Terrorism should be defeated with love...and superior firepower...- Terry Ingle
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"Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society." Antonio Gramsci - Marxist - teacher of Saul Alinsky

27 November, 2008

I've been thinking...

What is the time frame for people to 'get it?'

This is a question I have been asking myself for quite a while.
As a church, it is important that we make sure that people know they matter to God (another catch phrase that seems to be popular lately). I never want to diminish the importance of this concept by any means. Many people don't fully understand that that they matter to ANYBODY let alone God.

Ok, once we have that established then what? Well, we need to make sure they are taking their next steps in the right direction. What is that direction? Toward Christ, of course. So far, so good... How do we get closer to Christ? By getting to know him better, ie: studying the Word for one thing.

We all know that the Bible can be spun in many different directions, this is obvious, due to the number of different denominations that we have. So this leads us to the importance of confronting sin for what it is; a detriment to our spiritual growth, and a constant inroad for satan's influence in our (mine included) lives. So if confronting sin is vital to spiritual growth, (and it is) why, as a church are we so timid when it comes to speaking out about it???

I have asked this question to a few of my friends who are leaders in the emergent church and I get different versions of the same answer almost every time. In essence they say is that we should be patient with those who don't 'get it' yet. I can track with that as well...to a point... you definitely don't want to give them a drink with a fire hose while they are still trying to take their first sips. I do have a couple of questions though:
First, if we don't confront specific sin, how will they know what it is?

Let me give you a couple of specific examples:
One that comes to mind is abortion. This seems to be a hot button that the emergent church doesn't want to deal with. When I have asked church leaders why, I get a variety of reasons, including, "We don't want to offend those that have gone through it." My response to that is, "WHAT????" We are missing a golden opportunity to present God's grace to those that have repented and can't yet forgive themselves, and opportunity for conviction to those that have not repented and see nothing wrong with it. "But what if they get offended and leave?" This isn't an issue, due to the number of times I have heard from our own platform, "If you don't like what we are doing here, you need to find another place you can support".
When Jesus confronted the woman at the well, he was not shy in pointing out the fact that she was living a sinful lifestyle and he told her that point blank. The fact is, that He did it in such a way as to show Her his love, yet without mincing words. I have only heard it mentioned a couple of times from our platform, and then only fleetingly.

Another that comes to mind is homosexuality. This seems to be such a hot button, that very few emergent churches want to even say the word, let alone discuss it. In my opinion, it is because the gay rights movement has done such a good job marketing themselves that they are able to successfully label anyone who speaks out against them as bigoted and intolerant. They have lumped their detractors into the same category as racists, and who wants to be accused of that?
Everybody knows that being racist is totally against what we as Christians stand for. As I see it, we are allowing them to define us instead of getting our definition of who we are from God's Word.

My other question is; If we don't confront specific sin, how much time do they get to "get it" by osmosis? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We speak a lot about God's grace and I for one would not be here without it, but the fact of the matter is that we will not receive it unless we ask for it, and we won't know to ask for it until we realize that we need it.
Some other ones we seem to avoid that come to mind are, living together outside of marriage, taking God's name in vain, eternal consequences of sin (Hell), eternal reward of Salvation (Heaven), to name a few.
I'm told that if we just continue to show them Christ, they will eventually 'get it'. But my question is, how will they know unless they have heard. We can't always form deep relationships with everyone in hope that we can eventually disciple them into spiritual maturity. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus in the middle of the night, Jesus didn't say "hey wait a minute, let's go get some coffee and form a relationship before I hit you with what it will take to follow me." He told him right then and there. His message was rejected and He let him walk away. I'm sure that not only did the young man have a heavy heart, but Jesus did too, yet he still let him walk.

I am convinced that the reason that we don't confront sin more than we do, is because we don't want to confront...period. We are more concerned with turning people off than speaking the truth IN LOVE. Jesus confronted in anger, in frustration, and even resorted to name-calling on occasion, but he still loved them enough to confront.

It is our job to confront, it is the Holy Spirit's job to convict.

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