Ah yes, the beauty of diverse opinions in the body of Christ. It seems everyone, these days, is an expert on what is wrong with the church, or more specifically in my milieu, the American church. I have joined the chorus myself with several entries in this blog about my concerns. Sometimes it is hard to separate legitimate concerns where we play the proper role of the prophet calling the church back to its purpose, and personal preferences where we are calling the church to be more to our liking. Of course, I consider myself totally in the prophet category. How about you?
A recent rash of articles and responses in this regard highlights millenials leaving the church and what is behind their dissatisfaction. And as usual, everyone has an opinion. I understand young people’s hesitancy to embrace the church of my generation. Looking back it is easy to see some confusion we have caused between the gospel message and our political activism, our pursuit of the American dream, and our rigid legalism. But before we fling the pendulum, as we are all wont to do, too far the other direction into liberal politics, acceptance of all lifestyles, and living simply, let’s stop for a minute and let the Bible speak for itself.
When speaking for itself, I believe the New Testament is unequivocal on two points that affect what the church of the next generation embraces. First, Jesus is the only way to heaven, no ifs, ands, or buts. Second, a sinful lifestyle is not compatible with being a believer, a child of God. Again, the Bible is unequivocal in its presentation of these points.
Now if we are going to accept what the Bible says for itself, we must trust that its words are true. We must be committed to truth. We must believe that the Bible, as we know it, is communicating God’s truth. So this is where we are going to start. Next post we will investigate the reliability of the New Testament. Then we will move on to what the Bible has to say about our two propositions: Jesus is the only way to heaven and a sinful lifestyle is not compatible with being a believer. I hope you can join us and your faith is encouraged along the way.