Almost every church operates under the assumption that they alone understand God’s word in a way that no one else does, which in-and-of itself created the current model, that I call “growth by alienation”. This idea also applies to preachers, the chosen yet burdened ones who get the opportunity to be the mouthpiece of God to any group of people that will let him/her speak… But here are 5 reasons why we are not Jesus and should probably stop operating under such arrogant pretenses.
1. Your denomination or theological tribe is not the only one who reads the bible “rightly”, and if you assume you are, then you’re probably better off being a Jehovah’s Witness, because at least they can track their ridiculously low number of people who “make it in”.
2. The idea that your preacher holds the key to God’s truth, and is the only one “anointed” to protect the sheep with their preaching is wildly misunderstood. Many are given the gift of teaching without also having a call to leadership, and we are too blind to tell the difference. An attempt to regurgitate a sermon 3 to 7 times during a weekend ensures a lack of spiritual authenticity and completely makes mute the Holy Spirit. Not even Jesus was so arrogant to preach the same message twice [that we have record of].
3. An individual in your church who raises their hand at the conclusion of your moving message may not have actually accepted Jesus as their Lord, and a hand raised definitely does not ensure a “life changed”. What’s interesting here is the boundary we place on who gets in to heaven based on their “sin”, but we open up the gates really wide when it equates to some track-able number within your church. Jesus preferred to lead and teach a vulnerable and intimate few.
4. Most of your friends are church goers… and that matters to you. [Read Luke 7]
5. We limit love, grace & mercy with what is tangible on the outside. This is wholly the opposite of our Lord Jesus Christ, but very closely resembles the Pharisee who Jesus so cleverly mocks and challenges. The heart always mattered more to Jesus, not what someone would think if they saw him interacting with someone who he loved.
Although written as a blanket, I realize that it does not cover all Christians, denominations, theological tribes or churches. But If I were to categorize the whole of how we operate, especially the “upper echelon” of our culture I would say that in our feeble attempts to make Jesus proud, we make a mockery of the few things he stood for: Freedom, Love, Grace, & Humility.
Until next time,