RELEVANT, EMERGENT, OR JUST A SLOW FADE
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.
Success has been the litmus test for spirituality for many Christians, and sadly, for many pastors over the last two decades. If it is growing in numbers and in dollars, it must be God. Is that what we really believe, is that what you believe? The results of that position has taken the church down some interesting paths over the last few years. We have traveled from positive thinking to faith confession. We have been seeker sensitive, relevant, purpose driven, and emergent, but have we been biblical. Have all of our journeys been motivated by a hunger for God or just a lust after success and a desire to be accepted by the world? In our pursuit of accomplishment, have we lost sight of what is central to the christian faith, have we lost sight of God Himself? “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his very soul?”
John Piper addressed some of these issues in his book “God’s Passion for His Glory”. Here is one of his observations about what is really important in the Christian life.
“If the exhibition of God’s glory and the deepest joy of human souls are one thing, then all true virtue among human beings must aim at bringing people to rejoice in the glory of God. No act is truly virtuous—that is, truly loving—that does not come from and aim at joy in the glory of God.”
That statement defines what has been missing in many churches. Piper talks about bringing people to a place in their life where they have their joy in their relationship with God and His Glory. Rather than trying to find identity and satisfaction from our accomplishments or personal identity, the goal of a Christian is to find his joy in the Lord. The pursuit for satisfaction in our accomplishments or possessions is just a sign of a cold heart. Maybe the trend over the recent past is nor really relevant, purpose driven, seeker sensitive, or emergent after all. Maybe it is just another version of the slow fade from the Glory of His Presence.