Sunday, November 07, 2010

Found Worthy

Matthew 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

38 καὶ ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀκολουθεῖ ὀπίσω μου, οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος.

There is a trend started by men like Charles Finney and DL Moody to hold "revival meetings."  They are different in style today, but the underlying form is the same.  You get a bunch of people together, have them sit under a charismatic speaker, and get them to make a "decision for the Lord."  You then count up the incredible harvest and feel good about the work you're doing for the Lord.  Of course, some have perverted this for selfish gain, but I believe that in general the folks who have meetings like this mean well.

The problem is that "making a decision" is antithetical to the gospel proclaimed by Jesus.  In a few weeks we're going to get to the commission with which Jesus left the church.  There is nothing easy about any of this.  Becoming a Christian is easy in the sense that it is all about grace.  But it is difficult in the sense that we need to repent of our pasts and turn to the Lord.

There is no mystery in the Greek here either.  Jesus calls us to radical discipleship.  It is not a matter of simply filling out a card or raising a hand during a corporate prayer time.  No, Jesus is serious about this.  We are to follow Him with all we've got.

Where are you?  Are you playing games with the Lord?  Or are you pursuing Him with all you've got?  Understand that we will still do this imperfectly.  We will have times when we feel like we aren't even Christians. I am not saying that Jesus demands perfection.  However, He does demand that we take up our cross and follow Him.


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I am not saying that Jesus demands perfection.

True, you're not saying this, but Christ is.

Ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι, ὡς ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς τέλειός ἐστιν.

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

Regarding Finney and Moody, you believe that in general the folks who have meetings like this mean well. What does Jesus say?

ὁ μὴ ὢν μετ’ ἐμοῦ κατ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστι, καὶ ὁ μὴ συνάγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ σκορπίζει.

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
Matthew 12:30

I wonder who is with Him and who gathers with Him.

The problem is that "making a decision" is antithetical to the gospel proclaimed by Jesus.

How does one respond to the call of Jesus, when He speaks to you the words, "Follow Me"? Is it a decision to follow Him or refuse Him, or is it just an accident that some follow and some refuse?

Jesus calls us to radical discipleship.

No, He doesn't. You are making that up. He calls us to discipleship, that's it. You are dividing the sheep from the goats without His permission and before the Day when you say "radical discipleship." Once again, you are dividing, what He has joined together.

ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν, καθὼς σύ, πάτερ, ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν σοί, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν, ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύσῃ ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας.

that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:21

Again, I am not criticising the meaning of what you're saying, but I am "demolishing sophistries" in the way you are saying it. Shape up, brother!

λογισμοὺς καθαιροῦντες καὶ πᾶν ὕψωμα ἐπαιρόμενον κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες πᾶν νόημα εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ…

We demolish sophistries and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ…
2 Corinthians 10:5

Speak the Word in its language, not in the language of the world.

By the way, if you think I am a cankerous old sore, you should see how Fr Anatoly treats people in the film Ostrov which I finally broke down and watched today. I blogged about it here:

I haven't killed anyone, so my repentance isn't as deep as his, but I am almost as adamant as he is with just doing what Jesus expects, no matter what the consequences.

Grace and peace, brother.

Jason said...

I'm a bit confused by your post. First, you point out that Jesus demands perfection. Then you defend folks like Finney who make no call to perfection. Then you say that I am wrong for describing Jesus' call as being one of "radical discipleship." You seem to contradict yourself twice in the same post.

Jesus may not use the words "radical discipleship," but I think that is a valid way to say what He demands in our present context. That is what preaching is all about. Incidentally, that's what Jesus did with His idiomatic language complete with its hyperboles.

I did not deal with Mat 5:48 for a few reasons:

1. I forgot about it
2. It would be a tangent to make the post too long
3. To say that Jesus demands perfection from His believers in the sense of this verse by itself is to divorce the imperative from the indicative. Jesus has spent all of Mat 5 explaining to the people that they think they keep the Law, but that really the Law goes much deeper than they think it does. And in fact, it demands perfection. Where do we get that perfection? When Christ's righteousness is imputed on us. That's another whole discussion.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Tsk! Tsk!

Brother, either I am mad, or you don't know how to read me at all. What I wrote in my comment is perfectly clear. Since for you it isn't I reiterate, either I am mad or you don't know how to read me at all.

That doesn't worry me. With time and a bit of stretching on the rack, you will.

I will defend you to the very end.

Jason said...

I think perhaps you and I have very different ideas of what it means to preach.