Authentic Christianity!

2809727356_feb9b8555f_mEvery serious Coke drinker knows the difference between K-Mart AC Cola and Coca Cola – the real thing. Ps 34:8 says, “Taste and see that God is good.” How people taste and see that God is good is they taste and see his followers. When people taste of you, what picture do they get of God? Do they get the real thing or a cheap imitation like AC Cola?

We’re living in a culture that celebrates image but yearns for authentic reality. We desperately want to keep up appearances but under the surface we want the real thing. When followers of Christ misrepresent Christ we are giving the world a false reality of who Christ is.

Authentic Christianity is characterized by LOVE in 3 contexts. Matt 22:37 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and you shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Unfortunately, both in the church and in the world there is a distorted picture of what love is. Love isn’t romantic feelings, warm fuzzies, avoiding issues and seeping them under the carpet because you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. Biblical love is sacrificial, it’s commitment and responsibility, truth, obedience to Scripture, patient, etc (1 Cor 13 gives us a great authentic definition of love). 

Authentic Christianity expresses God’s love in 3 contexts:

Christology: The way you think about and love Christ and his gospel.

Many people have a distorted perception of who Jesus is but there are 2 dimensions of Jesus divinity that we must embrace. The incarnation of Jesus into the world (John 1:14) and the triumphant exaltation of Jesus (Rev 19:11).

Ecclesiology: The way you think about and love the Church

Rom 12:10 calls us to love one another with brotherly affection. Jesus said in John 13:35 “By this shall all people know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.” The church is not a business or a building but a community of regenerated believers who confess JC as Lord. In obedience to Scripture organize themselves under qualified leadership, gather regularly together for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and go to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and joy.

Missiology: The way you think about mission and love people in the culture

Christianity falls short if it doesn’t include love for people in the culture. Christ has called us to be missionaries to the culture and not to be simply spectators or consumers of spiritual goods and services. You cannot say you are a Christ follower and ignore the culture. Christians exist in culture to lead and love people into Jesus way of life.

Lead the Change!

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6 Responses to “Authentic Christianity!”

  1. In trying to make sense of your approach, the following thoughts attributed to Brian McLaren, come to mind:

    “Does it make sense for a good being to create creatures who will experience infinite torture, infinite time, infinite–you know, never be numbed in their consciousness? I mean, how would you even create a universe where that sort of thing could happen? It just sounds–It really raises some questions about the goodness of God. …

    “The traditional understanding says that God asks of us something that God is incapable of Himself. God asks us to forgive people. But God is incapable of forgiving. God can’t forgive unless He punishes somebody in place of the person He was going to forgive. God doesn’t say things to you–Forgive your wife, and then go kick the dog to vent your anger. God asks you to actually forgive. And there’s a certain sense to that, A COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF THE ATONEMENT PRESENTS A GOD WHO IS INCAPABLE OF FORGIVING. UNLESS HE KICKS SOMEBODY ELSE. …

    “… one of the huge problems is the traditional understanding of hell. Because if the cross is in line with Jesus’ teaching then–I won’t say, the only, and I certainly won’t say even the primary–but a primary meaning of the cross is that the kingdom of God doesn’t come like the kingdoms of the this world, by inflicting violence and coercing people. But that the kingdom of God comes through suffering and willing, voluntary sacrifice. But in an ironic way, THE DOCTRINE OF HELL BASICALLY SAYS, NO, THAT THAT’S NOT REALLY TRUE. THAT IN THE END, GOD GETS HIS WAY THROUGH COERCION AND VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION AND DOMINATION, just like every other kingdom does. The cross isn’t the center then. The cross is almost a distraction and false advertising for God”

    • David,

      Is there a reason that you decided to submit some elses thoughts? You neglect to say where you stand. As for your friends ideas, i have never seen a bible that suggests/teaches the above. Its like adding cordial to water and trying to tell someone its water. God forgives me for my screw ups everyday, and he doesn’t then go and unforgive (or “kick”) someone else..

  2. Re: the Brian McLaren post…
    Wow! Where do we start?
    Whenever taking commentary or quotes on board, first you need to look at the source, where it’s coming from and on what grounds… Unfortunately Mr McLaren doesn’t hold much weight and has completely missed the point.

    I’d heard via the grapevine about Brian McLaren and the “emerging church”, but I had no idea he was this out of touch! No wonder he’s so widely criticised by his peers. For an overview, see this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv6uxCch7oc

    This man lays with everything but stands for nothing!

