Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"What is wrong..." (guest blog)

This is a guest blog from my friend Scott Grace. (You can read "Part 1" in yesterday's post.)


"So I have said all this without introducing the point. What am I trying to say? Glad you asked.
During one of the Geisler sessions, Norm began by giving some alarming statistics on how children raised in Christian homes are leaving the church never to return. At the end of the session, during the Q/A time, one man asked “What is wrong with the church today?” Geisler answered profoundly (not really), “We are spending too much time entertaining and not enough time training.” There was a good round of applause following his answer. Little did they know that he was talking about them (We are the church)! I thought that was ironic. We all assume that the problem is with “other” people and never ourselves. That made me chuckle. Anyway, moving on.

Geisler’s answer shows where he places his emphasis: “training.” Whatever he means by “training” is a mystery since he didn’t explain, but I would venture to guess he would have everyone become apologists of the faith; he would have people become great defenders of inerrancy, cal-minianism, premillenialism, and so on. I don’t know what he meant by entertaining either, but I certainly feel that Geisler thinks the solution is raising up a generation of apologists who will save the children from the snares of this world. Well… I think he is right, but only to a small degree. We must have thoughtful, reflective, and culturally astute people, but I think he has missed something so tremendous, something so huge that only a man stuck in seminary offices and classrooms, behind grand volumes of theological literature, could miss. Certainly the church has “dumbed-down” its message to appeal to the broader culture, but is “training” (of an intellectual type) really going to save the children? I can’t imaging that is the case. Jesus never said, “Go into all the world and train.” Certainly Paul placed a heavy emphasis on knowing the Scriptures… I cannot deny that, but Paul’s reason for knowing the Scriptures was not for the sake of defending the faith, the reason was to preach the gospel to the world.

I don’t think intellectual, biblical, and theological training is the cure-all, though I cannot deny that intellectual, biblical, and theological training have influenced my life greatly and will do the same for others. But training does not fix my brokenness. It can’t, and never will. I have been “trained” and I have the ability to “defend the faith” but that is not what sustains my faith, though it certainly provides a level of support. What sustains my faith is the power of the gospel, the experience of the transforming nature of the life of Jesus Christ lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is unlike any other message in the world. It brings HOPE, RESTORATION, FORGIVENESS, RECONCILIATION, and HEALING to the world. Training can never do those things, only the preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ and the life living out the gospel of Jesus Christ on a daily basis can change the world.

If I were to answer the question (and I did not because I am not Norman Geisler) I would say that what is wrong with our churches is that we are living as though the gospel is only something we believe and not something we live. We are too comfortable. We are too easily distracted with what matters little, we are too self-centered, we have too much, we care too little, we do not grasp the nature and power of the gospel of Jesus, the Christ. God is going to restore all things and make them new. He has done this through Christ and will continue to do it through us. Our task in this life is to mimic that process in our day by day lives, in our homes, workplaces, schools, families, neighborhoods, countries, and continents. When Christians start living the forgiveness they have found then possibly the kids will see what Christianity is: a way of life rather than something we do on Sunday. We must spend less time entertaining and more time living the gospel."

1 comment:

hassanpour said...

Col 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,...

it was like reading this verse for the first time several months ago. seems like Paul is expecting us to understand what you are talking about here in your post... repentance and belief in the Gospel are not only how we recieve Christ, but how we walk in him...
it continues to change us as we continue to "walk in faith" - also read "lifestyle of belief in the gospel"

anyway, great post. i subscribe to ur blog on google reader, so great blog, too