Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jesus: Life and Death

Dallas Willard says:
"This 'heresy' has created the impression that it is quite reasonable to be a "vampire Christian." One in effect says to Jesus: "I'd like a little of your blood, please. But I don't care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won't you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I'll see you in heaven."

I think he's onto something. It seems to me that we act (and believe) that Jesus' death (and ressurection) were the only things that were really important (and could have happened at any time and any place without making a difference). Consequently we act as if His life was relatively unimportant (except for the fact that He never sinned) and it's just sort of a side bonus that He did a little teaching while he was biding His time until they killed Him.
Is it possible that we are propegating this fundemental misunderstanding by the way we "share the gospel" and evangelize? Is it possible that the way we "make more christians" produces people who are actually MORE self centered and cloak their supposed moral superiority by vainly attaching Jesus' name?

I was recently listening to Rob Bell at a critical concerns course from the YS Conference. Someone asked him how and when his church did an "alter call". First he said "Actually we got rid of our alter. We haven't done sacrifices for quite some time now." Then He said, "Actually, at our church we focus more on making disciples. We figure if we make alot of disciples, we're sure to get some converts along the way. On the other hand, many churches seem to have lots of conversions but produce virtually no disciples at all." Amen
P.S. Just in case you are curious, in addition to being an Enneagram 5, I just discovered I actually am Batman.

Which member of the JLA are you?


Losing his parents to a tragic mugging, Bruce Wayne took a vow to wage a one man war on crime. Using the image of the bat to strike fear into criminals, he dons the guise of the Dark Knight after the sun sets. A genius detective and scientist he is a valuable member to the League even without powers

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Tony said...

Right on. I agree that, for far too long churches have focused more on baptizing people as an end-result, rather than helping people model the life of their Savior. Discipleship is so much deeper a concept--it carries much more weight than simply dunking people. "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Fajita said...

Nice work. Churches are all too often a means by which people can acquire power by shortcut. Churches serve as a group of identification producing pride, a justification for arrogance draped in spiritual talk, and a place where pseudo-disciples are marked by their name on the membership role and little public services. A person "leading a prayer" publicly is not a bad thing, but when it is supposedly the mark of a true disciple, we mock the cross.

Believing in Jesus never made anyone's IQ increase, but we smartypants evangelicals sure act like it does.

Church can serve as new content, but not touch the process. For the unchurched, pride looks one way and for the churched it looks another way. Same sin; different language.

This confronts me because I am embedded within a church, a heritage, a movement, and so on that make it so easy for me to be all these things I just criticized. I am trying with all of my might to kill that stubborn Pharisee inside me, but he is like Freddie. Easy to stab; hard to kill.

Brandon Scott Thomas said...

Adam--GO! Awesome! I have always loved that quote by DW. The whole notion of being a spiritual vampire really convicts me. I love the Rob Bell quote too. Great stuff!

Matt Elliott said...

Makes me think of Brian McLaren talking about way too many Christians trying to do nothing more than get their butts into heaven! It's interesting how we can turn even the gospel into something self-serving, isn't it?

john chandler said...

Always good to find to stumble on people who's thinking seems to be moving in the same direction as mine. :) Good thoughts we just have to figure out how to change our churches that are filled with people who don't think this way.

Rick said...

willard's _the divine conspiracy_ messed me up forever. good stuff.

Jovan said...

Adam I too am Batman. But i so wanted to be the Green Lantern.

Dana said...

Hey Babe,

Just wanted to let you know that I did read your post. Just think, if you had listened to me, you could have written that two years ago :). Oh, and I'm The Green Lantern. Not that that means anything to me because I don't know anything about him. I was hoping that I would be Superman. Just because he is the only one I know besides Batman. And Batman is just too abrasive. LOL just kidding. I love you!!

Fajita said...

Hey! I'm the Green Latnern! I'm not sure what you're trying to pull here, but I am, and you certainly are not, the Green Lantern.

Nice post on the superhero site. E-mailed it to me friends.