May 4, 2016

Sayings Christians Ought to Bury

by Eric Davis
bury

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Every movement and organization has their sayings. They can be helpful when they are accurate and memorable. But they can also be destructive when they are inaccurate and memorable. Such sayings float around a bit in Christendom.

Thus, it behooves us to evaluate things we say against Scripture so that we accurately represent the faith. Oftentimes newer or mis-shepherded Christians will latch onto sayings, get swept down the stream of error, and cause others to do the same.

Here are a few such Christian sayings that ought to be buried.

1. “They are a Christian but haven’t made Christ their Lord yet.” 

Sometimes the idea is phrased in other ways: “They are a believer, but have not yet decided to follow the Lord.” “They prayed the prayer, but do not follow Christ or live out their faith.”

Burial of this saying is needed for several reasons. Christ is the absolute, Sovereign Lord whether we have acknowledged it or not (John 13:13, 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 1:8, 4:8, 11, 19:16). He is Lord of all humanity, regardless of our spiritual persuasion on the matter (Phil. 2:9-11). History will see a day when every person born will affirm the objective title of Jesus as “Lord,” whether redemptively or wrathfully. Thus, we can no more correctly say, “They are a Christian but haven’t made Christ Lord yet,” than one could say, “I’m French but haven’t made Francois Hollande my president yet,” or, “I am a dolphin, but have not decided to make water my surroundings yet.”

in water

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Sometimes when people say this, they mean, “I am a Christian, but am not living as if he is my Lord yet.” But this is equally erroneous. It’s a peculiar, but far-too-common idea. No such saying or idea is observed in Scripture. In fact, it seems that Christians in the NT understood that becoming a Christian was a radically privileged transfer from under the lordship of sin and Satan to under the lordship of Jesus Christ (e.g. Luke 19:8, John 20:28, Rom. 6, Col. 1:13, 1 Thess. 1:9). That a disciple of Christ is one who is taught to obey everything Jesus commanded indicates the concept that to be a Christian is to operate under his lordship (Matt. 28:18-20, John 14:15, 1 John 2:3-6). In the first century, individuals of whom this saying was spoken would have been re-evangelized.

On a related sidenote, I once had the opportunity to ask a Christian who had lived through communist USSR if, prior to 1991, this kind of no-lordship theology existed there. He answered with a serious, “No.”

This is not to say that one will exhaustively comprehend the implications of Christ’s lordship the moment of salvation. But it is to say that he is our Lord, even prior to regeneration.

2. “I was saved pretty young, but sowed my wild oats, and did not follow Christ until many years later.”

Similar to the above, this idea is foreign to Scripture. This is not to say that someone cannot be regenerate at a young age, or that sanctification will not be a bumpy ride. But it is to say that upon conversion, the Holy Spirit will begin to illuminate and enable both the idea and reality of following Christ. Good works have already been ordained (Eph. 2:10).

no aliveGod is too good to leave us in the wild oats (1 Cor. 6:11). The Holy Spirit, who indwells his people, loves them too much to allow them another day under Satan’s lordship (Eph. 5:8). Regeneration by faith in Christ is the moment our Father takes our hand and instantly begins raising us up into the image of his Son (Heb. 12:5-11). Those without child-training are not yet his children (Heb. 12:8). God is no fickle, forgetful father. Thus, we ought to bury the saying and instead, say something like, “I remember giving some ascent to the facts of the gospel as a child. But, I lived for many years with no evidence of regeneration, so, biblically, I would have to say that I was not converted until later.”

3. “They are a Christian, but they don’t/won’t plug into a church.” 

This one is baffling. Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Scripture gives us no indication that the Holy Spirit is OK with remaining detached from the body of Christ. The Spirit seeks to glorify Christ and bring unity to the body (John 16:14, Eph. 4:3-4). We are hard-pressed, then, to justify that the Spirit is not going to move the regenerate into the visible body of Christ; something which is essential to our identity and existence. It’s one thing to need a little nudge now and then to be more faithful in plugging in (Heb. 10:24-25). But it’s quite another to persist in a refusal to do so. If a professing Christian has to be urged to plug into a NT kind of church, it’s probably not best to prod them to be a better Christian, but evangelize them to become one. D.A. Carson has rightly said, “It is inconceivable in the first century that someone would say: ‘Yes, I’ve become a Christian, but I don’t want to join a church.’”

