Since my earlier post, on the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America, I have been thinking about what I wrote and suddenly realised a parallel in it with the Church.
In my post I was talking about the fact that I had knowledge of racism but no real first hand experience of it which made it hard for me to really appreciate the magnitude of Mr Obama’s achievement.
I never lived anywhere where there was any form of visible segregation and never saw anyone do anything that was particularly racist. How then can I ever truly understand or even believe that real racism exists.
It was as I was thinking about this that I realised how similar this is to the problems that people have with Christianity.
Many people end up ‘leaving the church’ because Christianity is only theoretical to them. It’s all knowledge without experience.
I have read many times recently of people who grew up in the church but when they got older they were taught different things by friends and teachers and had to decide which idea, which piece of knowledge they wanted to believe. Some chose to believe the bible but others chose to believe whatever else they were being taught – and subsequently stopped believing in God.
Because their Christianity was purely head knowledge, it wasn’t experiential. They had heard about the love and power of God but had never experienced it for themselves. God was just an idea, a concept to them. They didn’t KNOW Him.
Now for some people that is their own fault because they are simply not open to God showing His love and power to them. For others it is the fault of the Church.
Why do I blame the Church? Simple:
- As a Church we so many times do not show God’s love, we do not demonstrate it.
- As a Church we do not teach and encourage people to meet with God and receive His love for themselves and we do not teach them how to be open to His peace.
- As a Church we have backed away from the Holy Spirit and some people never experience and infilling of the Spirit and the comfort He supplies
- As a Church we have drawn back from the miraculous. Most Christians today have never experienced healing, casting out of demons or any other miraculous signs.
- As a Church we have neglected our spiritual gifts. Many people have never heard a prophecy or word of knowledge which speaks directly to them in a way that can only come from God – and they have never experienced any other spiritual gifts being used.
Do I need to say more?
How much of your Christianity is all knowledge and no experience?
How much of what your church does is based around theoretical teaching with no demonstration?
How much are you a ‘do as I say not as I do’ Christian?