Willohroots


Evangelical Grinches, are they Christian?
March 12, 2009, 21:24
Filed under: Uncategorized

grinch12I have an issue that is really robbing me of peace and sanity.  How can a christian be mean?  I do not mean on occasion when your tooth aches and your tire goes flat and the neighbors dog ate your newspaper.  I am asking about those people who wake up mean and go to bed sour. People who neighbors avoid,  who make terrible bosses,  who discourage and/or belittle others.  I have no doubt you have met one.  Almost every church has a few, some churches have a bunch. 

How is this possible?  And worse,  The  Barna survey of young people said this,    

“One of the groups hit hardest by the criticism is evangelicals. Such believers have always been viewed with skepticism in the broader culture. However, those negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 – to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals. This means that today’s young non-Christians are eight times less likely to experience positive associations toward evangelicals than were non-Christians of the Boomer generation (25%).”    http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/16-teensnext-gen/94-a-new-generation-expresses-its-skepticism-and-frustration-with-christianity

   One explaination is, we deserve it.  This is what frustrates me most, the group of people who brag the most about the bible act as if they have never read it.  Our Savior and His apostles taught well, but we seem to be failing the test.  We are not practicing His Christianity.

 

 

Mat 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

If you believe as I do , that Jesus was more than a teacher, more than a man,  that He taught with authority born of His position,  I would think you would be serious about this one.  Forgiveness is not an option.

 

Luk 6:31

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Do you need an M.Div. to get this one?  You do not need to break it down into Greek or “unpack” it.  This is not about reciprocal behavior, the other parties participation is not required.  Be honest, do you see people in church, all of them, doing this?

I ask because people are sensitive.  How many mean people in a church does it take to drive a seeker away?  One.  It is not fair,  but if one person hurts the sensitive feelings of a broken person who has crawled into church for the first time in a long time, or ever,  that person’s chance of remaining to hear the Gospel is greatly reduced.  How many mean people does a child need to have contact with before he/she learns church is a bad place? 

 

 

Mat 5:7

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

 

I need God’s mercy every step of my life.  If I understand this verse,  if I show mercy to others, God will show mercy to me.  Is my lack of seminary training blinding me to something?  It does not say to withhold mercy from gays or pregnant teens or the addicted.  God loves mercy.

Since we are all sinners saved by His grace,  and we sit at the feet of the Messiah to be taught, how do we all fall short of His words from Matt. 7?

 

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 

I  take the words of Christ quite literally , if we judge others, a job that, by the way Jesus says He did not come to do,  John 12:47, I will be judged in like manner.  When I think of the most judgemental people I have met, many are legalists  who go to a Christian church.  No one could stand up to the level of judgement they render, and Jesus  says that is the level used to judge them!  I want to judge mercifully, if at all. 

So are these unmerciful self appointed judges Christian? How can we possibly tell?  Still in Matt. 7 The words of  the Savior:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but

inwardly they are ravening wolves

 

 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

What fruits?  The fruit of the Spirit,  Gal 5  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,faithfulness,kindness,

goodness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 


 

Sour grapes and lemons need not apply.  I write this because the truth is that if we followed Jesus’s teachings everybody would want to hang out with us. Churches would be packed, children would keep the faith of their parents, and none of that is happening.  We are not spreading as we should, it is time to take stock.  Do you think the problem is with God?  His Word?  Or could it possibly be us?  Instead of being fruitful we have cheapened our relationship with God by adding legalism.  We were warned about this by paul in Collosians 

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world,

do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism  and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

 

 

Many of us are just not practicing Christianity.  We are in a self-made religion that got away from what He tryed to teach us. Love God, Love your neighbor.”

Almighty Father, Creator of all created, forgive us, and guide us in love, to love, by Your love,  for You are love.   Amen

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24 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You’re preaching to the choir, brother. Preach it loud; preach it long, and I will too. Maybe more will start listening.

After the price Jesus Christ paid to set us free, how do we dare…

Father forgive us when we fail You, and give us the boldness to “turn the world upside down” for You.

Comment by Shawn W

Amen and amen. We were just studying Mark 12 tonight at Bible study and it has the passage about the greatest commandment. Man if we could just get that down and get it stuck in our head, what could God do with us and through us.
You highlighted the toughest part of this for the church as well. It only takes one mean so-and-so to ruin it all in community, and we still gotta love that person too. This following Jesus stuff is not easy. But I suppose He didn’t say it would be either.
Shawn, you reminded me of the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. How can we ever forget all that has been forgiven from our account and fail to show forgiveness to another?

Comment by jeofurry

Hi Will,

One study I saw a number of years ago would appear to back you up on this (the exact details are a bit fuzzy now). It showed that the most significant factor related to church growth was relationships. If newcomers are not able to establish 5 friends at church, they are 80% likely to be leave the church in a relatively short period of time. (Can’t remember if the time period was six months or two years.) You want to see your church grow? Be nice to people. Make friends. Not rocket science, but there are a lot of churches out there who do not get it.

Comment by Eclectic Christian

I like Reformed theology. I believe it’s what the Bible teaches. But I don’t like Reformed culture. I don’t believe it’s what the Bible teaches.

Reformed theology is all about grace deciding to treat people better than they deserve, for the sheer glory of it all. Sometimes Reformed culture doesn’t look like that, feel like that, taste like that. It gives people exactly what they deserve, as judged by the Reformed person. But who exalted him as judge in the first place? Our true Judge stepped down to become our Friend. That theology of grace must translate into the sociology of grace as we treat one another better than anyone deserves, for the sheer glory of it all.

“If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride.”

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15.