4. “I’m part of the global body of Christ, so I don’t need to sign some paper to be a member of a local church.”

detached

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This is similar to the previous, except it reacts to the idea of meaningful local church membership. This all-too-common saying is peculiar, because we hardly take that approach in other areas of life. We unhesitatingly join gyms, banks, and jelly-of-the-month clubs. But when it comes to God’s treasured institution, we hem and haw.

Meaningful, formal membership is a reality amply justified from Scripture. Things like the 40 one anothers, the example in Scripture, NT church lists, discipline, and elder-accountability evidence it. Why would we not want to joyfully express the most privileged, exalted identity that a human being could possibly have; “body of Christ”? What hesitation could one possibly have at being visibly linked to God’s cherished, beloved, and born-again institution? It’s amazing that Christians would utter such a saying. And, considering the colossal price Christ paid for his Body, it can only grieve him that we would.

In keeping with God’s word, the saying should be rearranged, “Since I am part of the global body of Christ, I get to express that as a visible member of the local body of Christ.”

5. “There are 2 or 3 of us, so let’s confirm this thing by praying, since, ‘Where 2 or 3 are gathered, Jesus is there.’”

This saying is pulled from Matthew 18:20, where Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Christians typically use it to further a plan they have or prayer request they make.

omnipresence-300x139Using the passage this way is a violation of Jesus’ authorial intent. He did not mean, “As long as you have two or three, I am there to support you in whatever.” Instead, the context involves the process of church discipline. The “two or three” refers to the witnesses from vv. 16 and 19 who confronted the individual in unrepentant sin. As a church must discipline the individual in accordance with Christ’s command (Matt. 18:17), they are assured that he is affirming them in this difficult process.

We need not misuse Matthew 18:20 to support the idea of Christ’s omnipresence. Whether we are two or three or one or more, God is with us (Ps. 139:7, Matt. 28:20).

And, if God wishes to grant us a prayer request, he will not do so on the grounds of two or three praying, but because it pleases him to do so (Ps. 115:3).

6. “It’s a God thing.” 

Often we will say this in response to a pleasurable or favorable work of God’s providence in our lives. “I was so bummed that I lost my job. But, through it all, I grew in Christ and got a better job. It’s totally a God thing.”

And no doubt. Providence, whether pleasurable in the moment or not so much, is certainly God doing his thing. However, it is not only favorable moments of life that are a God thing. Everything is a God thing and if anything is not a God thing, we’re in trouble. How can we be sure that history will end up according to Revelation 21-22? “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider-God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him” (Eccles. 7:14).

7. “Stop trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.”

This is one of the more common Christian sayings. But it’s probably one we should bury.

Typically, we say this in response to individuals speaking into our lives about sin. “Quit trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. He will convict me if needed.”

noIf you’ve struggled like I have, often when we say this, we are not doing so out of a humble concern for a biblical pneumatology or pure reverence for the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, we say it out of arrogant reaction to someone trying to be faithful to the biblical commands on confronting one another. We are defending ourselves: guarding the citadel of our righteousness, we bust out this strategic move in a desperate moment. We play the “don’t be the Holy Spirit” card, perhaps, because, like the “Draw 4” in Uno, it’s a seemingly impossible one to counter. Someone mentions the role of the Spirit and, well, I would never want to think I’m God, so, game over.

But is it a legitimate card? Consider a brief reminder of what Scripture teaches the Spirit does and what we are to do. God gives his children the Holy Spirit to make them holy; to make them more like him. He will settle for nothing less than children who resemble Dad. Out of love for us, the Holy Spirit works like the skillful potter’s hands, constantly shaping the regenerate into the image of Christ by exposing and eradicating our sin as was never before possible (John 16:8, Rom. 8:12-14, 1 Cor. 6:11, 2 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 5:16-17).

However, in the manifold wisdom of God, he has chosen to use imperfect humans to accomplish his perfect purposes. God commands believers to care so much about his sanctifying purposes, and each other’s best, that we lovingly help one another see and flee our sin (Prov. 27:5-6, Matt. 18:15, Heb. 3:12-14, Gal. 6:1-3). This means he is going to use humans to partake in the work of the Holy Spirit, not the least of which includes exposing and eradicating sin. Thus, it follows that fellow-Christians speaking into each other’s lives very well could be the Holy Spirit using them to do his work.

