Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Body of _________

It is a shame and a sin that we who are called the Body of Christ so often dismiss Christ to the periphery of our programs and preoccupations.

In a beautiful rant, In the Clearing's Bob takes aim at the Jesusless church:
The fact is, we know what church is supposed to be like. We know the message that is supposed to be the central core, the very heart of Christian preaching, because we have it, for example, in Peter's first sermon (Acts 2). We know what message brings peace, breaks down hostility, lifts burdens, and awakens gratitude. All through the letters of Paul we hear the strains of that melody. It comes again in Hebrews, in the letter of James, and in those of Peter and John. One thing is sure: the core message always has to do with Jesus.

Now, this may seem a no-brainer to some of you, but the strange fact is that much preaching has to do with everything else but Jesus . . . And perhaps the stranger fact is that many of us don't even notice his absence. I once attended an evening of worship music in which many songs were sung, but not one mentioned the name of Jesus. When I pointed this absence out to someone, it took him completely by surprise. He hadn't noticed, and began rummaging in his mind through the lyrics of each song he could remember. No, surely this one or that one mentioned Jesus. But it was not so.

And that experience is not unique for me. Consequently, I've taken up the cause, along with many others, of restoring Jesus and the Gospel (the message of who Jesus was, what he accomplished, and why it matters) to the forefront of church life. You see, we do know what church should be like. We have the casebook in hand. It's just that somewhere along the line we have grown dissatisfied with Christ and his cross, and have replaced it with other things. We're following new models.

This problem has now come to be recognized by many, and consequently there is a Jesus movement in the church today. Note: this is not so much a movement to declare and exalt Jesus among the nations, as to re-declare him within the church, to Christians. Jesus must be restored to the church before the church can be expected to exalt him to the nations.


Bob goes on to herald the new movement of reformational influences -- pastors, writers, bloggers -- who are holding the banner of the Gospel high and carrying it before them into the philosophical fray.

Do I get a lapel pin, Bob? :-)