SanctiFusion

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The “Christian Minority”

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In Western society the Church is in the minority. In even the “Bible Belt” only a minority of the population is actually in church on a given Sunday, or is even nominally active in a church. This much is known and noticed. Yet there is enough of a minority that it should have a significant influence- far more than it does, especially in terms of real evangelism. What is the problem?

In actual fact, the “active” Church is far smaller than what is recognised. We start with recognising that 80% of the work, as in any organisation, is done by 20% of the membership, but then let’s look at that membership.

In any given church today, between 55% and 80% or more of the congregation is women. Church traditions vary from one group to another, but it is safe to say that of the roles most directly linked to the ministry of the church, most of them are closed to women’s participation. Without getting close to approaching the Women’s Ordination question, we do well to ask of the Lord had the same policies when He chose women to announce His Resurrection to the men and defended a woman’s right to sit at His feet to learn theology. There were men and women receiving the Spirit in the Upper Room, Philip’s four daughters preached (one may preach (proclaim) without prophesying, but prophesy without preaching?), and it was not uncommon for Paul to recognise female “co-labourers” in his epistles.

Due to factors better discussed elsewhere, the Church has over a 60% divorce rate to a 50% rate outside. In many churches, divorce is seen as a permanent disqualification for service in the Church, except maybe something behind the scenes like knitting or taking a turn cooking for the men’s breakfast. This, of course, is seldom a problem since once a person does divorce they generally become an unwelcome stranger to their best friends, and are gone within a month. This is a majority of the Church’s adults, lost to their churches. Very often, these are people who have risked all they had to save their marriages, and possibly survived the break-up only at the very highest cost, only to see their best friends all to ready to believe any bad thing heard or imagined against them. Not only does this cost the churches some good people, but the ones who stay are poisoned by the violence they have done to their hurting brothers and sisters.

So, then, before examining the increasing marginalisation of seniors and the all-too common practice of giving the “prominent” members full reign in church matters, and before bemoaning that the noble 20% are carrying the load, we have already reduced the number eligible for much else but parking cars down to 20%. If only 20% are allowed to serve, and the 80/20 rule applies, that means that the churches are presuming to carry on with the talents not of 20%, but of closer to 4% at best. And that 4% can’t even claim any great dedication, since they’ve reduced themselves to such an “elite” group by running off all those who wish they could serve. Now if we take that 4%, and divide out the ones holding to an authentic Christian faith in the face of so many innovations, and find what part of that group is not affected by a sense of prejudice and elitism in their having “attained” that status, we might be close to identifying the actual, living, Church.

Faithful Reader, if you’ve read this far, please take this as it is intended: Not to build a spiral of ill-feelings, but to encourage, exhort, beg everyone to examine ourselves in light of the revealed truth and love of God, and apply ourselves to be “part of the solution,” regardless the cost. The Gospel went out to the known world, at first, with no more than what meets at your church on a Sunday. That was with all the technology of a scribe’s brushes and the back of a strong mule. Once the Christians are right with God, once we’ve turned from our own prides and prejudices, and been transformed and anointed for the work we can finish the job, but not before. The time to repent, to learn, and to act is now.

Written by Robert Easter

Saturday, 26 September, 2009 at 21:21

"Only Believe!" Or, not. . .

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“Believing is more important than what we believe.” It’s strange that nothing seen allows such an approach, yet we like to think that the Unseen is the same as the Imaginary. A child once thought that everything was just as it appeared. A box, with knobs and dials in the right placement, would play music. Another box, with the right markings, would tell the time. What he did not see made all the difference, didn’t it? An unknown belief or attitude in one’s fiance can make a world of difference in one’s life over the years, and a charge on a small bit of wire can change one’s whole outlook on life in an instant. When it comes to faith, it is just the same, only more so. In Romans we read that, “the gospel of Christ is the power of God for salvation.” Now, if one’s doctor says, “The instructions on this medicine bottle are crucial for your recovery,” how wise is it to leave that bottle on the shelf, or apply the medicine according to mood, opinion, or hearsay? Is merely possessing the medicine enough to restore health? If we will take the doctor’s advice on earthly matters so seriously, when the best he could do was allow us a few moments to this life, what of a message, that is proven by the life and resurrection of the Son of God, that promises us eternal life? What, exactly, is that message? Is there anything in this world more important than finding out? Rather than leave this hanging on such a precipice, we do have some definite signposts to follow. Please stay tuned for some crucial particulars!

Written by Robert Easter

Tuesday, 19 August, 2008 at 21:38

Aborting our Souls?

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The Wall Street Journal today, in a story about an upcoming report on the effects of the abortion trauma on the mothers involved, quotes one clinic director, Susan Hill, who runs clinics in five southern states, as saying that, “‘..women today need less counseling, less psychological care than they did in 1973,’ when abortion was legalized but still carried an enormous stigma.” We might speculate that this is in line with the overall loss of sensitivity for human life, generally. Over the last thirty or so years we seen a shift from a time when the film, Bonnie and Clyde

(From Warner Brothers, no less- What’s up, Doc?) stirred such controversy over its gory scenes. Now Hitchcock’s style of suspense stories has been replaced by “splatter films,” and pop music now features brutal rape and murder in place of undying love and devotion.

