What Does a Christian Revolution Look Like?
Step out of the pew and quietly exit the building. This is where the revolution begins.
Christians are leaving their church buildings; unfortunately they are not leaving to join the Christian Revolution. They leave and are absorbed into liberal theology and post-modernism. They leave the faith.
The mega-churches are absorbing the remnants of the church-goers. This segment left the medium-sized congregations, politics, flip-flop wearing youth ministers and man-made rules for something with more performance and come-and-hide features.
Both of these groups have let go of the needed foundational elements for Christianity to matter in our current culture. Those leaving and forsaking the faith and those stepping out to” hide in the crowd” mega-churches are making the faith uninteresting to the watching world.
It is time for a Christian Revolution and it has begun.
I would wish that the revolution would come from one of the established Christian institutions: the Catholics, Baptists, or Assemblies. All have contributed to the faith and it would be incredible to have a unified banner, however ecumenical our behavior, this is not going to happen from within the denominations. They are currently in a process of self-preservation.
Catholics still hold on too tightly to “cooperative grace”, Baptist to programs and old behavioral patterns and Assemblies can’t stop the crazy on the fringe. Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians lost their battle to liberal theology by the mid Twentieth Century and they will not regain a conservative ground within their ranks.
The revolution will come from outside the established Christendom.
Some have stepped out in hope of a new “brand” of Christianity to make it squeeze into cultural norms, only to replace it with the mysticism of Don Miller, Rob Bell and the Emergent Church. Instead of holding to true-truth while showing love the emergent have mixed it with a cocktail of acceptance, making the truths of Christianity irrelevant to world.
The staunch denominationalist is now on the mast of his ship with the upper deck all underwater. His denomination has perished and they are somehow unaware. The last hold of Baby-Boomers and a few within Gen X keep the mast above water, but it soon to disappear on the horizon. “They hang on to their old values by memory, but have no base for them at all,” writes Francis Schaeffer.
What does a Christian Revolution Look Like?
Jesus Christ remains the answer to a dying world. He exists within reason, and can ground the mystic. He offers an explanation to our current universe, and a solution. He offers guidance to the affairs of men for a better way of living today, and the hope of an eternity of life and peace.
I am watching “adults” come to faith in Christ and grow in their faith outside of the institutional building walls.
Francis A. Schaeffer is a solid theologian to look to for answers. He predicted our position when he wrote, “The Church at the End of The 20th Century” in 1969. He offers us a guide to Christian Revolution.
A Christian Revolution starts with knowing when to be cobelligerent, but not to be an ally. There is grace offered from God, but there is no room for the acceptance or coddling of sin. “Everything is not equally right with God.”
In seeking to show love for those in sexual sin most Christians have made their sin acceptable. Gay rights are the growing issue of our day. While we must live in peace, we must never say this lifestyle is acceptable.
Our worst battle is with those that use “God-words” but do not share a Christian message. Osteen, Bell, Miller, and more lead us to a mystic God who loves us, but they deny the power and truth of His written words on most of the subjects in life. Or worse, they twist those words into a “comfort in this life” message.
“To be a real revolutionary you must become involved in a real revolution – a revolution in which you are pitted against everybody who has turned from God and His propositional revelation to men, against even the users of God-words, a revolution in which we may again hope to see good results, not only in individuals going to heaven, but in Christ who is Lord becoming Lord in fact in this culture of ours to give us even in this fallen world something of both truth and beauty.” (Church at the End of the 20th Century, Francis Schaeffer, L’Abri Fellowship, Pg. 36)
We must choose the battles that can be fought together, but careful about whom we choose for an ally.
Second, we must ensure the orthodoxy of doctrine and the orthodoxy of practice. “That which is contrary to God’s revealed propositional truth is not true.”
Another famous Schaeffer quote that defines the issue of our day and time is, “The only thing today that is allowed to be absolute, is that there are no absolutes.” Man in his person and through reason knows that we do not get to define the world on our feelings. There is one truth, or there is nothing to sustain any purpose in this life.
Our denominations have confused the watching world. In division, we have lost millions to hell and continue to lose the mind and hearts of those alive today.
We must look to our creeds, not our denominational brands. We have a number of creeds that define the truth given to us by God in language. The God who created language has used it to tell us who He is and what is true. We must love truth. There is no disparity in the Reformation creeds and the ancient creeds such as The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed.
With our creeds we must drop the man-made ballast that drags people into despair and disbelief. “Man always tries to sneak a humanistic element into salvation.”
Along with the orthodoxy of truth we must also have the orthodoxy of practice. We must live out this truth in our marriage, family, friends, associates and with strangers. This is why Christianity is exploding in Asia and Africa – the orthodoxy of truth and practice is alive and not bound under denomination or ruined with the American brand of Prosperity Christianity.
From the orthodoxy of practice comes the third need for revolution, Christian community. Our churches have become preaching points and programs. This is not authentic community. It looks and feels inauthentic. We face the preacher, only have 30 seconds to greet and meet those around us, we are dazzled into worship with lights and videos and then we listen to the same guy each week try to stir us up. We are then invited to “do” things that keep the church going, and the audience returning and growing.
We use terms like “missional” and send the few folks that have or can raise a couple of thousand dollars to a place far away, to which they never return, and they come back and tell us what happened in “their” life and about “their” experience. This is not orthodoxy in practice, but a self-helpism made to look like missions. Real mission work involves a commitment where if you feel called, you leave for good, learn the language and live in real community. If it is not a long-term commitment to a group of individuals it is not missions.
The orthodoxy of practice takes the lessons of Bonhoeffer in “Life Together”. It is committing to individuals, being with individuals, helping individuals, providing for individuals, teaching individuals, and doing the same for those not of the faith so they might see a continuous living example of Jesus Christ.
“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community)
Few adults come to Christ in the modern world from a sermon, they come when they see Christ lived out in the lives of a Christian.
Few Christians apply any lesson from a Sunday morning; they replicate the life of another Christian they saw committed to the faith.
The revolution starts with knowing who is a part of the real revolution and who is holding onto denominational status-quo. The revolutionary knows that all things are not equally right with a Holy God. A revolutionary is committed to the truth of scripture and the removal of man-made rules. Not only is the revolutionary committed to the orthodoxy of truth, but the orthodoxy of practice. The revolutionary is living in a real community built by a commitment to individuals and the revolutionary is living out in practice the person of Jesus.
The mega-church, weekly sermon, denominational conference, repetitive mass will not set the world on fire for Christ. It starts with your commitment to one other human being. Join the revolution.
“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
Step out of your pew and quietly exit the building. Read and know the Word. Speak truth to your spouse and children. Work hard at your career. Invite people to dinner. Invite people to learn with you. Provide for those in need. Pray for all. Laugh. Speak of Jesus to those unaware. Invest in others. Speak truth when costly. Stop building a place and build relationships. Welcome to the Christian Revolution.