Now, I know its getting a bit old, and that its easy for anyone to say… but, something is going seriously wrong with the church.
Its not usually my ‘bag’ to church-bash and I’m often the one who tries to defend the imperfections of the church in such a conversation, but I’m going to break my own rule.
In the last ten days or so, I’ve been utterly, utterly struck by the overwhelming sense that the majority of people’s understanding of the gospel is ‘Now that Jesus died to save me, I’m going accept that gift and then try to make it up to him.’ We pay lip service to ‘saved by grace’ but in our hearts and actions we represent a gospel that is no gospel at all.
I’m struggling to know how to really express what’s in my head here…
Okay… I’ve encountered some students who are believing ‘saved by grace’ but living ‘try harder to be better’. When these conversations occurred it made me sad and frustrated – longing for them to grasp even a glimpse of grace. That’s not to say I’ve got it – far from it, but at least I feel like I’ve had it taught to me and modelled for me and have been made to wrestle with its implications for my life. But I’m not sure these people are learning the tools to begin to do that, you know?
The real reason I’ve been pushed to write this, however, is that someone really close to me has pretty much walked away from his faith. The reason? Guilt.
Seriously. What exactly has the church been teaching (or NOT teaching!) for the last several generations? We need to wake up and smell the mouldy chicken. The gospel of Christ – that is NOT about how good WE are, but about how good GOD is – is being lost and the lives of people are festering as a result.
Speaking at an InterVarsity conference on ‘Following Christ’, Vinoth Ramachandra says this:
“The darkest periods of history were the periods when the gospel was least understood by the Church.”
If the gospel is the hope of the world and what the church is preaching barely keeps Christians on the Way, what is going on??