One of the lessons I have learned over the past several years has been how Christianity gets broken down according to an emphasis of the leader. It has become more than just a Protestant or a Catholic spin on the Gospel … it is more defined. Let me explain why this is important.
There is a cultural Christianity where we incorporate a lot of trendy ideas and definitions into the Message. This could be a doorway where syncretism could be incorporated into the Message of the Gospel. This emphasis idolizes relevancy.
There is a psychological Christianity where we teach people how to live a Good life of Values and Principles based upon the Bible. This ideology has a lot of following today because this message has a lot of practical advice on how to successfully navigate the pitfalls of modern life. This emphasis idolizes human development.
There is a prophetic Christianity that focuses primarily on the doctrine of the Last Days. These folks like to focus on the ‘when’ of His Return and are often critical of others who would differ from their viewpoints. These are also people who focus on discernment as a major platform of their theology. This emphasis idolizes the future through present insights.
There is a Biblical Christianity that tries to keep the emphasis on the Bible. The emphasis of this practice is on the Whole Counsel of God’s Word. Some have made an idol out of the Bible, rather than using it as an Authority in how to Believe in God and how to live it out. This emphasis idolizes legalism.
There is a supernatural Christianity where Miracles and Gifts of the Spirit are the foundation of the ministry. This would usually be considered a Pentecostal or Charismatic Church. This emphasis idolizes Miracles and the Supernatural Power of God.
There is a prosperity Christianity where God is the source of all prosperity. This emphasis focuses on the entitlement that God’s servants should be rich and prosperous. This emphasis idolizes material resources.
There is also a liturgical Christianity where the practice is based upon creeds and doctrines of orthodoxy. This emphasis idolizes religious structure.
Now, I suppose there are many other fragments of Christianity found in the world today, but I think these are the most favored among Churches in the West.
To be honest, most of us find ourselves in the camp of several of them and attend Churches that display those kinds of emphasis. My point in raising this theme today has to do with questioning how much of Christ is in my doctrine or Belief Structure? I have found that many of the emphases listed above will find that it is the emphasis itself that will drive our Faith rather than Christ.
Some have become so enthralled with their beliefs that they have made an idol from what they believe. I have placed the idol suggestions at the end of each of the descriptions so as to indicate what could happen if the emphasis becomes more than it should.
God is to be our sole emphasis … not His Benefits or His Gifts, and certainly not our special emphasis on doctrine and practice. God alone is our focus. Some of the emphasis we experience in the Church today will set a precedent in how people see us. Rather than seeing us as people who represent Jesus, they see us through our emphasis. Remember, it was important to Jesus to be a Witness to the unbeliever because they were the ones in need of what He Offered.
Luke 5 31Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Every Church has an obligation to unbelievers and to the world. That obligation must begin with the Believers.
As the Church and Followers of Christ we encourage each other to:
1. Assist in the growth of Christianity using the Bible, Prayer, and Worship.
2. Provide fellowship with other Believers for encouragement.
3. Challenge all followers to continue to share the Gospel Message and make Disciples.
As the Church, our obligation isn’t to coddle Christians from cradle to grave. The objective is to train every Believer to Know Truth and apply it to every aspect of life.
To the World:
Jesus told us that we are to go into the entire world and make Disciples. That means we don’t stay with a nice secure study group for the duration of life but prepare for a season and then we go and do what Jesus did. That is the emphasis of the Church.
If the emphasis of your Church has you investing in anything that takes away from studying Jesus in order to make Disciples, I would question the emphasis of that Church. Studying Jesus means you are learning to Know Him, to live like Him, and to do as He did.
Remember, the emphasis that you put into your Discipleship will be the kind of Disciple you will become.
Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler
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