Believing in Jesus or Believing what Jesus Believed in
I have spent the last 28 years of my life as a servant of the Church in some form. From my childhood in a tight Pentecostal community until my globally-experienced church life my hearts primary concern is for the health of the churches and believers I know. I have often evaluated what I see and hear among us and have tried my best to diagnose the nature of the diseases that plague the modern church.
I think one of the key issues we have to untangle is the definition of what it means to be “one of us,” a member of the church, our full brother or sister in the Body of Christ. Now ultimately, only God knows whose heart is truly his, but we need to think carefully about the gospel we preach to make sure it lines up with the gospel Jesus preached.
In the industrial era we built factories to make our products and that factory mindset began to affect other areas of our world. Public schools were built around the Ford plant model (thus the long central hallways, etc.). We also applied factory thinking to the conversion process and developed “the sinners prayer” and the altar call as the door of entry to the church. It was quick, easy and we could get a lot of people moved processed in ten minutes (or so we thought). Just “believe in Jesus” and say this prayer and the organ music will play. The problem is that Jesus never did this. Nor did any of his disciples. We don’t see it anywhere in the early church or in the first 1700 years of church history.
Here’s the real question. Do you believe in Jesus or Do you believe what Jesus believed in? See the difference? Jesus had firm beliefs about the use of power, what we are to do with money and position, our social norms, the treatment of disadvantaged people, what true worship is all about, how close believers are to be with each other, private property, church and state, human relationships, marriage, etc., etc.
We are called to become disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord. A disciple studies everything about his master. He memorizes his every word. He follows the details of his lifestyle and disciplines his own heart until he loves what his master loves and hates what his master hates. His goal is to become a perfect copy of his master in his own generation. If we will all do this, we will have a church that is worth the effort.