Tag Archives: Bible

Don’t Stop. Keep Walking! (the full version)

barbedwire

A few excerpts from the Bible:

Genesis 6:9 Noah walked with God.
Genesis 5:22 Enoch walked with God.
Genesis 17:1 the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me.”
Micah 6:8 And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Malachi 2:6 He [Levi] walked with Me in peace and uprightness.

One thing is clear: God sure does a lot of walking.

In the modern church, we look to the Scriptures to find God. We see how the early Christians lived, and what they believed, and we know that God was with them. Then we reason that we should do exactly the same thing. If God changes not, then he will be with us just like he was with the early church, if we only do the same things. But we overlook one thing: God is walking.

The light rises in the east and sets in the west. It never stays still. But if we walk with the light (if we could walk that fast) then we could stay in the light forever. If we instead mark out our spot and say “This spot is full of light. I will stay here forever” then we quickly find ourselves in darkness.

This is where the Church is today. We have marked out our spot of Light, which we call the Bible, and we cling to it like an anchor. We are completely ignoring the fact that when we stop, God is still walking.

In all of Biblical history, there was never a period greater than 400 years without a prophet on the earth. Doesn’t it seem odd that it’s been 2000 years without a prophet? I thought God didn’t change? Or could it be that we don’t recognize his prophets?

We have believed a lie. We have been taught that nothing may be added to or taken away from the Bible. This belief is rooted in the final words of the book of Revelations, chapter 22.

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

To which book was John the Revelator referring? Consider that the Bible was not compiled until a few hundred years after John’s death. Therefore it could not have been about adding to the Bible. He was instead talking about not adding to or taking away from his prophecies in the book of Revelations. It was not a proscription against any writings from God’s future prophets.

So if we seek to walk with God, and hearken unto his voice, wouldn’t it be wise to listen to his prophets? We know some of them. Martin Luther. John Wesley. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Martin Luther King, Jr. Brennan Manning. There are many others. Still more have been lost to history, having been born before the invention of the printing press.

God is all around us, but he stops for no one. If we want to be with him, we must walk with him. We cannot drive our stake in the ground and declare that this is what we believe and we will never change. This is why the Church is in trouble today. We have stopped, and God has moved on, and the unbelievers can clearly see that God is not with us.

Let’s get walking!

Empty Churches ft. Pope Francis

stmarks

No, this isn’t a new hip-hop song, despite the catchy title. This is about why so many churches are withering away. But if anyone wants to use that for their band name, I expect royalties. 🙂

Anyone who bothers to look around can see the churches in America aren’t anywhere near as full as they used to be. We are becoming increasingly secular. We kick religion to the curb, either explicitly denying it, or simply ignoring it until it goes away. There are a great many theories on why this is the case. Some cite more access to entertainment. Stores are open 24/7 these days. Kids sports schedule games for Sunday now, creating scheduling conflicts with regular church attendance. There are a gazillion external reasons not to attend church.

But I think the main reason people gave up on Christianity is the Christians themselves. Too many of us have adopted a “my way or the highway” approach. “I can show you right *HERE* that God said it, and if you don’t believe it, you’re going to HELL!” Where is love in that approach? Where is the Jesus who reaches out to sinners, inviting them to walk with him? Where is the acknowledgement that *gasp* WE COULD BE MISTAKEN?

Pope Francis addressed this recently. Here is a short excerpt:

“When a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith. He is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought. For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge. The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements. The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people.’
But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new.”

The full article, with video, can be found here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/21/pope-francis-describes-ideological-christians-as-a-serious-illness-within-the-church/

What can we do to correct this issue? First, we must learn to see others as our brothers and sisters, no matter their theology or lack of it. Rich, poor, black, white, Republican, Democrat. We must get away from the “us and them” thinking that has created so many of our problems. Second, we need to pray for a spirit of humility rather than arrogance. It isn’t about us anyway. It’s about God. When we reflect His love, rather than our demands, we lift him up for all to see. Third, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us. We have the Bible, yes, but we need God to interpret it for us rather than man. In this way we will realize that yes, we have been wrong on some things, and we can quit turning away true seekers by insistence that our ways are absolute.