“Well, yeah, but I just don’t want those people taking over the Spirit’s role.”

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Again, let’s be sure we respond to correction out of a deep humility, welcoming a brother or sister obeying the aforementioned commands. There are no commands which call us to counter that with the Holy Spirit card. There are many commands where God calls us to be receptive and inviting to biblical correction (e.g. Prov. 10:8, 17; 12:1, 15:10, 12, 31-33; 17:10; 19:20, 25, 27; 29:1; Matt. 18:15-17). Which are we more diligent to do? “He who hates reproof will die” (Prov. 15:10).

Therefore, we ought to find alternatives to the saying, “Stop trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.” Instead, we might say, “I do not want you to be used of the Holy Spirit right now to do his sin-exposing and sin-eradicating work in my life because I’m not being humble.” Or, if we can do so in a spirit of humility and reverent concern for a biblical pneumatology, we could say something like, “I know that God commands us to lovingly confront each other’s sin. Thank you for trying to be faithful to that. But it seems like you may be doing that too much recently. For example… Am I seeing that accurately?”

We are given the ability of speech and communication for the glory of God. When it comes to common sayings, we ought to evaluate them in light of God’s word in order to accurately represent the faith. Though they may be clever or full of color, if they are not in line with Scripture, we do well to bury them.

Eric Davis

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Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. Leslie is his wife of 14 years and mother of their 3 children.
  • Tim Bates

    I do not like cliched sayings. No sense sacrificing truth for a catchphrase. That’s why I live by these 2 verses:
    •Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.
    •Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.

    Both can be found in the book of First Americans.

    • Brian Morgan

      Good stuff Tim! Our Western elitism filters our theology in more ways than we realize. Some of the results are arrogant, some lazy, too many are rooted in ease and materialism.

    • Eric Davis

      Ah, yes, 1st Americans. It’s amply quoted these days. Thanks Tim

      • As far as I’m concerned all cliches can go the way of the dodo.

        • Jonesy

          Michael,

          Do you want to include “God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”, as one of the cliches that can go the way of the dodo?

          • No, Jonesy. I don’t want any Scripture to go the way of the dodo. That doesn’t make any sense at all and nothing in my comment would imply that I want Scripture to go away.

            So for clarification, since it seems you missed the joke, I was USING a cliché to say NO MORE CLICHES – as a form of opposite humor.

            So maybe you didn’t catch that part. That’s ok, it was cryptic.

          • Jonesy

            Michael,

            I glad you responded. Thanks.

            From many of your comments that I’ve noticed, I didn’t believe you wanted any part of Scripture to go the way of the dodo. My point, as obtuse as it might have been, was to get us to realize that scripture is often quoted in the context of personal situations, e.g. some loss usually is the circumstance for the verse I quoted being used. Often our response is to treat those scriptures as a cliche, because they don’t seem to help us in and through the situation. Put yourself in Job’s shoes: How does God’s coments about Leviathan ( cf. Job 41) help Job to deal with His (not a typo) circumstances? Try quoting Job 41.1-10 as a means of consoling someone. What response will you get? Qualitatively similar to Rom 8.28, I’ll bet. If I’m right, what does that say about our attitude toward scripture, especially when we’re in need of it? (c.f. James 1.5-6)

          • If I am understanding you right, I think you are hitting the nail on the head by describing the root of all our problems today in the “church.”

            Put simply, “a lack of willingness to simply confront people with the appropriate Scripture to their circumstance.”

            Most likely cause by a “lack of willingness to listen to people who confront me with the appropriate Scripture.”

            So after years of good Christians trying it, they finally give up because, well, you can only be called unloving and told you lack “compassion” so many times before you start to believe it and want to change your method.

            But, as always, the problem lies in the hearts of men, so judging outward actions has a tendency to fail.

    • Jessica Naranjo

      I, too, used to enjoy that first quote until it was pointed out to me that words (in fact THE Word) is necessary to communicate the gospel… Yes, we should live it out, but that does not exempt us from speaking up… Romans 10:14 & 17 make it clear that “hearing” the Word of God is necessary for genuine belief. 🙂 just some thoughts…

  • William

    Good words, brother!

  • Brian Morgan

    So true Brother! I recently taught a short series on Biblical Interpretation. In it, I covered verses so commonly used out of context. The results are not just difference of personal opinions, but actually form bad doctrine, affecting church efforts. 2Tim 2:15

    • Eric Davis

      Agreed, Brian. It’s about more than sayings. Glad you did that.

