent of God.  The Sadducees were mean people who put their world above God.  The Zealots were mean people because they put their ideals above God.  And the Essenses were so sick of mean people they simply withdrew from the world.

 

The time has come for the Church of Jesus Christ to return to our first love, to follow Him in loving God and loving one another.  It is time to put programs, popular books, and charismatic leaders behind.  Christ is our answer and until we find Him in our hearts and in our churches, we will be mean.


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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