Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I'm currently involved in friendships with three other men who are not followers of Jesus. They all believe that they would never be welcomed into any church...that may not be true, but they would not be welcome in many churches. Two have a great deal of church experience which have solidified this belief. One was forced to go to church with his grandmother, the church was independent Baptist and VERY legalistic. He has tattoos and several body piercings that the people at this church told him they either had to be removed or covered with clothing…ah, religion. Yes, cover up who you really are…that way you can look like us…fake.

The other was brought up Catholic. He tells me all the time that he was WAY too religious growing up. His conclusion about religion is this, if you sincerely follow and live out religion, it leads to death. I agree completely, I keep telling him that religion kills people, especially in churches…heck, it killed Jesus. It was also his biggest obstacle to announcing the in-breaking of the kingdom into this world. This response has led to some great conversations. Not about church or sin or repentance, but about Jesus. Who He is, and perhaps more importantly for these two, who he is not. For each of them, they have mistakenly associated Jesus with the religious people and organizations they were exposed to.

The other day I was going to lunch with my ex-catholic friend when we started talking about Jesus. This doesn’t happen often by the way, but every once in a while God interrupts our conversations about life and whatnot to give an opportunity to interject some kingdom truths. As we talked I turned to my buddy and said to him, “You know what I like about you? You don’t have a problem with God, you just hate religion…I think God feels much the same way.” That sparked a really good conversation.

This is something I have found that I like about many “non-church goers”; they really don’t have an issue with God. They just have seen enough religion to know that it’s not the answer…I’ve seen that too. I wonder how accountable the church is for the gross misunderstanding and misrepresentation of who Jesus is.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Building Bridges Pt.2

I was listening to a Christian radio talk show Thursday afternoon. I can't remember who the host was or who their guest was, but the topic was the evil of Islam. Apparently the guest was an author who has written about all of the verses in the Qur'an that talk about killing Infidels, imposing Sharia law, etc. I'm trying to figure out how the body of Christ is served by writing a book of this does this inspire followers of Jesus to reach out to a people that are obviously in need of the truth? One of the greatest deceptions of this modern age against the expansion of the Kingdom of God is that Muslims are an unreachable people. What does believing that lie say about our understanding of who God is?

To be sure, the Qur'an is not to be viewed as equal to the's NOT! However, there are many parallels in the Qur'an to the Bible. And we have to keep in mind, followers of Jesus and Muslims share some of the same ancestry. Abraham is the common thread...these are not people who started off worshiping molech or baal, they were worshipers of the one true God. Rather than spreading fear among followers of Jesus who, by the way, posess the true plan of God for salvation, shouldn't we be equipping ourselves and one another with the truth to set these people free from the deception of a dead religion? Some might say that they are terrorists. Keep in mind that before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul was a Hebrew terrorist. He persecuted the church...and God saved him and used him to write most of the New Testament. Prior to his conversion, the church was afraid of him.

Is the church actually waiting for Muslims to just wake up one day and say, "Wow, we're mistaken! Jesus IS the answer!" on their own? It could happen by divine intervention for sure...but I think God is calling His Church to step up and start bridging the gap between followers of Jesus and Muslims. We cannot expect people who are lost to be the ones who bring peace and unity. It must be the Church of Jesus Christ that takes the initiative.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Denominational damage

I sometimes visit a hunting forum to talk about hunting and outdoor activities with other outdoorsy types. On the forum there is a place designated to discussions and debates of spiritual topics. One thing I like about this forum is the wide variety of denominational and spiritual points of view that are brought to the table.

Earlier this week one of the members of this forum posted a question about the scriptures and whether they were complete and how the Bible came to be as it is today. As we talked about this he was repeatedly attacked by otherwise well meaning Christians as an unbeliever who "would one day find out how wrong he is..." Yes, the hell card. The nuclear weapon of the evangelical church.

I asked him if, in his opinion, we had enough of the scriptures to know about God and His plan for us. Here is his answer-
"I don't know. When I see all the division among the different sects or faiths within the Christian ''families'',it gives me cause to try to find answers. The easiest answer so far has come from looking at the origins of the bible itself. I have not read the deleted books and have only skimmed the apocrypha. Could there be some thing there to unify or clear up the differences ? Again I don't know. And won't until I do the research. For me there is enough in the English bibles for me to make the decision to look else where for my spiritual needs. I would think that Christians would want to know, or have done the research to be able to say '''Such and such a book was deleted because...XYZ.'' But instead most either claim that the bible has held forth for thousands and thousands of years, or attack the person asking , or say What I have
is enough for me.
At best some are condescending and at worst ,just plain ignorant.

What piqued my interest was the fact that this man who is searching for truth in scripture has observed the following, "When I see all the division among the different sects or faiths within the Christian ''families'',it gives me cause to try to find answers. The easiest answer so far has come from looking at the origins of the bible itself. I have not read the deleted books and have only skimmed the apocrypha. Could there be some thing there to unify or clear up the differences?"

My question is, is this how the bride of Christ is supposed to look? Divided? And over what, how we take communion? music styles? teaching styles? how we baptise...sprinkle? dunk? One thing is certain, at least in the eyes of this man, he may not know if the bible is complete or missing certain intended books...but he does know that what he does see in the church is NOT enough to make him satisfied that the Bible is a complete source of truth.

Is this short coming a product of the American church? I'm not sure. In Islam we see the same kinds of divisions. Sunni's, Ahmadiyya, Shi'ite's and Sufism are basically denominations of Islam...and Muslims are killing each other over their differences. When it comes to Muslims it's easy for the Christian to draw the conclusion that these people are just crazy radicals. And it's true that Christians aren't killing one another over denominational differences, but I do see our faith and the word of God cheapened by our petty disagreements.

How did we get here and what do we as followers of Christ do to restore unity in the body of Christ?