December 12, 2008

What is the biggest threat to the Christian Church?

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:54 pm by Dan Barnett

I wrote this post on July 1, 2007, and found it unpublished tonight.  I thought I’d publish it.

While I sit home from work today, wondering when I’m going to start my throw-up spat as both of my kids have all night, I wanted to write about a speech from Chuck Colson that has a lot of people upset.  Here is an article about the speech.  He pointed to three enemies of the evangelical faith.  Included in them were Islamic terrorists, Atheists, and the Emergent Church.

Many are upset that Colson would list emergents with terroists.  Here’s the thing.  Atheists are not the enemy of Christianity.  They are part of our mission as Christians.   Islamic terrorists make themselves our enemy, but they are also ones we are called to love.  I do think, however, that the true threat does come from within the church.  Paul says in 2 Timothy that the church would get rid of truth-teaching leaders and surround themselves with teachers who’s message is pleasing to their ears.  This is very clearly happening in the church, and not just by these “emergents”.  I don’t think the target of this should be emergents broadly.  Here’s what I’ve seen in many of them that is admirable, including MC, who everyone seems to think I hate.  They are very concerned about the way we live in culture, being socially active, and caring for the oppressed.  I think that most conservative Christians have failed in this arena, and could learn a lot from watching the example of these.  Colson attacks those who go to coffee shops and hang out with Atheists and lost people.  Hello, what’s wrong with that?  Here’s the only problem I have with it.  If it isn’t intentional and leading toward a goal of reaching them for Christ and learning more of how to reach their types, then it’s vain.  In Matthew 5, Christ taught about salt and light.  This topic has been a great discussion piece for myself this week. Many try to bring light into the world and shine it in people’s eyes.  All this does is push people away.  However, others bring salt with no light.  We rub ourselves into society, but we bring nothing that reveals truth, and the sin in others’ lives.  We need both to reach others and display God’s glory.

I think the biggest threat to Christianity comes from within.  Many times, the deceit is not intentional.  You also cannot just target one group and call them the enemy.  I realize some will read this and say I’m flip-flopping from my “Don’t Be Fooled” post.  I’m not.  My intention was never to make someone an enemy but to raise awareness, and  encourage others to filter what they bring in.

In many ways I think the biggest threat to the church is the church itself.  I think guys like Mike Clawson and others are doing a lot of things right.  They are engaging with the culture and with the ones most of us shy away from.  This is exactly what we are instructed to do(Matthew 5).  Here’s the thing: The late Dave Thomas is starting his new restaurant, “Wendy’s”.  He tells his people he wants the best burgers and food for his cusomers.  They in turn go and buy a huge quantity of SPAM and sell it instead.  This is what the Christian church, whether Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Bible, Commmunity, Fellowship, has done to God’s Word.  The instructions given to us in His word are the best Black Angus beef you can find.  He gives it to us and tells us to go and give this Black Angus beef to the whole world.  We eat the Black Angus beef  and then give the world SPAM.  We want them to live righteous and come to Christ, but we tell them how horrible they are, sit on our butts, and wonder why they don’t darken the doors of our churches.

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