The Christian church is supposed to be a vehicle for salvation…and a teaching platform to set people free to go out into their own God-composed journeys of faith…not to capture a congregation and keep Christians bound up in church bureaucracy and churchianity.
A journey of faith takes precedence over a Christian meeting called church.
The goal is to connect people with Jesus Christ so He can take it from there and lead people into their Christian lives and callings. The social fellowship aspect of church services and gatherings is important…but secondary to our relationship to Jesus Christ.
This is a fundamentally radical difference from the contemporary church growth program…which however commendable is its original intention of attracting the unchurched…often produces a compromised message from the pulpit that homogenizes out the cost factor of the cross of Christ in our discipleship.
The gap…the space…the spread that has been described in this book of short essays regarding the divine element of a God-composed adventure of faith…that displaces some or all of worldly conventional normalcy to make room for God’s higher ways and thoughts in our lives…as seen in the lives of the people of faith in the Bible starting with Abraham…is a heart and mind issue of the deepest nature requiring genuine repentance and the commitment by the Christian convert to accept radical and reforming change in their lives.
This cost element is an important part of the salt of Christianity. This is the real and tangible hope that God can lift us out of sin and clean us up through the blood of Christ…into a new and living way.
The gap…between where we are and where we need to get to…which only God can imaginatively create and insert into the intricate circumstances of a journey of faith…is what leads to the discovery of the “deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:6-12)…which cannot be accessed through worldly conventional thinking and living alone.
If we dumb-down this message to suit the unchurched…are we in danger of changing Christianity into something it is not? Does our church capture people to cover the large mortgage payment…or does it set people free to follow Jesus through the message of the cross and a liberated journey of faith in the hands of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?
Biblical faith transcends above church. The genuine Christian experience is what elevates a church into a vibrant group of believers…lifting up Jesus Christ and supporting one another…in an incredible mix of newcomers and mature saints from every economic strata and every ethnic group…no matter what is the numeric size of the congregation.
Where the church meets and how it handles its finances must be a part of the journey of faith. If this is handled within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking then it will have all the accompanying foibles in human nature of empire building and pride. If this is handled in the zone of a God-composed adventure of faith…then the church itself will have its own unique testimony as to its origin and continued maintenance.
This is a critical juncture in end-time Christian living. If we object to the cost of having to place on the altar of sacrifice some portion of worldly conventional normalcy…as a result of the tight constraints of our journey of faith…in the narrow gate of Mathew 7:13-14 where parts of worldly conventional thinking does not fit or is against purity or righteousness…al we have to do is look at the life-script of Jesus the Son of God.
Jesus is as salty as orthodox Christianity can be. Jesus did not come here to be served and waited upon…but to serve and be a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Being perfectly salty led to a deadly clash with worldly conventional normalcy, and to the cross on Calvary Hill. The “gap” for the perfect Son of God Jesus was to be the Lamb of God salvation for the redemption of the world. This is the heart of Christianity…to follow Jesus and let Him minister through us His saving grace to a lost world.
Building up our egos, reputations, and pride through mega-church empires is going in the wrong direction. The church of believers is supposed to be what we are building up…by setting people free from the bondage of sin through the message of the gospel…into a journey of faith taking up our cross to follow Jesus.
This is what biblical faith and the narrative stories of faith in the Bible are telling us…in time to prepare Christians for the last-days challenges loaming ahead.