I like my veggies fairly soft. My son and daughter like theirs crunchy. I say, if I’m going to use all that energy to chew, it better be steak that I’m eating. Green beans (I called them string beans growing up) should be soft but not mushy just like carrots and broccoli and cauliflower. I don’t want the “life cooked out of my veggies,” but I don’t want them raw either.
Our calling today is to go to the hurting with a message of comfort springing from genuine love. God never called us to convert anyone. In fact, He never called anyone at any time to convert others. There is no command in Scripture that requires us to become convert specialists. I know that sounds radical, but it seems heretical only because of the way we’ve had our spiritual meals (and more specifically our theology) served to us. We’ve had them served one way for so long that we’ve grown so use to that taste that any other taste is unpalatable.
Every generation has to deal with this same problem. Even in the first century A.D., Jesus rebukes that generation for not coming to Him and believing what He was preaching to them because they were very comfortable with the way they were living and what they were believing. At that time, Jesus told them three short parables: the attendants of the bridegroom and the groom, the old garment and the new, unshrunken patch, and the new wine and the old wineskins. These parables were the answer to the question that the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus. The record of that question is given in Matt. 9:14 and in Mk. 2:18:
“Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?’”
Most Christians are very comfortable speaking of believers and unbelievers. Those terms have been pre-loaded for us after being used in the same way for hundreds of years. So, when we use the term believer, we know that we are talking about a person who has believed in Jesus, who has been given eternal life, who has been forgiven of all of his sins (past, present and future), who is saved for all eternity, who has been justified by God, has been regenerated by the Spirit of God (or born again), and who has the Spirit of God dwelling in him. Right?
(Development of this topic can be found in Acceptable to God without being Saved?)
I’ve been in the ministry for a long time, and I can tell you that no organization will let just anyone speak to its people. I have been vetted over and over again. The questions are usually pretty much the same over and over again.
When and what were the circumstances when you trusted in Jesus?
What ministries (churches, para-church organizations, etc.) have you been involved with?
What seminary training have you had?
What were you going to speak on at our gathering? What passages were you going to use?
If you different in any particular with the teachings of our group, will you agree not to speak on those issues?
The vetting process is supposed to be a way to protect the group from false teachers and divisive persons. This is entirely understandable. I’ve done the same thing every time I invite someone to speak to those in my ministry. I always get a like-minded person.
The problem with this process is simple: if I am wrong in what I believe, getting a like-minded person to speak only reinforces the error and even makes it seem more acceptable since now it is supported by yet another person in the ministry.
“All rise…. this court is now in session. The honorable Judge…presiding.”
Is court in session or not? Why are prosecutors everywhere?
We’ve all heard of lawyers being absent from the courtroom, and we’ve heard either the defendant or the plaintiff missing the trial, but how many times have you heard of the Judge not being present, not being there by choice, not being there because he considered the trial a miscarriage of justice, not being there because he disagreed with the penalty that the prosecutor wanted the defendant to receive? You probably never heard of such an occurrence. Judges don’t miss trials. If court is in session a judge is present.
Many Christians think that court is now in session. They believe a “heavenly courtroom” exists and is in session with God as the presiding judge. In this courtroom God, the Judge, is handing out guilty or non-guilty verdicts, and the punishment for the guilty is eternity in Hell’s fire. In this courtroom the guilty are declared innocent, or righteous, because of their belief in Jesus Christ. As a result of their belief in Jesus, the Judge not only declares them not guilty (even though they are clearly guilty of sin), the Judge also considers them righteous, giving them the righteousness of Jesus Christ. As a result, they are acquitted of the penalty of Hell’s fire and get heaven as a free gift as though they were really not guilty all along. This is traditionally called in theology Justification.
And with this mindset and doctrine in hand many Christians are actively acting as prosecutors.
Is this even Biblical? Is this court really in session or is this a mock trial of man’s own creation?
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