Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another "Trouble Maker"...

Here's a great thought from Eric Ludy, author of The Bravehearted Gospel: The Truth Is Worth Fighting For, from his podcast for today (broadcast on Moody Radio):

Sadly, I think he's right on target. Nothing seems to rile an evangelical more these days than questioning whether what they are doing is Biblical. But questioning whether something is consistent with God's revealed will is something all true Christians are required to do... first in their own lives, and then also in their experience - especially in their local church.

Just a few things worth repeating from his post:

"There are a few things that are classified as out of bounds these days in modern Christianity and 'pulling an Elijah' is one of them.

It’s obvious that the Church is in the midst of a drought just like back in the days of 1 Kings chapter 18. But we don’t want to hear anything about our version of Christianity being the reason for this drought. We’ve been eating slim spiritual pickins for years in the church. The grand and epic Gospel has been trimmed down to a mere stump of Truth. We’ve treated sin as if it is simply a necessary bedfellow and haven’t allowed our Savior to actually rescue us from all that is destroying our souls."

It is no surprise that I don't like a lot of what I'm seeing these days in my limited sampling of Evangelicalism - and I'm certainly not Elijah. But the truth is, it doesn't seem to matter whether you are correct or incorrect in your assessment when you question these days because you'll be vilified for the act of questioning. Oh, and you certainly won't get a reasoned, Biblical response, because the Evangelical response never seems to move beyond the messenger to the message itself.

I'd like to hear the Evangelical response to Elijah, which would likely sound like these typical thoughts: "It's not his message I object to, it's his tone." "He doesn't sound very humble about his views." "Who is he to say, anyway?" "Why does he focus on such petty issues - they don't really matter because nobody agrees about that doctrine stuff anyway." "Don't respond to him, nothing will be good enough for him anyway."

If someone insults or misrepresents the character of your spouse or parent, you're likely to get angry about that. You might even use a "harsh tone" in response. Why? Because it is an appropriate response. So here's my question: Where is the "appropriate response" to the widely documented, growing Evangelical apostacy these days? All too often, the decline is met with silence. And like the spouse or child who doesn't rise to defend their insulted relative, the observer is left to question the love within the relationship.

Eric concludes by saying this:

"So if a modern day Elijah raises his voice to speak, the Church at large is hotwired to shake their heads and moan under their breath, 'not another one of these trouble-makers.' But, let’s get something straight: The man with the message of 'repent' is not the problem! The weeping prophet that says with a tear-choked voice, 'wake up Church' is not the one creating the trouble! America, can we admit that we’ve grown fat and sloppy spiritually? We are not a finally chiseled athlete ready to fight for Truth, stand for the Gospel, and defend the Sacred Text of Scripture. "

I do think that "we all need a little kick in the rear end from the Old Prophet Elijah. We need to hear a firmer message, a message with guts, a message with the ring of uncomfortable truth once again... so instead of furrowing your brow and muttering, 'trouble-maker!' Say, 'Thank you God that you still care enough about me to speak above the din of modern American Culture.'"


sealover said...

Amen, brother! Sounds awfully familiar....

Shiloh Guy said...

Evangelicals are asking the wrong questions, Wes. Remember what we used to say? "The most important thing is to be asking the right questions, not necessarily getting all the answers right!" What are the questions evangelicals are asking?

"How can we make our church grow?"

"How can we make the message of our church attractive to more people?"

"How can we show that we are not outdated but up to date?"

"Maybe if we had satellite campuses we could get more people?"

What the heck? Is that why I left evangelicalism? No, not really. I'm not willing to give up on them. It's just that I have to take a different approach now.

What is the anchor that would serve to give evangelical churches a solid position and clarify their purpose for existence? The quick answer is, "The Bible." Yes. I agree. But the problem is that the message of the Bible keeps getting watered down. What keeps my church in the mainstream of historical Christianity? The creeds of our church; the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, the Belgic Confession, the Apostles' Creed.

Evangelicalism has lost its way because it insists on doing its own interpretation of what the church is and has abandoned the historical church. How can there be unity in the body of Christ when that is going on? When I look at those churches I see what looks more like a competition than a body of Christians seeking to live in discipleship of Christ.

Doulos Christou said...

Terri and Shiloh (hey, you guys know each other, don't you?)

Great thoughts... thanks for the comments. It's sad that we have to agree about this.

David,, that's for being (over your whole ministry) the exception to this.

Shiloh Guy said...

Yes, Wes, I know Terri but it has been years and years and years and years! Nice to bump into you here, Terri!

sealover said...

I didn't realize who "Shiloh Guy" is! Hi, David.