I just donít get it. I really donít. How has the church so easily been led away from her roots? Modern Christianity bears almost no resemblance to the powerful 1st century New Testament church that radicalized the world. Jesus turned the world upside down with 12 committed Average Joes. Jesus Christ spawned a revolution that is still reverberating around the world today.
Except in America. No, American Christians, for the most part, are worshipping another Jesus, a counterfeit one. We think He resembles Mr. Rogers, the friendly, its-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood kind of Jesus. Paul warned us of this:
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Pardon my rudeness, but they didnít crucify the Lord because He was so nice. They crucified Him because He spoke such Truth. Sometimes the Truth doesnít sound very nice.
And there is the rub. Which Jesus do you worship? When you think of Jesus, do you see Mr. Rogers, or Braveheart? Better yet, which Jesus did the 12 disciples serve? Which Jesus inspired them to follow Him to their own deaths?
A decade ago I had the opportunity to attend a prison Palm Sunday service where Chuck Colson was speaking and he shared something that changed my perspective on Christ. Colson, one of the insiders in the Nixon administrationís Watergate cover-up said that Watergate taught him the Truth of the Gospel. According to Colson, a handful of powerful men in the White House could not stick together to keep a lie secret. Try as they might, in a matter of days after the news broke, the Nixonians in the White House were all scrambling to save their own hides.
The 12 followers of Jesus, on the other hand, facing violent opposition, never recanted their story. ďHe is risen, and He is Lord.Ē It cost them their lives. Colson explained that in the face of persecution men will not die for a lie. They will only die for Truth.
The Gospel is true. Iím persuaded of that. Like many others, I am committed to it, willing to die for it, proud to suffer shame because of it. Read Hebrews 11: 32-40 to get a full grasp of the commitment of our Christian forefathers. The man-pleasing church of today, bears no resemblance to the martyr-laced church upon whose shoulders most Christians joyfully dance today.
This point was crystallized to me recently. As a pseudo-evangelist I get the opportunity to visit many different churches and always find that there is a smorgasbord of worship styles in America. All claim to love and serve Jesus, but sometimes I wonder--which Jesus?
Just this past week, in a modern, pyro-media, high-tech, yuppie church, I was treated to a worship service where Jesus was clearly the focus of the praise and worship. As I looked around at the casually dressed forty-somethings, with their hands raised and tears streaming down their cheeks, I was convinced that they really did love their Lord. Iím just wasnít sure which Lord they loved. I was especially struck by one worship song that they sang over and over, arms raised, heads bowedÖ.
Wow, I thought. Do they really want to see Him? Do they really understand what they are asking? Donít they know the story of Isaiah 6, where the angels covered their eyes and couldnít even look upon the Lord? Where Isaiah fell to his knees, convicted in the presence of a Holy God?
Isaiah 6:5 Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Christ brings conviction. Are those tear-filled eyes really prepared to see Him? What would it be like to stare Holiness in the eyes?
This scene reminded me of an oldĖcountry church I had been in the week before. No drums, no horns, no guitars, and no powerpoint presentation. These folks also loved the Lord, but there was a fear, a reverence, a respect for God. Their hymns werenít as presumptuous. They werenít expecting a cup of coffee with the Big Boy, if you know what I mean. They concluded my presentation with a song that burned into my soul. Read the words, meditate on them:
A friend of mine told me that everyone wants to follow Jesus until they find out where He is going. Heís going to a cross, and Heís asking you to take up yours as well.
When the real trouble hits, and believe me it is coming, which church do you think is going to be most prepared?
Rev 19:11-12 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
So you want to see Jesus, huh?
© 2006 Dave Daubenmire
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
American Christians, for the most part, are worshipping another Jesus, a counterfeit one. We think He resembles Mr. Rogers, the friendly, its-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood kind of Jesus.