8.22.2008

Take this as you will...

Call me old-fashioned. Call me legalistic. Call me a CHRISTIAN. I dare you, but I get so frustrated with the idea that we can be inoffensive, passive Christians.
It CAN'T be done. 

THE CROSS IS OFFENSIVE.
THE BIBLE IS OFFENSIVE.
CHRIST IS OFFENSIVE.

And I'm not just making that up. It's Biblical. 
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!" Galatians 5:6-12

That doesn't seem like a shallow, lovey-dovey, hippie gospel to me.
Don't get me wrong- I love being a hippie and loving on people. It's what I do.
But love..without TRUTH? It's empty. 

We absolutely can not be afraid to step on toes. It's sickening. 
Mark Driscoll has a sermon called Death By Love in which he gets angry at the idea of being "inoffensive Christians." I like this quote a lot:
"At one of the largest churches in America, the pastor said 'We don't talk about sin. We don't talk about blood. We don't talk about death. We don't talk about hell. We don't talk about the cross- because we don't talk about things that people find offensive.'
Well then you don't talk about JESUS. And THAT is offensive
."


AMEN. We, as modern Christians, are so terrified of being conservative! We are terrified of being seen as crazy and heaven forbid we lose a friend because we shared the gospel.

But, friends- if you aren't sharing the gospel... your LOVE of your neighbor is POINTLESS. It is completely IN VAIN.

I don't care if you gave your life savings to the poor and fed 600 hungry in one day and drove your new friends to Walmart because they didn't have a car and don't know English well-- if you aren't sharing with them your faith in a way that doesn't sugarcoat the gospel, that doesn't turn Jesus into a long-haired, wimpy, girly boy... you are doing NOTHING to further the kingdom of the Lord.

 I recently watched a video by a popular pastor, in which he encouraged Christians to avoid words like "sin" and "repent" in connection with Jesus.

I'm sorry, but without "sin", there is no forgiveness. Without repentance, we can not meet with Christ. 
The gospel of Christ, His truth is being lost in the murky water of modern-day Christianity. It is being perverted to something so much LESS than what it is.

What are we so afraid of?

"If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord's will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Savior, while they are wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel , insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness." - Charles Spurgeon

Jesus, I want a righteous anger. I want to be furious about things that are not of the Lord.
I want it to disgust me. I want it to repulse me. I want to be so angry that I do something about it. Lord, forgive me for being afraid to step on toes and afraid of losing friends. Your glory is more than enough for me and I should be willing to give up all of my dignity for it. I know that your gospel is offensive and I know that people will be turned away because of it- but Lord, I don't want to stand in front of you and say that the things I did on earth were not eternal because I never had the guts to share your name in connection with anything other than a wimpy man-god version of who YOU ARE. God, you are MIGHTY. You are HOLY. You are more powerful than I could ever imagine. Help me to stop creating an image of you that is simply a man. Help me to be bold and to have confidence in the cross, to know that the cross is bloody and disgusting and that if I am not sharing the offense of that, then I am not sharing You.




Things you should check out:
Mark Driscoll's "Death by Love"
Charles Spurgeon's "The Offense of the Cross" 

I may have gone all over the place.. but I'd like to hear your response.
I love you, my friends.
.janelle

7 comments:

Corey Hiscocks said...

Mark Driscoll needs to sit Joel Osteen down and tell him why he hates him so much.

With that out of the way, though, this really resonates with me. I recently spoke at my church back home about calling and our response. I talked a lot about Jonah, who gets a bad rep in sunday school because he runs away from God and then gets bitter when God spares the very people he pleaded to turn from their sin.

We're often so quick to come down on him. God spared those people, so why's Jonah crying?

The problem with that is this: Jonah knew who his God was. His prayer in chapter 2 is practically plagiarized from Psalms and in 4:2 (I think, don't quote me) he tells God he ran away because he knows he is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He knew His God and He loved Him. So why'd he leave?

