As he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!” - Luke 19:36-40 NETOr do we co-opt our worship in order to tap into a feel-good experience that ultimately advertises to the non-Christian exactly what he or she can get from Jesus?
Friday, February 11, 2005
Our sole purpose as Christians…
In our adult Sunday School class we are discussing Gordon Fee’s book, How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth. Our discussion as late, though, has been hijacked towards that of cultural and / or generational differences in how we “do” church. We’ve got a lot of “feelers” at our church right now and, while they have very good intentions, they seem to elevate the emotional aspect of Christianity to the point where rational analysis is deemed unnecessary, at best, and a hindrance, at worst. I think that part of the problem is that the average Christian in our church simply doesn’t understand what the Church is truly about. In discussing the role of Christians in evangelism, for instance, one person stated that evangelism was our “sole purpose” as a Church. I would imagine that the basis for such a statement is Jesus’ Great Commission command (Matthew 28:19). A careful reading of the scripture containing the Great Commission, though, reveals that Christians were not to evangelize but to make disciples. While the latter includes the former, the former does not necessarily include the latter. One must wonder why the command to baptize, also found in the Great Commission, does not seem to be revered as highly as that of the misinterpreted command to evangelize. Jesus’ command to partake in the communion table (Luke 22:19-20) also does not seem to be as highly regarded as our “sole purpose” of evangelism. And, while I’m at it, what are we to make of Jesus’ explicit statements regarding the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40)? (i.e., Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.) Do we have a “sole purpose” as a Church? As individual Christians? If so, where does the act of worship fit in? Do we worship God because of who He is and what He is owed?