A few days [weeks? eep!] I wrote a post about a conversation with a kid in my town who attends a certain Church in the area. As they had been attending a while, I asked them some questions about their faith. The premise is simple; Christians should know the basics of their faith. I wasn’t expecting them to wax eloquent on the virtues of supralapsarianism soteriology, but they should know what the gospel is, right?
If they were indeed saved, then that means that Christ took them from darkness to light, ripped out their heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh. They went from being slaves to sin, to slaves of Christ. Salvation is more than giving these lost souls a new change in perspective or a new outlook on life. You’re not just offering them a new god to believe in, or a few suggestions so that they might have a more fulfilling life, or even granting them validation to live a life of contented moral deism. Instead, real repentance and faith in Christ is a radical restructuring of their existence. It is the crumbling of their world and the rebuilding of a new and better one. It is the destruction of their previous worldview, the death of their spirit, and the regeneration of a new man. They are being ripped out of the life they thought they knew and are being born again.
To not understand this or be able to articulate this, even at its most basic level, is really, really troubling. If you can go through that whole process and not be able to even explain what role Jesus played it in you being saved, then something is terminally wrong. And for someone to supposedly experience this, and then not be able to tell anyone else anything about it, or be able to direct others to the freedom in Christ and the way of eternal life, is a damning indictment. It just is.
In light of my probing this question, I received this comment in the combox:
“Its obvious you are trying to discourage the general public from attending this congregation. I am assuming you call yourself a Christian. In which case shouldn’t you be trying to witness to people not going about finding fault or do you think by doing this you are causing anyone to be saved. Pretending to be genuinely interested in someone’s opinion only to criticize them or their church openly is definely not Christian behavior! By the way this is a great church with people that love God.”
Speaking to you directly; I don’t think its obvious that I’m discouraging anyone from attending this congregation. If I were, I would name the congregation publicly and tell people that very thing. Furthermore, because I am a Christian, I believe it is incumbent upon me to do so. I take my lead from these verses
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
It would seem that you have no tolerance for those who would do this, even though this is what we are called to do. Nor do you seemingly believe there is anything wrong with not knowing anything about the faith, or if it is wrong then we definitely don’t want to point that out, right? It would be one thing for these kids to simply not know- which is terrible in and of itself, but its another thing to ignorantly tell people the exact opposite thing. In light of this shocking reality, for you to go on the offensive and rail about “not criticizing” is misplaced at best and destructive at worst. It is not loving at all, in the true sense of the word, and it ultimately demonstrates that you are the one who doesn’t care about these kids, even though I would hope that is not your intention.
Is this Church a good church? I think so. Because I have not said which Church it is, you have no way of knowing whether or not they are a great church. I listen to their sermons every week and I usually see Christ exalted and worshiped, but that doesn’t always work itself down in the ways that it needs to. Something is amiss here and somewhere something is breaking down. This is an inescapable fact. If the three Church kids I’ve encountered have have no idea even what they are talking about and can’t tell you what the gospel is or who Jesus is and what role he plays in salvation, or even how to be saved, after attending this Church for years and years, then their spiritual maturity is not a priority, and they are letting these kids down.