It’s no secret that modern Christianity seems weak and fragmented. But this kind of breakdown in the Church of Jesus Christ doesn’t happen overnight. When we understand the factors that lead to an unraveling of strong Christianity, we are far less likely to allow it to happen in our own lives, and in the Church at large. In today’s video I share about building our Christianity around Jesus and Him crucified and setting Him as our North Star, as well as what happens to the Church when we do.
Oftentimes, you’ll see a breakdown in Christianity from one of two factors. If you were to liken the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the well-orbed understanding of Christianity — the well-orbed function of Christianity — to let’s say a recipe for a loaf of bread, there are certain ingredients that make it work. So when you remove an ingredient, say you remove salt, the product itself is not bad. It’s not going to be dangerous or harmful. It’s just not going to be as powerful as it was intended to be. So that’s one thing that can lead to a breakdown. The other is the additive or an additional ingredient. For example, if you lose salt and put in cyanide instead. You can have one of two things taking place as a result. Today we have some very unique dynamics in the Church of Jesus Christ, because in some regards, we have absentee Scriptures or absentee ideas.
For instance, in the conservative side of Christianity we have a heightened focus on solid, sound doctrine. Wonderful. However, it’s interesting, that the same crowd that emphasizes solid doctrine, oftentimes misses the behavioral practice of Christianity. Imagine you are on the lookout for doctrinal heresy but you miss out, and the same person who has an eye for doctrinal heresy can be lacking kindness, mercy, patience, and love. That doesn’t make any sense. The greater crime is actually behavioral heresy, but you can miss it because of your overemphasis in one area.
In other words, doctrinal accuracy is very important, but not to the exclusion of other key elements in what we call “the recipe.” I oftentimes will liken the reasoning of Christianity to the order of operations that we learn in algebra. There’s just a proper way if you approach a problem and then there’s a proper way of doing it.
You start with exponents or parentheses (I don’t remember which one). Then you have multiplication, division, addition, subtraction. If you go in the wrong order for any of those, you’re going to get the answer wrong, which is interesting. The same is true in Christianity. When you start with love, you start with Christ and Him crucified. You start with the center of the center and then you move through. We oftentimes replace that with the wrong thing, like social justice is a big thing nowadays on the other end of the spectrum. Where some reason, “Well, I just don’t feel like God would ever say that about a homosexual. I just don’t feel like hell can be real. God wouldn’t do that.”
It’s like they’re reasoning incorrectly, and they’re actually unwittingly demeaning the Cross of Jesus Christ. You want an empty hell, it’s not going to be found any other way but through the Cross. The Cross is how hell is emptied. Not because you’re going to presume God’s nature is different than what He reveals in His Word. So one takes the Scriptures so tightly that they miss the behavior of Scripture that is enunciated in it. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Don’t miss that, while trying to handle the rest of the Scriptures. The One who carried along the Scriptures is the One that’s going to reveal it and work it out in your life, with that nature.
Then the opposite side is when you don’t take the Word of God seriously enough, and you begin to allow your emotions to rule. All of these are factors are breaking down the Church from both sides. If we could gain the proper balance of Jesus and Him crucified, set Him as our North Star, fix our compasses to that and say, “This is all about Jesus,” and we trust His Word. We want Him to work in us and through us with love as our chief characteristic. Now, you’re going to change the world! You’re going to care for the orphans. You’re going to care for the widows and you’re going to care for the integrity of doctrine, and we’ll balance these things out as opposed to finding ourselves skewed one way or the other.
If you’d like to take these truths deeper, join us here at Ellerslie for one of our upcoming discipleship programs.