Am I an enemy of the churches, or of Christians?
Some think so.
I’m just very concerned because you are helping my son to turn further and further away from church. How can you call yourself a Christian when the goal of your website is to turn people away from church. Talk about wolves in sheep clothing!
I. It pains me to see young people leave the church.
I know some of these kids, and I promise you, many of them would really like to be involved. They want something honest and realistic and healing. I do not encourage them to leave their churches; I applaud them for staying and trying to make things better.
But, as in Jesus’ day, there are some things that must be said. I’m not the one driving youth from the churches; many churches have proven very capable of doing that without my assistance. I’m trying to show them that the churches, in spite of appearances, are carriers of the most precious of truths.
II. How did Jesus treat religious gatherings and conservative worshipers in his day?
Did he ever make it harder for people to respect the synagogues and religious leaders?
He had a lot of respect for their history, their Scriptures, their meetings and their professed values. He was often invited, at least for a while, to lead and speak in their synagogues. That was an honor and he accepted it.
But he did not pretend that all was well.
He did not pretend that the local powers that be (often present in the synagogue and its leadership) were behaving well if they weren’t. Neither should we.
Here are some examples from the life of Jesus:
[Jesus was up front, leading the service.] “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed … Then the Pharisees [religious conservatives] went out and began to plot with the Herodians [supporters of the violent political regime] how they might kill Jesus.” (Mark 3:5)
One of the experts in the [religious] law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. (Luke 11:45,46)
Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” (Luke 20:46,47)
Indignant because Jesus [up front again, and leading the service] had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! …” (Luke 13:14,15)
I really don’t think I’m out of line here.
I think this blog is in fact a lowly part of an ancient and very honorable tradition, one I feel honored to participate in.