Comment by Ike

Ike, I do not know your story, but you just spoke for an entire culture group. I hope it is possible to have a church with Reformed theology and a true Christian culture. I am devoting my life to the attempt. this would preach in my church, let me know if you are ever around.

Comment by willohroots

Nice to meet you Wil, I appreciated the comments you left on my blog and wanted to find out more about your writings. Excellent postings. Would you mind if i put a link to your site on my blog?

Comment by Steve

very nice sir! I agree that maybe, just maybe, we have taken trying to reach out to people by being like them to far. The bible tells us to go out and compel them to come in, but have we gone out to far? Have we gone to a place that we are not able to be seen by the fruits we bare? Well done sir!

Comment by lanegeorge

All I can say is Yes!
And thank you for your comment on my blog. You were a blessing. We will pray for each other! Spring, renewal…body and mind…the Spirit is already there! Praise God!
Blessings.

Comment by hopeannfaith

Will,

Be careful what you ask for…..I live in Lancaster County!!! Hi neighbor!

Comment by Ike

I am very familiar with the young people the Barnum survey is speaking of. I have spoken to teens and twenty somethings who identify themselves as agnostic or atheist or nothing at all. They don’t hate God. As far as I can tell, none of them hold the beliefs they do because of anything God did. They hate churches and the people in churches.

It is difficult to forgive. I have problems forgiving others and myself for perceived wrongs. Keeping this in mind I try to take everything with a grain of salt, I attempt to underemphasis things so that I won’t hold onto them. Even with the practice of patience and love I find it hard to be around Christians.

I would sooner sit in a room full of alcoholic, pill popping, promiscuous, cursing, gothic, tattoo having, hard drug using people than a room full of Christians. Christians are mean and I find that most of them are not real people…you can’t be happy all the time! Happy clappy Jesus people freak me out. Take a downer and think about dead puppies if that is what it takes to make you be a real person.

It is sad that I am ashamed to call myself a Christian. Not because I am ashamed of Christ or God or the Bible. Not at all. I love those things with all my heart. I am ashamed of the connotations of the term Christian.

And that is a crying shame.

Comment by TabithaWynne

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of making friends of three folks who had tried other fellowships in our community but were, rebuffed, ignored, and were treated like . . . well, you know.
One young woman was like Tabitha characterized. Another is out of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the other is just out of jail.
The hippy is now attend a Christian College and is on the way to a career as a missionary or missionary wife.
The others are trying to find their way and we are loving them through the process.
They all are loved by the Father and are worth our efforts to bring them into His fellowship.

Comment by Jerald

You can see why i post things like this. It is not that I am soured on the people of Christ, it is that they are only His people in name, not Heart.
Steve, My pleasure, I am honored. thanks
Ike, stop in! You are more than welcome.
Lane, pray that our fruits are worth being seen!
And thanks for the kind words.
Hopeannfaith, we are family, let us encourage on
another, I need it!
Tabithawynne, do not allow bitterness to poison
your well, find one good Christian!
Jerald, Everybody needs to read your post. Too
True.

Comment by willohroots

“Free will” is one reason.

Free will breeds self-righteousness.

Self-righteousness breeds meanness.

I’m a little better than you are because ‘I have made the decision for Jesus, and you have not.’

I think it happens far more than we realize.

Comment by theoldadam

Will,

Great post, by the way!

(I’m trying to not be mean)

Comment by theoldadam

What a wonderful blog – thanks for your many posts on what is beautiful in the Christian life and what needs improvement! There are many marvelous people of faith out there despite some bad apples who do poor marketing work for us!
Thanks for stopping by my relatively new blog to leave a comment. I appreciated it!
And just a word to Tabitha – it is possible to have joy in the Lord, even in the middle of “hell.” Please don’t discount a peaceful, though suffering Christian as a fake. That’s one of the greatest parts of the connection to Christ – that such a paradox can exist.

Comment by Pam

Pam, I think you misunderstand me. I don’t discount any Christian as fake. I don’t have a save-o-meter that beeps in the presence of believers; I have to go by people’s words.

I mean to say that I think Christians that plaster smiles on their faces and pretend like everything is always peachy are doing themselves and others a disservice.

I expect people to suffer, that is the way of life. I truly believe in paradoxes, I think most people inhabit a few of them. It would be refreshing for people to be honest, though. Peace through suffering is beautiful and serene but when a 1000 watt smile obviously doesn’t reach the eyes, it makes me believe maybe that person is fibbing just a tad.

We should all love each other enough to help shoulder the burdens of our brothers’ and sisters’ pain. We shouldn’t have to be fake at all – and peacefulness and serenity is not fake. I am not talking about those characteristics at all.

Comment by TabithaWynne

i think our churches are full of lost people who think they are saved driving other lost people away from jesus.

Comment by graceshaker

Graceshaker wins the award for most profound statement of the year!

Mike Bell

Comment by Eclectic Christian

graceshaker, he with the guts to say what I think. Profound indeed Mike.

Comment by willohroots

its a sorry thing to be profound about.

Comment by graceshaker

The young reject us because we are shallow and insincere.
The same reasons we rejected our parents and their ideas.
Fortunately, we can all learn and change.
Graceshaker has it partly right. We also have churches full of saved people driving lost people away from Jesus. You all know the reasons.

Comment by Rob

I think too many people view church as something you do, not something that we are. Which means that God is confined to an hour on Sunday. That’s no way to live a life of faith, and no wonder why people can go from a church service to flipping someone off in the parking lot with no hesitation.

Comment by e. barrett

I love your comment and your blog.

Comment by willohroots

Thanks. 🙂 As they say, right back at ya!

Comment by e. barrett




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