  • Doug Evans

    Any chance of adding the word “anointed” to the list? It has somehow become the Christianese word for “marvelous”

    • Starrocks923

      Indeed. I recall looking at the Youtube comments for a Petra song, and one of the top comments mentioned how awesome it was that God anointed the song.

      I somehow doubt that a Christian Power Metal Song from 1988 would fit any of Google’s descriptions:

      “Smear or rub with oil, typically as part of a religious ceremony.”

      “Smear or rub something with (any other substance).”

      “Ceremonially confer divine or holy office upon (a priest or monarch) by smearing or rubbing with oil.”

      Of course God uses the song to teach people about how life is like a minefield with sin everywhere, but that doesn’t mean He rubbed oil on it.

  • Ed Brown

    How about use of the word “awesome” when referring to things, people, or events that we experience? I vote for dropping that one – except when we are talking about that One!

  • Dale Dickerson

    Concerning “where two or three…” If I ever meet someone who believes it applies to a prayer meeting, I would like to ask them how they would “jive” that with Matthew 6:6 where Jesus tells us to go into a closet and pray in secret.
    Dale Dickerson

    • dale dickerson

      I later realized–after submitting my post–that in the Bible it mentions that many, many times Jesus went off alone to pray.

  • tovlogos

    “God gives his children the Holy Spirit to make them holy; to make them more like him.” Absolutely, Eric, outstanding report.

    We are told not to forsake the assembly of like minded believers — certainly good instruction. It is also vital to recognize the indelible necessity to study the Scriptures. If one’s education comes only through brief meetings in church, he will be lacking in spiritual growth. If the Spirit does to us what He did to the Thief on the Cross, splendid.
    Taking up our crosses and denying ourselves is not easy. Yes, only the Spirit can accomplish this effort; and, He gives us fair warning in Romans 7:7–25, that, on one hand we with our minds are “serving the the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

    So taking up our crosses and denying ourselves never gets taken for granted — it’s always a challenge. This is why I said in one of your posts that I don’t feel as guilty as I once did — I recognize that I can’t fix myself. I learned patience, being proactive, and waiting on the Spirit.

  • Kermos

    “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27) are the words of my Lord Jesus, and He also said “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Jesus tells us fruit matters (Matthew 7:15-27).

    Fantastic, the first couple of sections of this article are right on track with Scripture!

    The third section made me say “woah”. I gather in the body of Christ; however, I do not go to church. There is a significant difference. Gathering in the body of Christ is indicated by the Word, in Scripture. Going to church is entirely absent from Scripture. Every occurance of the Greek word ecclesia in the New Testament is considered using the English/Greek interlinear of the Textus Receptus with the KJV at this link: http://FaithHopeAnd.Love/

    There are Biblical grounds for saying “They are a Christian, but they don’t/won’t plug into a church.”

    Your fourth point includes “I don’t need to sign some paper to be a member of a local church.” This statement is Scriptural. Arguing that there might have been some paper to sign is to argue from silence because the New Testament contains no indication of said paper. Lord Jesus said “make no oaths”, yet, on the other hand, pastors say sign this piece of paper to become part of my local church body. Lord Jesus said “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no”.

    You pose the question “What hesitation could one possibly have at being visibly linked to God’s cherished, beloved, and born-again institution?” An institution is not born-again, rather it is people that are born-again (John 3:3-5).

    You wrote “authorial intent” and “church discipline” in your fifth point, yet NONE of those words appear in Matthew 18:15-20. In this passage, King Jesus is talking about love. God’s love for His children, and Brother Jesus’ family love for one another. Assembly (ecclesia) is in the passage, not church (kuriakon, nor circe, nor kirkee, etc). Lord Jesus tells us that the person needs to hear the gospel (as in gentiles and tax collectors – who did Master Jesus proclaim the gospel?). And, He tells us in no uncertain terms that where two or three are gathered, For in Him there is great power and love. He is with us. That’s it, He defines a gathering, that it can be two, or three, or thirteen (as with Jesus and the twelve Apostles), or other numbers. Lord Jesus conveys His message eloquently, and He can say one sentence with multiple meanings. I can Scripturally say the Anointed One declared that two or three constitute a gathering.

