Monday, November 03, 2003
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.
-2 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV
Most of us probably went to church yesterday. A few of us preached. A few of us taught or led bible studies. Some may have led worship, or counted the offering. And some sat and took in what God as saying through all of it, expecting to be challenged, affirmed, changed, motivated. And some - well, some of us were anxious for lunch cooking in the crockpot at home.
From all of those perspectives, what do you think "preach the word" means? The problem tends to be that those listening don't expect to change, and those preaching don't expect change to happen. There's a fairly decent transfer of information, but no life, no passion, no real transformation. I read that in Jesus' time, "Trivial Pursuit" would've been a ludicrous thought. Yet today, it's not just a board game - it's a way of life. We work hard for the wrong things, and we slack off and live undisciplined in the areas that really matter. That's the way it is Sunday mornings in this western world. Church has become a trivial pursuit.
I heard Os Guinness yesterday in an interview on our local christian radio station. Paraphrasing: "There are many christians in our churches today who are atheists unaware." Because we don't preach the word at all - or because we don't take in the preached word - or because we don't know the word and can't stand to be rebuked, corrected, or even encouraged towards real discipleship - he's absolutely correct.
UPDATE: I just did a google search on "atheists unaware" to see if he'd used that remark anywhere else in an essay or something. I found this article on a protest by local atheists in Dallas/Fort Worth. Interesting read.