My church is firmly grounded in the assumption of Christ. That is not a typo. I am not a victim of autocorrect. I intentionally typed “assumption” not “ascension.”
My church is firmly grounded in the assumption of Christ. And I am wrecked over it.
At my church, we talk about God, we pray to God and more than anything else, we serve others “in the name of God.” But I could have typed god with a lowercase “g.”
Too many of the sermons could easily be delivered in a Kingdom Hall or a mosque or a synagogue without changing a single word and without offending a single person of another faith.
Sermons are encouraging and comforting, emphasizing what we should do. How we should live. Character and discipline are recurring precepts. The pervading concept is consistently service.
I can’t remember ever hearing a straightforward caveat that – Christian or not – we are incapable of the doing good and the living right on our own. That character and discipline weren’t enough for Abraham or David, much less for us.
The name of Jesus is rarely spoken in my church outside of the “in Jesus name” precursor to “Amen.”
I can’t remember ever hearing a frank acknowledgment that there are people in the congregation who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
I can’t remember ever hearing a clear and complete explanation of why we need Jesus.
A firm but loving declarative statement that Jesus is the only way to salvation?
I can’t remember ever hearing a personal challenge to face my sin – head on.
A firm but loving declarative statement that I need to repent of my sin?
I can’t remember ever hearing an impassioned call to repentance – or to Christ.
The only time I ever hear a connection between Jesus and the message is when the message is explicitly about Jesus, which again, is extremely rare.
I am desperate to hear messages that help me make a connection between the gospel and my everyday life.
I’ve done enough reading and studying on my own to understand that the timeless, redemptive story of Jesus can be found in every book of the Bible.
I long to hear that story. I long to hear about Jesus.
In every message.
Not only is the assumption of Christ not enough, it is NOTHING.
“Every week someone should proclaim the gospel, no matter what the topic is. If we’re talking about holiness, about manhood, about marriage, parenting, money, or any particular biblical command, we need to teach it and talk about it in view of the gospel, always bringing it back to the epic story of God’s redemption.”
from Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church
by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger
This post is the second in a multi-part series, written mostly in early autumn 2012, published now for the first time.