Stupid Things Christians Fight About #1

Can you follow up one successful series  with another one?  Is it possible?  Well of course it is.  George Lucas is clearly the poster-boy for that.  How does one guy come up with Star Wars and Indiana Jones?  (He does that and what do I do?  I make humorous, sometimes cynical observations about life and tell goofy, mildly-embellished stories about my kids.) 

Let’s be clear, Stuff Christians Need to Stop Saying is no Star Wars and this series is no Indiana Jones.  I might could say that SCNTSS is Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street and STCFA could be Scream, but the metaphor there is too painful.  Anyway, let’s see what happens.

In this corner:  Conservative Evangelicals who believe that the key to being a Christ follower is what you believe.

In the other corner: Liberal Mainline Christians who believe that the key to being a Christ follower is what you do, namely being socially active.

My History: I feel like I should start with a confession.  I spent the entire decade of the 90’s square in the middle of this battle.  I went to college at Hendrix College in Conway, AR.  I was a student leader and ultimately a staff minister for a college ministry there.  I ended up being at Hendrix, one way or another for 10 years, essentially all of the 90’s, from the fall of 1990 to Spring 2000.  We were the champions of the “being a Christian is based on what you believe” camp.  People who thought that it was important to be socially active by helping needy people were soft on the truth and were trying to earn their way to heaven.

On the other side, were a group of people who wanted to live out their faith not based on what they believed but living in a way that they believed Jesus lived.  Being a Christ Follower is less about believing certain things about God and Jesus, but were about following what Jesus did and the way he lived his life.  We were the Bible-thumping, narrow-minded fundies.

The Verdict:  Ridiculous, all of it.  Who decided that there was a fight to be had here?  How did it come to this?  Nerd alert!  In part these are rhetorical questions, a study of Christianity in the 20th century will answer this question, with the shifting of focus of many mainline denominations and the rise of fundamentalism in the 50’s in response to that. End nerd alert!  How does a Christ Follower say that it doesn’t matter if you do what Jesus did?  What does follower even mean? Not Christ Follower but Christ Believe-the-same-as-er?  Similarly, how does a Christ Follower say that it doesn’t matter who Jesus was or who he believed God to be?  That is not a Christ Follower but Christ Be-somewhat-like-er.

Someone who wants to follow after Jesus needs to understand everything that Jesus came to do.  He came to give us new life, forgiveness of sins, if we would believe in him.  He also came to show us the heart and values of God, to show us how to live in right relationship with God.  One of my biggest regrets in life is my participation of in this battle.  (When I’m older and bolder, we can do a series on my 10 biggest regrets and what I’ve learned from them) I can only imagine what more God could have done through our ministry if we had shared God’s truth and lived it out in the lives of the poor and needy.  Let’s not make that same mistake and let’s make a commitment to be complete Christ Followers, believe as Jesus did and live as Jesus did.

To choose one to the exclusion of the other is something, but it is not following Jesus. 

(Suggestions for this series are greatly desired)