A book published in 1996 really nailed this Christian distraction problem. Funny how we never heard of it then or since!

Well, I heard of it this week when Connie found an old magazine she’d been saving. It’s “Release Ink,” collecting reviews of and ads for Christian books. We still have it because of the nice article about Jack Hayford. Hayford’s rapidly growing Church on the Way was where Connie spent her formative teen years.

Well, get a load of this list! It’s the outline of Bob Briner’s Seven Deadly Detours (Zondervan, 1996), a book briefly reviewed in the magazine. (It is out of print, but there are some copies available at the link.)

  1. Squabbling Over Prayer in Public Schools
  2. Making Jesus a Right Winger
  3. Thwarting the Homosexual Agenda
  4. Fighting Other Christians Over Doctrinal Purity
  5. Shutting Down the Abortion Clinic
  6. Christian Television
  7. Fighting for Family Values

Point:

He saw these as deadly distractions keeping Christians from attending to true Biblical and Christ-ian priorities. I certainly agree! And now, after ten more years of intensifying distraction, our nation, our culture, and our world are in much worse shape and much more imminent danger. Christians – churches – we could have made a real difference if we had not been so thoroughly distracted by political and cultural wars.

Distractions matter.

Jeremiah 23
18 But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?

22 But if they had stood in my council [i.e. had not been distracted by their political agenda, or by parroting each other], they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.

The reviewer wrote

As I read, I kept hearing myself say, “Yes! I’m so glad someone is finally saying this!”

A few months ago this appeared on a Baptist site in Missouri. The author, Ken Satterfield, referred to that old book, then asked some questions. I’ve put his questions in list format.

  • What if our churches were scrutinized in the same way we look at candidates?
  • How is your church seen in your community?
  • What is its track record?
  • Is it attractive?
  • Is it a warm church?
  • Does it care for, even fight for, all people?
  • Does it sling mud at those who oppose it? (Ouch.)
  • Is it primarily known as the anti-(place an issue here) church?
  • My fear is to one day find myself before the throne of God, having fought for and against political issues, and have Him ask, “But, what did you do for Me?”