Ms. Hill, who has been in the business of “providing abortions” for thirty five years, said she, “has tried offering postprocedure counseling sessions — but very few women show up.” In her words, “They want to get past it and move on with their lives.” Overlooking the possibility of all kinds of motives for not returning to the “clinic” to walk through that trauma all over again, it might be good to consider the real effects on all the people in this picture. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008 at 15:32

Western Myth Number Five: That Jesus was "a great teacher."

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“Jesus was a great teacher.” The ultimate subject of all of Holy Scripture is Christ, and what He said and did doesn’t allow us that option. (We can debate whether Mohamed was a “great teacher” based on his teachings and his life. It’s not hard for most people to see that loving others on the same level as ourselves is a more godly approach than waging war on civilians in the name of one’s religion, but that seems to be changing.) C.S. Lewis said that Jesus does not give us the option of saying that He was a good moral teacher. A moral man would not make the claims that Christ made, of being in the Godhead before the days of Abraham, of having the power to forgive sins against God, or of having the power to die, and rise again, of His own will. Such claims would have to come from a liar, or a lunatic. A liar, though, would surely have changed his story when facing torture and death, and a lunatic could not have backed up his claims with such miracles (Remember, His miracles were so widely recognised by friend and foe alike that for the first several centuries afterward it wasn’t His divinity, but His humanity that was hard for people to comprehend!) “Which is easier,” He asked, “To say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?'” At His word, the paralytic rolled up his mat and went home. The only option left us is that He truly is the Lord of Creation, and of life. How does that affect your life?

Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 6 August, 2008 at 17:38

What Gospel?

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Today we see a vast spread of what we call Christianity. Churches are springing up worldwide, largely influenced by the glut of “Good Christian Teaching” from the US. The problem, though, is seen in looking at the state of affairs in the US Church. Substance abuse, teen pregnancy, STDs and marriage breakdowns match if not outstrip the “sinners” who never darken a church door. The “Hardshell Baptist” has become a standard, and a bye-word, for American religion in general: Quick enough to state a position, but completely unable to give a reason for it which reflects in a godly life. The shell is there, and in good repair, but the yolk has been sucked out years ago, leaving what looks like a healthy egg, but neither food nor life inside.

Severe words? Yes indeed. Un-called-for? Then why do we have cities in the middle of the “Bible Belt” where churches outnumber filling stations, nearly 90% of the people report being “born again,” and the biggest two industries seem to be illegal drugs and prostitution? Why does the head of the Evangelical Alliance have to resign because of a queer sex scandal, the biggest “evangelists” on the media circle the wagons when asked about their finances, and one of their number pack a sports stadium while refusing to confess Christ as Savior on national television? Ranting? Yes. Called-for? What do you think? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Sunday, 3 August, 2008 at 18:02

Western Mythology, Part Three: An Omniscient "Science"

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Oh, and here’s one: That the Bible is true in as far as it can be scientifically proven. As long as there has been “science,” the Bible has served as its guide. Sure, there will be instant reaction here, about Galileo and Copernicus, but the religious establishment was complaining, not about any contradiction with Scripture, but against Aristotle and Archimedes! Remember, this was a time when church scholars were debating things like whether women have souls, or, reportedly, how many angels can dance on a pin head! Church position depended on social rank, and classical Greek “science” was the latest fad in the universities. The discovery of ocean “paths” that sped the sailing ships to new worlds came from hearing a Psalms reading, and when Western man “discovered” that the world is, in fact, round, it was a reading from Isaiah 40 that started the ball rolling. On the other hand, if we start off reading the Bible with “scientific” limits to what we are willing to accept, then we’ve already lost before we’ve started, haven’t we? At that point the basic science of logic has been overlooked: John Wesley offered this explanation: The Bible is either the work of good men and angels, bad men and devils, or it is from God. If the first, then why would the good make such claims about miracles, about God becoming Man, or about the Resurrection? Clearly, the Bible is not the work of good men, or angels! Could it then be the work of bad men, or even of devils?

Why would the evil ones go to the trouble of creating such a work that condemns their own activities? Clearly, again, it does not come from an evil source. The only choice left to us is that it comes from God, and if God has gone to such lengths to communicate with us, then that message might just be important enough to command our full attention.

Written by Robert Easter

Sunday, 27 July, 2008 at 21:37

Why don’t we make disciples?

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1. Our world view is all wrong. “Be holy as I am holy” is not a core conviction.

2. We prefer the things that are “more exciting” – like worship, harvesting tithes, building buildings, getting on the latest trendy movement of evangelicalism.

3. Not intentional enough. We think Sunday school or the regular programming dynamic of the local church will do the trick to transform lives.

4. We read the gospels for many reasons but not to find the methodology of Jesus for changing the world.

5. Hard to brag about discipleship in the statistics manual of district conference.

6. It is hard work.

7. We were not discipled therefore we don’t have a clue what is meant by discipleship or how to do it.

8. American society is a time stealer, and discipleship, alas, takes time.

Borrowed from Evangelism Today!

Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 4 June, 2008 at 14:27

Posted in eternity