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I had a suspicion

June 16, 2007


I had a suspicion for a while.

There were clues that something was wrong, bad wrong.

I tried to think that the words said didn’t mean what I knew they clearly did mean.

There is a basic flaw. It might even be fair to say that there is a flaw in most all churches that claim to be Christian.

So much time spent on what? Most Bible classes are about what? Most sermons are about what? (ok, I know this is not always the case but it has been most of my life) Oh, I didn’t answer the questions yet.

Well it seems to me that so much time has been spent (and I have done it myself) teaching doctrine. Talking about what to believe about this or that. Talking about what is right about our understanding and what is wrong about other’s understanding. A while back I vowed that I would not do that anymore. I wouldn’t use my voice to talk about what is wrong with anyone claims to be a follower of Christ. I’ll be honest, Joel Olsteen makes that a hard promise to keep.

But the problem that I suspected is not just about sectarianism. It is not just drawing a circle around ourself and those we believe think as we do and using that line to exclude others. Really often a form of unrighteous judging. A way of making ourselves feel good by pointing out error (perceived) in others.

The problem as I have experienced has too often to do with a core belief that given the right information the desired results will come out of those being taught. Reinforced enough times it will be lived out. It is really a scientific way of thinking. if I add water to sodium the reaction is predictable. If I point out the five steps of the plan of salvation (or the three steps, or the two steps) then the desired response will be coming. If we teach the “proper” way to worship then people will worship. To bad it doesn’t work like that. You know it’s true.

It was too much about knowing the right answers, too much about head knowledge, too much about beliefs not enough about virtues. Not enough about how to live like Jesus. Not enough actually living it out. It is about how we love, not what we know.

Paul said this:

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2007 6:32 am

    Very beautifully put.

  2. paul permalink
    June 17, 2007 5:28 pm

    It is about relationship, not performance.

  3. June 18, 2007 11:19 am

    I know, I know… but not all of us show love in the same way. I think some have been conditioned to see love in a different light.

  4. June 18, 2007 10:08 pm

    I hear what you are saying. I wonder if people don’t like formulas because they are easy to keep and I can say I keep them. Love is much harder and yet right before your quote Paul says without love a lot of what we do means nothing and he doesn’t allow us to define love, he tells us exactly what it is.

    To bad we save that one for weddings.

  5. June 23, 2007 7:17 pm

    I’m late getting over here, but this is a great post, Tommy. Most of us were probably raised with the scientific mindset being taught and preached, but thankfully that is changing in many churches.

  6. June 26, 2007 9:57 am

    The appeal of participating in a “system” of worship or having a “plan of salvation” is that the human person can easily measure these things. On the other hand, worship in “Spirit” and righteousness which is by faith, (which is what the Bible teaches), does not appeal to the flesh because it can not be measured by human means. So, often well meaning people, who are walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit have decided that spirituality can be measured by church attendance, giving, and what a person “knows” and can verbalize.

    As Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus and the woman at the well, spiritual things can not be measured or evaluated by scientific means. The life that God approves is a life of faith.

    One last point that should be elementary. The good things we do, including worship, arise from faith and reflect our appreciation for what Christ has done. The good things we do will never cause God to love us more or show us more favor. He made His final statement of love at the cross. When Jesus said “It is finished” our salvation was complete and can not be improved on by our measly performance.

    Grace to you,
    Royce Ogle

  7. Holly permalink
    September 16, 2008 12:46 pm

    That was beautifully articulated, Royce!

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