-by Andrew Strom
Despite the thousands in our megachurches today, soaking up the warm entertainment offered to them every week, I want to put it to you that we have lost Christianity. Despite the Christian books now found in every Walmart, and the “crossover” of Christian artists into the mainstream, and our Christian mega-stores and CD’s and DVD’s and Study-Bibles, I want to put it to you that we have lost Christianity.
Despite our lavish Cathedrals in the suburbs (‘Charismatic or not) with their pastel hues and comfortable pews, their projector screens and $30,000 sound systems, I want to put it to you that we have utterly lost Christianity.
We left it behind somewhere when we shifted our churches from the inner city into the “comfortable” suburbs. We left it behind when we stopped welcoming the bums off the street into our meetings and started welcoming only the “respectable” people. We left it behind when we stopped preaching “take up your cross” and turned the gospel into a success formula – ‘Seven Steps to your Best Life Now.’
Somewhere in our comfortable suburban streetscape with its manicured lawns we lost the real thing. Somehow in our concern for “property values” and a better ‘dental plan’ we left it behind. But that is not the worst part of it. The worst part is that we don’t know how to get it back again. Or perhaps we don’t really WANT to get it back again. The cost simply doesn’t bear thinking about, does it? And so, as we drive around in our nice shiny cars with our groovy plastic toys, and attend “church” as we know it twice a week for 2 hours;- As we live a life that is about as unlike Jesus as you can get, a life of comfort and coddling undreamt of by billions around the world;- a lifestyle in the top 10% of the earth today (-in debt up to our eyeballs all the while) – the fact is that we don’t really CARE that we have lost original Christianity, do we? We are too busy, man. Don’t bother us with that kind of talk.
It will all be OK, the preacher tells us. We will all make it to heaven in the end. We are all “decent” people here. We have “prayed the little prayer”. We have ‘given our heart to the Lord’.
Oh yes. We will all make it, won’t we? We are all good suburban church-going folks here.
But what is this? What is that thundering voice I hear? “DEPART FROM ME.” ‘But LORD… But LORD….’
“I said – ‘DEPART FROM ME’. Don’t call me Lord. You never truly lived like I was your Lord and you know it. For I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me….”
What is the essence of true Christianity that we have lost, my friends? It is simply described by James as follows- “Pure religion and undefiled is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (Ja 1:27). Amen.
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