Friday, June 27, 2008

Casual Christianity

"When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." Matthew 13:21

Casual Christianity is an oxymoron. There is no such thing as a low-commitment version of our faith. It is impossible to say, "I'm a follower of Jesus, but I'm not prepared to lay down my life for the Gospel." Both of those assertions cannot be true. "When Jesus calls a man," to quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "He bids him come and die." Ours is a faith that demands our entire allegiance; it can be no half-hearted thing.

Church history is filled with martyrs. Missionary kids have seen their parents executed. Many Christians have lost a spouse or child to persecution. Whole communities have been tortured or imprisoned. And many have given their own lives. Whether this is a tragedy or the glory of the Church-and it is, in fact, both-is not the point. It is a given. It is assumed of Jesus' followers that they will follow Him where ever he goes. And He goes to places like the Cross.

Martyrdom is not something that confronts most of us. Few of us are persecuted. Yet all of us can say with assurance that sometimes following our Savior is difficult. He asks us to make sacrifices. He asks us to be obedient, even when obedience is painful. And though He doesn't ask all of us to die for Him, He does ask all of us to live for Him. When we were bought by His blood, we became His possession. Gloriously, joyfully His possession, but His nonetheless.

One of the great weaknesses of today's American church is our unwillingness to humble ourselves as our Savior did. We are often consumer Christians, shopping around for a faith that suits us well. But when we really encounter Christ, we face a choice: Stand firm in our faith, despite our many tests and troubles, or settle for a lukewarmness that can barely, if at all, be called "Christian." We must be prepared for the trials. They will come. And how we respond will tell us-and others-whether we are His disciples.

Chris Tiegreen


Jay said...


Hey just wanted to stretch you a bit with a couple of questions...

Is the willingness to die for our faith the beginning point of our faith or a growth/maturity point in our journey of faith?

How much of the blame for consumerism in the American church belongs to the institutions themselves?