Coach Dave Daubenmire
August 22, 2013
I didn’t “go to church” last Sunday.
I made the decision that I would rather spend some time at home reading my Bible than go down the street to the local social club. I’m glad I didn’t go.
get me wrong, I believe that it is imperative that we “assemble
ourselves together” and that the fellowship of the saints is important.
But I find so much of American Christianity is shallow, and as a result,
so many American Christian Biblical understanding is shallow as well.
American-style Christianity is different from any other Christianity that you will find anywhere.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me uncomfortable. In fact, that is what I think has made the “Gospel” so ineffective in America today. You do agree with me, don’t you, that the American Gospel has lost its savor?
Nearly 85% of Americans currently self-identify as Christian yet Christian-values are not really very common place in America anymore. True followers are mocked and ridiculed
The Apostle Paul described our condition as “a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” That is where I believe the American church sits…looking like the church…but completely oblivious to the “weightier matters of the law.”
If I could be so blunt, I believe that for the most part American Christianity has become a “different Gospel.” Let me explain.
The Gospel has been described as “the Good News” and the Gospel principles should be relevant no matter on what part of the globe you happen to live.
I’ll never forget a brief meeting I had with a missionary FROM Africa. (You read that right. He was a missionary TO America FROM Africa.) A mutual friend invited the two of us to have lunch. At the conclusion of the meeting my new African friend looked me in the eyes and said:
“Please don’t send anymore American missionaries to our country. The American Gospel is not welcome in our nation. The message of wealth and prosperity does not work for our people. Most are doing everything they can do to feed their families and stay alive. The American Gospel is a false Gospel. It destroys our people by creating a false hope of material blessing.”
Just last week I had another conversation with a different young Christian man who was visiting America. It seems that one of the families he was visiting had invited him to attend church with them on Sunday morning. When I met with him later that afternoon I inquired of him how “the service” had been.
“I was really disappointed Coach. No blood, no cross, no sin, no repentance, and no tears. The entire sermon was about material blessings. Are all of America’s churches like that?”
The Gospel should be universal. The message should apply everywhere to all people. Much of the Gospel being preached from America’s pulpits is nothing more than Christian-Humanism.
Humanism is the belief system that puts man at the center of everything. It is the direct opposite of the Christian Gospel. Jesus calls one to lay down his life. American Christianity teaches how Jesus can enhance your life.
Jesus laid down His life that we might live. The true Gospel message demands that the individual convert die as well…die to self, to sin, to our selfish nature. American Christianity does not demand obedience to the Word. American Christianity avoids sacrifice. It is all about what Jesus can get for you.
As my friend Flip likes to say, “Everyone wants to follow Jesus until they find out where he is going. He is heading to a cross and He asks you to pick up yours daily and follow Him.”
Jesus taught that to really live one must die.
That is not the message that the American-Gospel is promoting.
Would Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” message sell in Syria where Christians are struggling to avoid the suicide squads hunting down followers of Christ? Would Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now” work for those in the slums of Indonesia where children rummage through the dumps looking for a meal? Would the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s programming reach the darkened hearts of Ethiopia with millions of displaced people ravaging for the simple necessities of life?
Would your Pastor’s sermon from last week bring freedom and deliverance to those in war-torn Sudan? If not, then it is “no Gospel at all.”
Last Sunday morning I happened to turn on the TV to see what “preaching” was on the airwaves. I listened to parts of three-different messages in the 15 minutes I could handle. One “pastor” spoke of overcoming stress; another spoke about strengthening your marriage; the third spoke about our need to defend Israel.
“No blood, no cross, no sin, no repentance, and no tears.”
I couldn’t help think of my African-missionary friend… Please don’t send anymore American missionaries to our country.
America is a mess because the church is a mess.
Jude “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Prosperity is in the Gospel. Healing is in the Gospel. Marriage is in the Gospel. Joy is in the Gospel. All of them are PART of the Gospel, but none of them alone, is the Gospel.
The Gospel speaks of Spiritual things. Jesus makes this clear in John 3. Much of what we hear in our churches today is natural (material) things. If you were to do an honest self-inspection you will find that much of your prayer time is spent asking God for “stuff.”
And it is not working, America. The “life transforming” Gospel can rescue a darkened heart. A “life-enhancement” Gospel cannot. Sin and redemption is solid-rock preaching. Health and wealth preaching is sinking sand.
I came across a study this week that should cause all American Christians to take pause. According to a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute. "Almost three-quarters of women obtaining abortions in 2008 reported a religious affiliation. The largest proportion were Protestant (37 percent), and most of the rest said that they were Catholic (28 percent)…
The report adds, “Why are Christians aborting their children? They don’t fully understand and accept the gospel. And they aren’t being discipled. They know Jesus and accept Him as Savior but do not know or understand His lordship.”
During morning prayer with my wife this week I caught myself once again asking God to “bless my stuff”…you know how it goes. I was praying for peace for Michele, protection for our kids, the favor of God on our lives…and all of those things are noble. However, dying to oneself means that those things should no longer be paramount in my Christian walk.
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“Use me Lord, transform me Lord, forgive me Lord, direct me Lord, speak through me Lord, deliver me Lord” are the prayers of a devotee of Christ.
If the sermons you are hearing today are not relevant on every continent in the world…if you are hearing an Americanized, humanistic, self-enhancement Gospel…a Gospel that requires nothing of you…then you are hearing no Gospel at all.
“No blood, no cross, no sin, no repentance, and no tears.”
Easy- believism is draining the power from the Gospel. American Christianity needs some persecution. Persecution brings commitment.
American Christians do not like carrying crosses.
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