Many people today think that real Christianity is going to church every week, going to Bible studies that address their felt needs, and Christian events. If the church is doing some kind of mission work, participation in that rounds out the necessities for keeping the eternal Heaven ticket, which we didn’t earn anyway.
If we do all of the above and we give money to the church, if we think we can afford it, and hang out with other Christians, to keep us from being dirtied by the world, and then we’re good right? I don’t think so.
If we are that great at Bible Study, and watching the times as Jesus told us to do, how is it that we totally miss what has been happening in the believing community in the last 50 years? Why is it that churches are scrambling for more marketing programs to get people “saved”? Why is it that despite the millions of dollars we spend on Christian music, programs, bible studies, etc., the church is still dying?
Some blame it on Modernity, that the churches are following and Enlightenment way of thinking and that the Postmodern philosophy is a much better way. I would suggest, however, that it is not the case that Modernity killed Christianity. It happened WAY before that, when the Ante Nicene Fathers, separated the Church from its Jewish roots, virtually removed the grafted branch from the life giving Olive Tree. It was virtual church suicide via a slow and painful death.
In Romans 11: 17-22, Paul warns us of the very thing that less than one century later actually occurred. He speaks of the church, being graciously allowed to participate in Israel’s community and promises, and warns them of the dire consequences if the church becomes proud, thinks it has replaced Israel, because God will cut the church off just like the branches. The difference is, as Paul says, that Israel, being God’s chosen and have the eternal covenant, has a better chance of being regrafted than the Church. Just because it took as long time to die, doesn’t remove God’s warning. It could be that He is waiting for us to respond to Israel before we die.
This is the Season of God’s Appointed Times…so here are a few questions to ponder during these times.
- What are God’s appointed times?
- Why are they important to God?
- How are they relevant to the church?
- How do they help us be who God wants us to be?
- Why would Jesus want US, the Church, to celebrate those times with Israel?
- Why do we have Christmas and Easter and why do we worship on Sunday?
We will focus on the next 5 questions in the next few weeks. There will be opportunities to discuss the themes online, so please send us your email for a schedule to participate via an online teleconference.