    The final section is poignant (so is much of the article). Creation declares His glory! And, yes, God uses we believers to carry out His work on earth in the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it involves suffering, cold, hunger, persecution. We desire people to be known by the King,to know the King, and to gather in the King’s presence. We consider it all joy, and we cry out “THANK YOU LORD”!

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  • 4Commencefiring4

    Revisit #4 for a moment.

    The examples you gave (gym, bank, etc) require you ante up some money first to access them. So that’s the first difference. A church is open to anyone who is willing to come in and not be disruptive while there, even if you never offer a dime to them. A signed contract–or an account with them–is not required.

    Additionally, some churches won’t even allow you to join unless you can sign off on every aspect of their constitution and/or statement of faith. If you can’t or won’t, it’s a no-go. They’ll take your money, but nothing doing on the membership.

    I’ve said it before, but a lot of churches are cutting off their nose to spite their face by refusing to allow anyone to join who diverges in any way from a host of doctrines to which they hold. Stick to the short list of cardinal christian declarations and you might find more members.

  • FaithHappens

    You forgot “sola scriptura”

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  • JR

    Almost all of Proverbs are clichés. Jesus often employed them, “Give to Caesar. …” Like most things, to use another “There’s a time and a season to every purpose under heaven.”
    Some of those here do deserve burial. Others don’t. I’ve been a Christian 37 years, about the middle of that time I spent 12 years neither as member nor visited any local organized congregation. I was not “backsliding”. It’s suspicious to us laity when we see professionals who earn their living from visible organizations place so much emphasis on the visible Church. Jesus said make disciples, not buildings. During my time away from the organized visible church I did not stop making disciples. I did not stop reading my Bible. In fact I took many courses online and continue growing in my faith.
    On the other hand, I’m a member of a PCA Church which I attende regularly and have been for many years. There’s most certainly a need for denominations, as well as local visible Churches. I was wrong to not be plugged in officially and I knew that even when, for excuses that were invalid, I didn’t belong nor attend a building for the purpose of corporate worship. What I’m asking is that you cease elevating what is in fact a minor theme to the majors. Those who avoid the organized structures are rightly suspicious of your motivation when you do.
    BTW, I’m generally long winded and not given to clichés. But I defend Truth, even when it doesn’t come in a flavor I prefer. You ought to do the same.

    • Matt Mumma

      In light of your thoughts about pastors placing to much emphasis on the visible church, how does someone obey commands to fulfill the 40 one-anothers, obey and submit to elders, make disciples and be held accountable without being committed to a local church? The emphasis on local churches and making disciples in local churches does not mean that a building is the focus. I know that many do highlight the building, but many do not. Buildings can be and are a means to disciple-making though.

      I would add that commitment to a local church is not a minor but a major emphasis in the New Testament. That has already been discussed here http://thecripplegate.com/how-to-shepherd-shoppers-part-1/ and here http://thecripplegate.com/how-to-shepherd-church-shoppers-part-2/.

      • JR

        “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Quoted the Sheriff from cool hand Luke.

        I- Given how long winded I am, perhaps it was missed. Even during the 12 years I was not a part of a local visible church, I knew openly I ought to have been. From the outset I grant you’re speaking from a generally correct position, even though much of what you say is either false or badly phrased. This may cause you cognitive dissonance, someone who agrees with your conclusions but not your methods. So let me start with what I agree. I agree there are many “lone wolf” Christians today who:

        A- don’t acknowledge the clear Scriptures which show that the normative life of the Christian is local Church membership

        B- don’t acknowledge the many contributions of the visible Church in many areas. For example, the preservation, textual studies and translation that gives him that very Bible he’s thumping on (with ~98% accuracy from the original manuscripts and all manner of ways to look them up should they wonder about the translation). Much of this was accomplished by men who were not even saved, here I think of the many medieval monks toiling in their scriptoriums before Wittenberg rediscovered movable type (the first use of movable type was to print a Korean book of government laws).

        C- don’t acknowledge how they deprive others of their gifts in return.

        II I read you two links, and believe me, this aint my first time on this ride. Respectfully, I found nothing new and plenty erroneous. I will cite 3 of the errors.

        II- Your errors of content:

        A- you confuse what is normative and what is commanded.

