Thursday, May 5, 2011

You have to tell them...

My wife and I were driving on I-44 towards St. Louis when the news broke that Bin Laden had been killed. We stopped in Cuba for gas (and Jack In the Box)... and we told people what had happened.

(begin sarcasm)
And then... we wagged our finger at them and said, "Now, you people have to go tell others... if you don't go and tell other people about this, you aren't a real Christian."(end sarcasm)

Oh, wait, we didn't.

Well, at any rate, as people were celebrating, then others began to chime in. They asked, "How can you rejoice over this... this is very, very bad. You need to be more serious and dower and not rejoice over any death.

(begin sarcasm) And I thought, "You know, they are right. Who are we to have joy at deliverance? We should simply ponder our own sin and wretchedness more, ignore the deliverance that God has given our nation." Then I decided I needed to have communion only once a month so it didn't seem like I was too happy about the Gospel, or to make sure that I spent enough time pondering the momentous weight of Jesus' death... I mean, if I just wantonly rejoiced at this, maybe that joy during communion is misplaced. I don't feel bad enough about Jesus' death for my deliverance either...(end sarcasm)

Oh, wait - I didn't think that.

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There is a parallel -- with Bin Laden's death and the reaction to it, we can see the two main errors plaguing the American Church.

On the one hand, there is the focus that turns the Gospel into a law, a law of proclamation. We think that we will make people share the Gospel more by telling them they have to tell the Gospel. No. People will tell the Gospel more and more as they delight and understand that it is Gospel, that it is good news. Period. Simple as that. If you want people to share the Gospel, give them the Gospel, not instruction.

On the other hand, there is that old specter of Pietism ("oh, stop calling out Pietism, that's a red herring..." Poppycock! Pietism is alive and kicking as long as the Old Adam remains) that seeks to replace the joy of deliverance with a somber, self-focused ponderance. Instead of simply rejoicing over deliverance, we have to put the focus on ourselves. I had nothing to do with this deliverance... but I can shift the focus to my own reaction (and be better than my neighbor because of my better reaction).

In fact -- seems like everything is about trying to manipulate or shape reaction - making sure we "act" in the right way. And the more we talk about our actions, the less and less we talk about Christ Jesus and His actions for us.

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