last summer i sat in bewilderment as i listened to the answers over and over again. the question was so simple, but the answers were mind-blowing. of the hundreds i met who claimed to be Christians, very few could tell me what they were saved from, what they died to, and what they were raised to- and this coming from a majority who claimed to be Baptist. it was, i now realize, just one more sign that the train has left the station and is headed down the wrong track…
back in reality, that train left centuries ago. what i heard that day, though, was a louder whistle, more passengers, and a whole line of cars beyond numbering. the train was not only on the wrong track- it was moving so quickly out of control, burning fuel at a massive rate.
meanwhile, numerous conductors, all trying to out-perform each other, contributed to an over-fired furnace, the engine burning like the midnight sun…
and i wondered…and began to stop each one, and bring them back to scripture…the track they and the assemblies they attended had switched from, onto a new line.
it began at the heart of the gospel: Jesus Christ came to save you from your sin.
the people i spoke with all had something in common. they all “went up to the altar” or “prayed the sinner’s prayer.” when i asked what had happened to them, i got a mixture of responses, but they all had something else in common- they were not what i had expected.
the majority of them told me that they became a Christian that day when they accepted Jesus as “personal savior.” Not more than a few out of the hundreds i met could tell me what that really meant. they were as clueless about being a true follower of Christ as they had been before they knelt at the altar or prayed the sinner’s prayer. sadly, this is true for so many- there are fewer true disciples of Jesus than there should be.
Why are so many who confessed Jesus as “personal pan savior,” so confused, so deceived, and so far from being a real Christian?
(1) today, in many churches, we have a church structure Jesus never taught. Nowhere in the New Testament is there indication that the disciples- the Christians- organized along the lines of the denominations today. Nowhere!
(2) the church in the New Testament was “organic” in nature. One “elder” in the faith- that is, older and more experienced- taught new disciples how to be disciples. There were no degreed professionals who were “in the business of church.” They were concerned about new disciples being disciples, not members. Nowhere in the New Testament will you find the kind of membership taught by the current synagogue-structured church.
(3) Paul states, at one time, that he “admonished the saints daily” for “three years.” He was constantly being sure that they knew what to do, how to do it, and why to do it. Disciples- those who followed after Christ- were active daily in the work of being a disciple.
(3) Nowhere in the New Testament do you read of an altar being present in any of the disciples’ meetings. Never. The whole “come to the altar” at a church building is cultural, not scriptural.
(4) The testimony of the saints was at the core of their witness. Three separate times in Acts we read Paul’s lengthy testimony as he presents it before those who did not believe. If- like the New Testament disciples- you are surrounded by the testimonies of saints, you will not be confused about the process of becoming a follower of Christ.
(5) Many of today’s “churches” never “require” the convert to repent. Nor does the convert have any idea what that means. In the New Testament, Jesus clearly called all to repent first. All needed to be buried with Christ and then raised with Christ. Being baptized in water and the Holy Spirit. Read the entire New Testament- that is what it says.
It is time to go back to what the New Testament states the church is. Time to throw off the bondage of synagogue-style Churchianity, and embrace Christianity. Time to join the last reformation now spreading one by one throughout the earth.