Thursday, December 13, 2012

If...

In the business of the Christmas season, I'll be reposting some of my favorite posts and scaling back my original content. Reading Multiply by Francis Chan and gearing up for a Multiply Movement study in the New Year, I'm going to select posts on evangelism this week and Christmas next. This particular post was first published in October 2010.

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"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,
'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.'" (John 8:31)

There were times when I was reading Mere Churchianity that I wished Michael Spencer was right there so I could rush up to him and give him a big hug and thank him for saying what needs to be said. Better yet, I wish he was still alive to preach this message that is lost on so many churches in the tapestry of American Christianity. There are many to whom I want to give this book once I'm done. If they're not interested in the book, I'll just point them to this chapter. If this book even mildly interests you, read this chapter if nothing else.

Chapter 8: Accepting the Real Jesus draws a line in the sand and I'm sure that line will make many uncomfortable. But we have to remember, this book isn't written for the Church, though it can learn from it, but is instead written to those who have left- physically or spiritually. The established church won't like what Michael has to say, and maybe many who have left looking for Jesus won't either, but Michael has to point towards the Jesus we all need to find. This Jesus, the complete Jesus, is not the pretty picture from Sunday school, nor is he a radical marketing ploy used by evangelical churches. We are not called to follow a church. We're not even called to be Christians. Instead we are called to be disciples of Jesus. What does that mean?

That means being Kingdom-minded. That means associating with the lowly. That means making disciples (not Christians, not pew-fillers). That means "Jesus Saves", not the church. That means changing the world.

A brother was sharing recently how he was reaching out at our local mall. He met a man who was attending seminary and was at that moment studying Greek. The conversation was started, "what is the difference between a Christian and a disciple?" The young scholar could not turn to his Greek lexicon or any of his former courses for an answer. He couldn't rely on any ministerial training. So he couldn't come up with an answer. I love my friend's response, "I'm not out here looking for people to go to church with me, I'm looking for people who want to be disciples of Jesus."

The Scripture above gives us an outline: Believe, hold, disciple. But there's an important word that makes us uncomfortable, that turns religiosity on its head: IF. Jesus didn't die so that there could be hundreds of churches all proclaiming his name but look nothing like one another. Jesus didn't die to produce generation after generation of Christians. Jesus died to usher in His Kingdom, occupied by His disciples. IF...

8 comments:

Michael Perkins said...

Wow. Frank I hadn't really thought about this in that light before.

If is such a small but large word.

Ryan Tate said...

This is a great post! I love it. More and more over the past few months my eyes are being opened to the Kingdom. Jesus was all about His Kingdom. Jesus flipped religiousity on its head at the sermon on the mount. That day he wasn't preaching to the church he was preaching to disciples. He was preaching "Disciples vs. Religion" not "Christians vs The World". The religous pharisees in the crowd that day were offended from the start: "Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

Glynn said...

I love the mall story.

It's less complicated than we think -- follow; but that simple word "follow" is vastly more consuming that all the other things we try to substitute -- church programs,seminary degrees, in-depth study.

Good post.

Fatha Frank said...

Comment received via email from Mercedes who blogs at http://www.anewcreation33.wordpress.com/

God is really shaking up His Church and I for one am so excited to see what remains standing afterwards.

Also, how funny your first few lines of this post. I am reading "Mere Churchianity" for the second time. I have recently sent it on the post to a pastor who used to lead our church and has now moved on to greener pastures. I felt a burden to send him this book and this prompted me to also read it a second time myself. As I go through Michael's wonderful message a second time, I too wished I had met him to say thank you and to give him a hug. Those were my very thoughts too only the other day.

But I find comfort in knowing that He is with the Lord and that Michael has left a wonderful legacy behind. He was faithful and obedient to the voice of Christ alone.

I have been trying to share of his message on my blog but the deeper I go, the more opposition I am finding, which is no bad thing, I know.

I am so glad God has made our paths cross, for only today I was wondering whether anyone else can see what Michael so clearly saw in The Church and in those who like us call themselves Christians.

God bless you

Mercedes

Fatha Frank said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. And thank you Ryan for stopping by. (Thanks to Michael and Glynn too, but you guys are regulars :)) I'm glad you all liked this post. After I posted it I realized I didn't write all that I wanted to say, but I read it and it said all I wanted to say. Hopefully this continues to resonate.

Windmill Duke said...

Papa Frank, Nice stuff. Where'v I been? I missed your blog in my first time around looking for godly fathers with things to say. I'd like to join in since my heart and head go the same direction.

My own blogs are getting up to speed, one about my own journey (Wild Gray Goose) and the other more of "our" story as it unfolds, my grandchildren and soninlaw covering three generations to build a legacy.

S. Etole said...

I'm not sure my comment is relevant as I haven't read the book, but I can't help but wonder sometimes how it is we hear so much about kingdom principles and being kingdom minded and not so much about the King ...

Fatha Frank said...

S, Couldn't agree more, but I think we find both extremems. A lot of talk about Jesus and none about His Kingdom or a lot of talk about the Kingdom and not much about the King himself.

That's why the politics/religion mix bothers me so much. I'm a citizen in Christ's Kingdom first and foremost. And I follow the leadership of that King. Our culture has eleveated politics above this and it sickens me. Ok, off the political soapbox...

Thanks for your comment!