Wednesday, May 21, 2014

12 musts for the Future of Christianity in the West

Restoring Christianity in the west?  Is it even possible?  Of course it is.  It's a new situation of course.  Preaching to a post-Christian people?  How do you do that?  I couldn't tell you for sure, exactly, because it hasn't been done.  But here are some ideas...

1. We must fall in love with what it truly means to be a Christian again.

Philippians chapter 2 explains to me what it means to emulate Christ on Earth in a way that truly touches my soul.  Humble, humble, humble.  Service, service, service.  He esteemed himself not, but took on the form of a suffering servant.  We are called to do the same.  The daily growth in relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ is not boring, it's incredibly exciting, perilous, wonderful and mysterious.  Return to your first love, wayward brothers and sisters.

2. We must carefully adjust the identity of the Christian individual

The identity of the Christian is marred by the idea of a person who is rude, rebuking, annoying, weird, backwards, intolerant, and hard to be around.  In stark contrast is what the Bible teaches a Christian to be: loving, humble, compassionate, supportive, engaging, intriguing, enjoyable, and joyful.  Too many Christians are playing god, and "holier-than-thou" and not enough are digging in to be a blessing, long term, to hurting people. 

3. The identity of the corporate church ought to be based in incredible love and humble character while at the same time claiming little of the virtue of Christ corporately, but constantly pointing to the perfection of Jesus Christ the person.

Many assume that when you call yourself a Christian you're saying your perfect, or holy, or better than them.  Of course that's false.  But why don't we wear that?  Churches play pretend a bit too much.  Change the image, be a hospital for sinners.  Adjust around that kind of image.  Welcome people to repentance, don't close yourself off.. churches like that close their doors and become night clubs and bars, like the old churches in Europe. 

4. We must embrace evangelism

This one just amazes me, how little passion there is for evangelism.  I can't shut up about Jesus.  There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not dropping off Bibles at a food pantry, or tacking invites to church to bulletin boards, or talking to friends about Jesus, or posting on the internet about it.  Get active, sleeper, and Christ will shine on you.

5. We must teach new believers to count the cost

 Dur.  Didn't you get the memo?  Theres this book, called the Bible, where it says, "count the cost."  Because it ain't easy.  Did someone tell you being a Christian was all happy happy joy joy?  It's good at times, it's insanely difficult at times.  Heart-breaking at times.  And it's suiting up for a war.  Count the cost before committing to Christ.  Many a fool received Christ as savior, and fell away as hard times fell.  Spiritual warfare is real.

6. We must preach repentance

Repent, repent!  What did Peter say at Pentecost?  Repent!  Have a change of heart.  The culture changes, the beliefs and values of the culture adjust, change, alter, but the need for repentance remains the same no matter where we are or what is happening around us.

7. We must engage a secular culture with apologetics

Yeah I know, I've said it about a million times, but apologetics is what Paul used at Mars Hill to engage the pagan/atheist/agnostic/secular culture of Greece.  Presupposition is madness in the west today, it's completely insane unless you're working in the suburbs on a revival at the tent next to Larry's general store.  The ol' town folk will love them presuppositions regarding God, the Bible and truth.  For the rest of the country, the other 80% apologetics are so incredibly useful, intriguing, and effectively confront the endless pushing of evolution, and refusal of any possibility of intelligent design, a creator being, and the historical Jesus. 

8. We must energize the youth in the church with advanced teachings on theology and apologetics, challenging the limits of their knowledge and wisdom, we sorely underestimate the young, feeding them basics when they can handle much more.

Catechism?  I don't know what that is.  It's some sort of thing, and it looks funny.  A strange, old word.  Dogma and catechism can kiss it.  Teach, train up these kids, push the limits of their minds you fools!  You treat these kids like they're idiots, and act confused when they ditch the boring, irrelevant church to go smoke dope and party it up.  Trust them with more.  Use them.  Engage them constantly.  For teens, young adults, twenties, give them chances to speak, trust them with important positions.  If you don't show them they're needed and useful, they'll leave, I guarantee it.  

In addition, the youth, especially those in public schools must be taught creation from home as they encounter evolution dogma rhetoric in school.

I've been reading some books on young earth creation, it's a fascinating subject and points out many of the carefully ignored flaws in the theory of evolution.  Kids will be driven away from God by science classes on evolution.  It's an arrogant naturalistic way of saying,"see, I'm superior, there is no god.  We're past such foolish old superstition."  I was talking to a friend who had that happen with her daughter.  It happened to me as well.  I was quite literally brainwashed by the public school system into buying into the framework of the naturalism worldview.  (I'm currently reading The Young Earth by Morris, check that one out, it's excellent.)

9. We must claim, own, and extend God's sovereignty in all areas of life.  

I hate it when preachers refer to the Bible as "stories" or "the narrative."  What are you talking about?  These are historical accounts.  It's easy for people to detach the scriptures from reality and keep it in a vacuum.  Don't let that happen.  I looked at images from the Hubble telescope and I saw the handiwork of my creator.  And I called it just that in my writings!  That's God's work, claim it!  That should extend into all areas, claim and own God's goodness in all things.  Imagine the applications, considering God is sovereign over everything, all things!  No wonder the atheists and agnostics can't and won't believe it, you don't either!  It's just your nice church stuff? This stuff is REAL.  I mean.. do you get that?  God is actually, really, totally actual, real, not abstract, existent, present, HERE. 

10. We must fall in love with missions again.

More missionaries are needed, we need mobilizing ministries and going ministries.  Suite up soldier, get to the front!  India, China, Pakistan, the prime countries of the 10-40 window.  They remain largely unevangelized.  It's dangerous there as well.  But Jesus never said it would be easy. 

11. We must fall in love with wisdom again.

My goodness are we in trouble when we start trusting the culture, or our own judgment over what the Bible says.  God is right!  Trust him.  Step out and do so.  He is always proven correct.  He has proven himself always correct, to me, often to my embarrassment time and again.

12. We must fall in love with service again.

Service is the Christian life.  Selfishness is the American way.  Have we lost the desire for service?  I don't mean token service, an hour a week.  I mean hard service, consistently, regularly, wherever we are...  Something to pray about. How can you serve, to excess?  

Related Links:
The Mainstream Media, Tolerance in America
American Traditionalism vs. Actual Biblical Christianity
True Christianity vs. the Modern Culture
The Power of Love in Western Culture
Outlook for a Revived American Christianity