        Contra Cyprian of Carthage who wrote “you cannot have God for your Father unless you have the church for your Mother”; the Westminster skillfully says “The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” Now, I’m no great devotee of the Westminster, despite being a PCA member. However, in this it got it exactly right. Note that word “ordinary”. There is possibility of salvation outside the visible Church, even by Westminster standards.

        There are plenty of passages talking about how a husband ought to treat his wife, but there are no passages commanding one to marry if one can maintain sexual purity. Your inference about what people ought do in the visible church has no bearing upon everybody joining a visible church to begin with. It does create the assumption that this is normative. Just like marriage, it is the eventual state of most Christians, and thus it is addressed with frequency.

        B- you confuse the visible and invisible church when it is to your advantage to do so. You cite the Bible’s description of us as one body. Are you claiming that body is also made up of the lost? Sorry, that and many other passages, such as “a nation of Royal priests” and “a building of living stones” clearly refer to the visible church only; and such a church includes the lone wolf. Granted, you bring in a disclaimer, but then quickly skip over the implications that none of your metaphors work at all. You cite metaphors that you then agree don’t really hold and quickly move on. This kind of Scripture twisting is infuriating to the lone wolf who then begins to rightly suspect your motives. There are good reasons to join a local assembly; you injure your case when you misapply Scripture.

        C- you claim the local Church is needed to finish well. Sir, there are myriads of Christians who have finished well dying alone in a cell, either because they converted there, or were put there expressly for their faith. Less dramatically, there are many areas of the world and even the USA which are barren of any half way faithful local assembly. Would you have them join the local Roman “catholic” or ultra liberal assembly? Granted, there is no perfect church outside Heaven. We can have varying degrees of what is tolerable or not. For example, from Scripture, ancient and modern history it is abundantly clear to me women ought to have a covering on their head when going to church. Even though just about all churches now ignore Scripture to appease the women’s movement after Vatican 2 decreed it ought be so; I do not insist on this, save my wife and unmarried daughters. However, there comes a point at which a Christian ought better to seek the internet than the rant of the local lesbian pastorette or Roman effete. This is one possible reason it is never stated as a command.

        III- Your errors of style

        A- you cite joy as a reason when many lone wolfs are just that because they have been repeatedly burned by a local assembly. At this point I am trying really, really hard to be kind by not asking what shade of rose do your glasses come in. Now, I actually have huge fun at my church, in fact pretty much everywhere. For example, my very Reformed pastor has no use of his legs and only minimal control of his left hand. So I put a bumper sticker on the back of his wheelchair that read “Have you read your Scofield today?” From time to time if there’s an elder nearby I bring him up on charges of laziness, because he sits around all day. After one particularly excellent sermon when a small crowd was thanking him, I objected that while the content was good, the delivery was not. So he asked, grinning because he loves the game, why. “Because your left hand kept moving by itself and I couldn’t get Dr Strangelove out of my head.” Some looked at me in shock, the youngsters wanted to know who was Dr Strangelove and the pastor and a few others were turning red trying to suppress the laughter. Oh trust me, I have fun at church. When I get to Sunday school people remark that the coffee just got there.

        However, some people have been very, very hurt by the visible church. Can you not see how declaring “joy” without acknowledging the pain of so many may not be the best avenue?

        B- you ignore the concerns of the lone wolf. These are different from individual to individual, so I certainly would not fault you for putting out a laundry list; but why not address one or 3 of the most common concerns? It’s an institution driven by power/money hungry people is one such; and unfortunately too often true. Another that I repeatedly have brought up is the lack of any local assembly that teaches faithfully.

        C- So now, after this short Trinitarian outline, I will end with a cliché, an old Archie song, and a (sort of) proverb to summarize what actually is probably my biggest complaint:

        1- You catch more flies with milk than vinegar.

        2- “Put a little sugar on it, honey.”

        3- I’d rather live on the rooftop away from the complaining local bride.

  • Starrocks923

    Sorry for mentioning this so late, but the website name under the first image has an acronym in it that you’d probably consider profane when spelled out…just thought I’d let you know.

    Regardless, great article, Eric! I definitely agree about burying “Christian” sayings. Hearing the same lines in several dozen songs on the Christian radio each year drives me nuts, especially with no variance.

    I feel I find #5 to be the most intriguing of the batch, and one I’m guilty of praying myself during group prayers. I’ve never actually heard #7, though! (To be fair, I’m only 19; it was likely used primarily before my time.)

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