In my earlier post, The Arrogance of the Radical Christian, I pointed out the problem of those who call for “radical” and “sold out” Christianity. Under their presuppositions, all those great men of the past who have stood for the faith, subscribed to their views on what it means to be “radical.” In other words, they view men like John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon from their lens of self-centered Christianity thinking that John and Charles just decided one day to stand up and become radical for Jesus, and this is what made them great. Never mind the fact that it is God who calls men to positions that we would label as “great.” Never mind that God equips such men for greatness through the sufferings of the cross. Never mind that it is God’s Spirit working in a person that allows them to do great things for God. This movement is just another manifestation of Arminianism that so plagues the church. If we are small or great for Jesus, it is by His Spirit and grace that we are so, not our own fleshly desires.
I really appreciate Pastor Peter Jones entitled How Ephesians Killed My “Radical” Christianity. He is showing through the book of Ephesians all that has taken place in our lives in becoming Christians, therefore we don’t need calls to become radical in our Christianity or ministries to others. Jones starts by giving a definition for “radical.”
Definitions matter. So before proceeding I wanted to define the term “radical.” By “radical,” I mean that strain of Christian thinking that says living a normal Christian life, getting married, having children, raising them in Christ, loving your spouse, being faithful at your job, attending worship, reading your Bible, praying, loving the saints, and then dying is not enough. It is that strain of Christianity that says, “There must be something more that I must do to be a good Christian.” The radical thinks and preaches that, “Good Christians do amazing things for Jesus.” This type of thinking is found in all branches of Christianity. There are mission weeks, revival meetings, monks who abandon all, elusive second blessings, pilgrimages to Rome, women who leave marriage and children far behind, men who leave jobs to enter the ministry, young men who believe that memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism is a means of grace, preachers who imply that Word and Sacraments are not enough, and conference speakers who demand that we pray more and more. The halls of faith echo with phrases like: Be radical. Give it all up for Jesus. Sacrifice everything.
In my 25 years as a believer, I’ve seen many manifestations of these radical Christians. They fall into every camp of Christianity that there is and spread the idea that we all need to be doing “great” things for Jesus.
I think there is a better verse than John 3:16 to use in our current culture to show the lost person their need for salvation in Christ. In fact, I think we should quit using John 3:16 all together. Far too many take it to mean, “of course God loves me, I’m just so darn special, how could He not love me?”
In biblical times, especially in Christ’s day, when there was something worth celebrating, those throwing the party brought on the fatted calf. This was the one that was fed the extra food so that it would taste better and provide more meat. Over the past 50 years in our country, the fatted calf has become a thing of the past.
I commented to Heath concerning his article: Pray Without Ceasing, that I always have trouble finishing articles and books about prayer because instead of reading them, I end up praying instead.
Heath thought that was a good problem to have.
For instance, when I read John Calvin’s Institutes, it took me months to finish his section on prayer. By the way, if you have never read his Institutes, you need to, especially the section on prayer. Not only will you see Calvin’s great pastoral heart towards his flock, but also it will drive you to your knees in prayer to our wonderful God.
I have only watched this about five times because I find it so funny and cute. Please watch it and enjoy this great success of this three year old.
The Piano Guys and my latest favorite from them. I really learned about The Mission from a Yo-Yo Ma album on songs by Ennio Morricone. You would know him best for writing The Mission, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and other great movies.
I’m glad The Piano Guys have picked up this one.
It’s becoming obvious that if you want an up-to-date movie review, Timothy Matters is not the place be. I rarely go to movies when they first hit the big screen because of the expense. Yes, I do go to the matinees when I go, but I also insist on popcorn, candy and a drink so I can enjoy the full-movie experience.
It’s much cheaper to go through Netflix to watch all the latest movies. This week, I’ve watched Argo and Lawless. Both were exceedingly well done and had me on the edge of my couch. Actually, that’s not true. During Argo, I jumped up several times to pace back and forth, so technically I wasn’t on the edge of my seat.