Jonah was selfish with God's compassion, jealous of His love for ALL His children. And we're guilty of the same thing when we neglect to preach the Gospel. When we sit around with our Christian friends and refuse to enter into this world, to meet with God's children wherever they are, we say Christ died for us, for me alone. That's not right.

Imagine all of humanity in a pitch black cave. I would be offended if I was wandering around in the dark and the guides were so concerned with my comfort (in a place I don't want to be, no less) that they never told me they knew the way out.

Andrew said...

Something I was really convicted with while I was reading Shane Clairborne's "The Irresistable Revolution" and felt depressed that I had never been thrown in jail. Haha. It seems ridiculous, but it was a good reminder of the way we should be living our lives - with a no-holds-barred love and a sweeping desire to be used by God. I'm so glad that you've been feeling that too. Keep on pressing into Him and answer the call to whatever outlandish thing He would have you do! :) I love you, friend.

Christopher Krycho said...

Yes.

I've been thinking a lot in the last 24 hours about things related to this. There's such a strange tension, here: on the one hand, I dare not hesitate to share the gospel; on the other, I am seeking how to be wise in the way I share it.

We must never operate out of fear or a misguided sense of what love is, and this is where we have fallen very, very short in modern Christianity. Love, like faith, requires corresponding action. When we miss that, we miss what love actually is.

Yet, I ponder, we must be careful that it is truly Christ and the gospel - and not you or me - that is the stumbling block. Christ is a stone of offense. I pray that I will be an offense only insofar as I more perfectly represent Christ, truly being wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove: blameless in the eyes of man even while boldly proclaiming the truth of God (as Peter wrote).

I love your heart, my sister!

Madison Kerner said...

Amen. I was just writing something on my blog along the same lines.

I'm with you all the way. I'm sick of people who sit in church week after week worshiping and bearing the name of Christ, but who leave and live lives of loose morality- claiming that they are just inoffensive Christians. You're 100% right- the cross IS offensive, it won't fit into what this world wants it to be.

If living as Jesus lived, following his commandments, and loving everyone (even the conservatives) offends the loose and liberal "christians," then so be it.

Yes, IHOP date very soon...!

Love said...

Ok so let me roll a little bit, it comes with being a philosophy student ;)

I find myself dealing with the situation that comes to every christian who is attempting to be serious about their relationship.
Jesus said something very interesting to his disciples.

Luke 10
Jesus Sends Out the Seventytwo
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' 10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Here is what I see here. Jesus tells his disciples to go and demonstrate his power and then to announce that the Kingdom of God is near. Now there is no length of time for how long to demonstrate the power of Christ but rather to do it and when people ask what is going on to tell them, "This is the resurrection and the power of Christ."

What I have come to is if I am transparent with other people. If I am brutally honest about myself to them, then they will see the power of Christ and ask, "What is it about you? Why do you do the things you do? Why do you such joy and passion?" Then I joyously proclaim the power that works in me. Some accept, most respect and others turn with hard hearts and no longer accept the demonstration they have seen.

Janelle I know the short film you are refering to. What he said doesn't bother me, of course I always interpret a lot of what that person says to say what I want him to say, but whatever. For me personally the difficulty is not being ashamed to talk of my own filth and how God has healed me and not talking about God.

However I do not blatantly want or desire to offend someone because of the cause of Christ. Yes some people will be offended, because their hearts are hard towards Him and His people, but I do not want to be the conduit for someone's heart being hardened because I speak when I should demonstrate.

Great blog.

Janelle said...

Well, David, I never intended it to say that we should intentionally go out there with brash attitudes and offend people for the sake of the gospel. I simply mean that in sharing the gospel boldly, some will be offended. We can't cower away from sharing the gospel- all of it: the AMAZING, the disgusting, the BEAUTIFUL, the challenging gospel- because of our fear of turning someone away. We can present the gospel in a loving way. And by "can", I mean "should", haha- but just because you love on someone, it doesn't mean you shy away from the scary and potentially offensive truths of the gospel of Christ.

Love said...

Totally agree.