Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To Be in Love With Jesus

Please do not attempt to wake me up from what seemed like a dream from the very first day. Do not try and wrestle away my simplistic and unsophisticated faith which suggests that Jesus is the way to a place called heaven. I have heard all the new voices and all the new and fresh theologies that call us like sirens to rise above the ancient ideas, and I am a spectator to the ever changing and ever increasing nebulous and intangible faith that is being taught in today’s newer spiritual classroom.

When I became a Christian I experienced one driving emotion that actually consumed me. I fell in love with Jesus. I realize that is so sugary and emotional in today’s higher philosophical discussion, but that is what changed my life. I cannot completely communicate to you what that meant within my spirit and how that emotion travelled with me wherever I went. And when I read all the theologies that suggest you must be pained about your sin, or you must grasp certain doctrinal particulars, or the you must be willing to change your life, I know immediately that it is not always so. I fell in love with Jesus without meeting all those requirements and standards.

I realize you get your test marked wrong when you say accept Jesus, or fall in love with Jesus, or a hundred other statements that are on the unaccepted list, but you may cling tightly to that list if you wish, I must cling to Jesus. Please be advised that there are some of us who believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, and that those who have never heard the gospel stand in danger of eternal separation from Christ. But we are not interested in all the doctrinal minutia that becomes a self righteous feeding frenzy and only adds to the self righteous accumulation. You may know everything and then again, you may think you know everything, but we do not.

And yet we are not interested in the emerging movement that openly suggests a startling and new definition of the Christian faith. And the chatter, word parsing, and philosophical gibberish does not interest us; we will dig deeper wells in the same places where we first quenched our thirst. We are sure there is water there. The rushing to and fro of the new streams of Christianity were temporarily exhilarating, but alas, they proved to be nothing more than well intentioned discussions that made the cross an aside and set about to meet the physical needs of people while leaving them fallen shells of lostness. Instead of deepening the stakes and lengthening the cords of the tested gospel tent, they set out to unfold another and separate tent.

One group argues over if faith comes first or regeneration while the other group isn’t concerned with faith at all. You must excuse some of us if we do not find those discussions as especially helpful, and in fact they seem to us as counterproductive and hollow. It’s not that we are not interested in doctrine, or that we do not care about the poor, but we believe that the central message must be Christ and that our calling is to present Him to the lost and present Him continually to ourselves so as to allow us to fall more deeply in love with Him.

We are neither the seeker sensitive nor the purpose driven types, but neither are we called to eviscerate those who are. We are orthodox in theology but we reject the redundant doctrinal evangelism set forth by some Calvinists who seem more concerned with election than seeing people elected. The breed of sectarianism created by many of those doctrinal arguments are a stumblingblock to the gospel message itself, and indeed is driven by systematic theology rather than passionate love, and that genre of Christianity obscures the Risen Christ. There is a difference between presenting Christ as a doctrine verses presenting Him as a passionate reality within your very being.

So if you desire to be a part of endless debates and tortured half truths, and if you feel edified by the harshness and self righteous landscape known as the blog world, then you may have it. If God is a God Who wishes to remain aloof and marks His tests without a curve, then what in the world are we pursuing? If there is no grace, and if grace is empowered by law, then we are all playing a spiritual game. One demands a sinner say “repentance”; another accepts even the mildest acknowledgment; and still others require some sort of ceremony to be considered fully legitimately redemptive. What sort of tortured construct is this where even Calvinists argue with each other and Arminians generally accept anything?

You may have come to believe sifting truth is following Jesus, but I have come to understand that the truth is in Jesus, surely aligning with His Word, but surely not stopping within the pages of Scripture. Devotion to Jesus is not just a devotion to doctrinal truth, and devotion to Christ is not ignoring His written revelations as well. I sincerely believe the move of God’s Spirit is a move of personal revival and devotion. It may render you as odd and somewhat outrĂ© spiritual, and you may well be misunderstood, but it will be a small price to pay to draw significantly closer to Jesus by shedding the graveclothes of what has become an unproductive replica of what God had intended to be His living manifestation of the earth. His kingdom was supposed to be lived as much as spoken.

Parse it any way you like, Christianity has become just one of the major religions of the earth with little that could differentiate it from all the rest. Living well within the dictates of western culture and being diffused more and more until we not only are blind to its effects, we in fact have embraced them. And in America we have come to be known by the tenants of morality we speak and support much more than the Person of Christ and His gospel of redemption. We have labeled people as conservative or liberal, Democrats or Republicans, and we feel very comfortable listening to a talk show millionaire ramble on and on, demeaning and attacking, and aggressively attempting to preserve his lifestyle, even suggesting that Christians should be capitalists.

And with all that and more, we have left our first love and have nestled down to enjoy this hedonistic pasture. This beggars the question, “Is there such a truth as walking in an experiential presence of Jesus Himself, or are we to just walk according to some moral commandments?”.

You may desire to be concerned over the economy, or foreign affairs, or elections, or Supreme Court nominees, or liberal and conservatives, or the entire landscape of earthly issues that suck the spiritual life out of you and replace it with an earthly counterfeit. Take it all in, read about it incessantly, speak about it, scour the internet, ingest all the political blogs, and basically be consumed with this world all that happens within it. I am winding down and I am pursuing a surrender much deeper than I have ever known. A surrender that actually affects the way I live and think, and in such a way that people who know me are curious as to what has happened. A surrender that leads daily to a deeper surrender than the day before. I do not believe any massive revival is eminent, but I am convinced that each one of us has available an ocean of fresh oil that God can use to anoint us to a new awakening to the reality of Jesus in our lives. Just a deep, simple, and profound river of life that comes from Christ, drowns us in His presence, and returns to Christ.

I have a long way to go, I must get started.

3 comments: said...


"Pyromaniacs" was my opening page up until a week or so ago. They suddenly seemed to go all confrontational/holier-than-thou/ adolescent or however you want to put it. Anyway, it was quite rich in the comments after their big "election" challenge when one of them responds to your comment to the effect, "I didn't know you WEREN'T a 'Calvinist'!"

Silly me...up until a few months ago I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Calvinist.

Patrice (HVRHS) Stanton

Rick Frueh said...

Calvinism is an illogical theology that cannot be supported by Scripture. Many Calvinists are self righteous concerning that doctrine. I consider my participation there as "blog recreation".

debbie said...

Thanks Rick for reminding us that our loyalties are to Christ alone. And sometimes that means being prepared to walk alone if need be. He is our first love not Calvinism nor Arminianism or Calvin or Luther or any other idol of men. Southern Baptists are guilty as well with their nine foot statue of Billy Graham. The internet is a minefield these days. I pity the new Christian that starts reading different Christian sites. Apostasy is rampant on the web. Things that sound Christ like but are really cesspools. Then there is the my camp your camp and the refusal to police each other. The turning of the head when sin is evident because you belong to my camp. I have been guilty of this as well but no more. Too much digging around the internet and discovering disturbing suspicions of plagiarism along with the fiasco of the Spiritual Pathways web site with the refusal to heed warnings and not link there has lifted the veil. Good article and the one above this about apostasy is even better. Good for you.