Monday, December 8, 2008

Why I Seem Mean Sometimes

The abdication of the biblical mandate for pastors by pastors who don't think it's any big deal. That's why I seem mean sometimes. That's why I get worked up. Because God's people and the world are starving for the gospel and the glory of God and the people charged with proclaiming those things won't bother, won't care, and won't give you the time of day if you think to ask for something you need.

I see way too many conversations that go like this:

Hungry: Why don't we hear more about Jesus?
Pastor: Don't be so judgmental!

Hungry: Why don't we hear about sin?
Pastor: You're a Pharisee!

Hungry: Why don't we hear the gospel?
Pastor: You're so religious!

Hungry: I am not being discipled.
Pastor: Feed yourself!

What's even more galling is that the same gang whose bread and butter is criticizing and ridiculing the "traditional church" (whatever that is, even if it still exists) or the "irrelevant" church cannot stand for one minute those within the ranks of evangelicalism suggesting the attractional emperor is naked. We are being too cynical, too judgmental, too legalistic, too critical. We stand in the way of progress.

Luther wasn't exactly beloved either. He didn't play nice. He didn't put a smile on and abide the gospel-less church. He loved God and his neighbors too much.

And that's the key. I hate the therapeutic gospel and the vapid consumeristic folk religion passing as Christianity in America because I love God and the Church. It's because I believe the Church is God's plan for the spread of the knowledge of his glory and the spread of the kingdom on earth that I believe we can't let irresponsibility slide. It's because I'm passionate about the Church that I'm passionate about calling her works-preaching cheerleaders to repentance.

Wake up! This isn't about ministries and programs and popularity. It's life or death, light and darkness. We are living in eternity!
The New Testament says Christ's death and resurrection is of first importance. Meanwhile some dude is sitting on a bed telling couples to have sex every day, some dude is telling people if they're sick or poor they're not experiencing God's favor, some dude is saying you should give to the poor to feel better about yourself, some dude is preaching to your self-esteem, some dude is preaching about how to love your job, some dude is preaching moralistic lessons found in movies or in your iTunes playlist, and all of it is nothing more than giving stones to people starving for bread.

That's why I seem mean sometimes. Because I hate starvation.

Heck, if you think I'm too confrontational (as one person said about me once -- not to me, by the way, as that would be too confrontational, I guess :-), but to a mutual friend) you should actually read some of the stuff Paul says. I'm not telling anyone to cut their ding-dong off.
Maybe I should. But I think a castrated pastorate is actually the problem.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

-- Galatians 1:6-9


nhe said...

I completely identify Jared - I'm mean too and I'm told that I'm cynical for these exact same reasons.

But the conversations I have go a little differently:

Hungry: Why don't we hear more about Jesus?:
Pastor: yeah, we get that question a lot - we've been addressing that as a church staff (supposedly 18 months ago, but no noticeable change)

Hungry: Why don't we hear more about sin?:
Pastor - we would just rather tell people they can't take communion if they're not a "Christ follower"

Hungry: Why don't we hear more about the gospel?
Pastor - well, we give a pretty direct invitation (in the sermon) to "accept Christ" at least every six weeks or so

Hungry: I'm not being discipled.
Pastor - we've got "community groups" where you can "do life deeply together"

Bottom line - I just don't think they "get it".

Jesus = "touchy feely crap" instead of life itself

Sin = "not seeker sensitive" instead of encouragement to examine one's self

Gospel = "alter call" instead of the good news that sets any captive free of any situation and transforms all

Disciple = get together, read some books, check some boxes instead of urgently "encourage one another day after day as long as it still called today"

mike said...

Thanks for the well-needed reminder/challenge. I don't know if anyone else needed it/will admit it but I admit...I needed it. And thanks for letting me keep my ding-dong!

Anonymous said...


I think I would take you in a match between you and De Le Hoya.... : -)

You throw a mean gospel uppercut and a powerful right Cross.... heh heh heh...

I don't think you're mean... I just think you really MEAN what you say and say what you MEAN...

Rock 'em, sock 'em... JW...

I think a little attitude adjustment sometimes requires a little head-butting... just don't bite anyone's ear off... okay???? : - )

You said it well in this post... and as all those guys in the Marvel comic books would say...

'nuf said...