In the fictional movie “The Polar Express” we are greeted by the narration of an adult who looks back at a key time in his youth where he was struggling to still beleive in Santa Clause though surrounded by all those who seek to point out Santa is not real. And one can only still hear the Santa’s sleigh bells if they beleive. Like the fictional story, many have walked away from the faith due to voice of skeptics and can no longer hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling to them. Like the fictional Santa in which we know is not real, some would say Jesus never rose from the dead, that His narrative is fictional. I think the apostle Paul nailed it when he wrote:
- 1 Corinthians 15:13-17 NASB – 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found [to be] false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
Without that key point of believing (having faith) in the ressurection, all else is worthless.
One of the key reasons I started this blog was that I felt that the church was not taking an honest look at its behavior. Many atheists are now openly blogging against the Christian church and posting YouTube videos on the absurdity of our behavior. Though there are a variety of reasons, one of the main reasons are they grew up in controlling and manipulative environments. Another is we are an easy mark as compared to major faiths such as radical Islam – which could and would press back with physical violence. And finally, quite frankly, we refuse to police ourselves as our weird behavior is passed off as spiritual behavior when in reality it is just plain weird. And we like to push off our behavior as of no consequence to the non-believer. But apparently the Holy Spirit says otherwise:
- 1 Corinthians 14:23 NASB – 23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?
Dennis Prager in PragerU on YouTube makes an excellent point. That to take God’s name in vain is not so much as cussing as to how you represent God. Dennis is making the point not to do evil in the name of God, I would apply that as to misrepresenting God in general. Paul is like wise concerned that how others see us IS important.
I think there are two key points to distinguish:
First, though the methodology of preaching may change, the message must not. I refuse to label changes in music or style of church service as not being in the faith.
Second, though scripture never changes, our interpretation of it must. That is, the church is described as being in the process of maturation. And if we still beleive like we did yesterday, then we have grown stagnant in the faith.
- Ephesians 4:13 NASB – 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 13:11 NASB – 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
Even though Jesus said:
- Luke 18:17 NASB – 17 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it [at all.]”
These two points are not contradictory but complimentary. The unspoken theology is that we have confused believing like a little child with thinking like a little child.
Our behavior must be that which bridges both believing and thinking.
Little kids do not care if they are dirty, take a bath, eat properly, or go to bed on time. Their behavior is completely self centered, not caring how they come across to others. Are they enjoying what they do, of course. Do they come across as offensive to others, absolutely.
- Luke 2:52 NASB – 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
If it was important enough for Jesus, God in human form to mature in how he was perceived by others, then we as the church can not ignore our own immaturity. Despite all the skeptics and our own immaturity, I still believe. But we can not excuse our immature behavior as being spiritual.