    David – in reference to your excerpt here; McLaren completely misses the point of a loving God that reaches out to man kind without depriving us of a key component of love… “free will”.

    McLaren is basically trying to justify the question:
    “How can a good God, send people to hell?”
    This question assumes God is sending people to hell against their own will, but this is not the case. God desires all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
    CS Lewis puts it perfectly: “The door of hell is locked on the inside. All who go there choose to do so. There are only 2 kinds of people in the end: Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’, and those who reject God, and He says, ‘alright then, thy will be done’.

    God is both loving and just. The perfect example of God’s love and justice are on the cross. God sent His son to pay the penalty for our sins so that His justice could be satisfied and His love released. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin against the eternal God demands eternal death (Rev 20:14-15). Therefore, when Christ died for our sins, the Just suffered for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18) that he might bring us to God.

    God’s justice demands that sin be punished, but His love compels Him to save sinners.

    [Some excerpts taken from a book I’d highly recommend, “Who Made God” (Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geiesler) summarised]

    McLaren changes the frame work to please all suitors – therefore all are right and relative, hence there’s no such thing as Absolute Truth (see comments on different post re: this – https://activatechurch.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/there-are-not-many-pathways-to-god/#comments)

    Corey – another great & challenging message that blends the complete heart of God for His people. It’s easy to get side tracked in 1 or 2 elements of these 3 areas. Gotta get the ‘special blend’ happening 😉

  3. I think you have missed some of the meaning of the Brian McLaren quote.
    God must punish someone else – the second person of the trinity – in order to forgive. You might say God is punishing Himself, nevertheless, He needs to effectively “vent” his anger. Also, have you really thought about the moral meaning of eternal punishment? Are you saying you do not see inconsistencies between the message of the incarnate and exaltant Jesus?

    There is a downside to belonging to a church organisation that seems to have little time for dissenting beliefs or seems to discourage critical analysis of belief. This type of critique is widely available and accessible – to ignore it now is to really delay the process of intellectual development. At some stage, the intellectual straightjacket will become very uncomfortable.

    For example, here is a critique of plenary, verbal inspiration:

    Another Look at the Doctrine of Plenary Verbal Inspiration
    http://www.accuros.com/thornbush/pollen/plenary_verbal_inspiration.htm

    The article discusses various problems with the doctrine. Yet as a member of Activate Church, one is “required” to believe it.

    (By the way, “where I stand” will not make any difference to the validity or otherwise of an argument, will it? Truth is not dependent on personal opinion or whim, is it?)

    • Yes Christ carries the burden of my sin, when i accept him i accept his gift of eternal life. Not as a reward but as an act of love, and if i am to reject life is there any other option than death?

      How can one “dissent” truth? You cannot disagree or differ in opinion to truth, you can only ignore. And contrary to the above statement Activate is very much an encourager of informed (not ignorant) Christians, it would be rediculous to expect someone to live by a book he/she had never read.

  4. First & foremost, Corey – another great & challenging message that blends the complete heart of God for His people. It’s easy to get side tracked in 1 or 2 elements of these 3 areas. Gotta get the ‘special blend’ happening 😉

    Re: the Brian McLaren post…
    Wow! Where do we start?
    Whenever taking commentary or quotes on board, first you need to look at the source, where it’s coming from and on what grounds… Unfortunately Mr McLaren doesn’t hold much weight and has completely missed the point.

    I’d heard via the grapevine about Brian McLaren and the “emerging church”, but I had no idea he was this out of touch! No wonder he’s so widely criticised by his peers. For an overview, see this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv6uxCch7oc

    This man lays with everything but stands for nothing!

    David – in reference to your excerpt here; McLaren completely misses the point of a loving God that reaches out to man kind without depriving us of a key component of love… “free will”.

    McLaren is basically trying to justify the question:
    “How can a good God, send people to hell?”
    This question assumes God is sending people to hell against their own will, but this is not the case. God desires all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
    CS Lewis puts it perfectly: “The door of hell is locked on the inside. All who go there choose to do so. There are only 2 kinds of people in the end: Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’, and those who reject God, and He says, ‘alright then, thy will be done’.

    God is both loving and just. The perfect example of God’s love and justice are on the cross. God sent His son to pay the penalty for our sins so that His justice could be satisfied and His love released. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin against the eternal God demands eternal death (Rev 20:14-15). Therefore, when Christ died for our sins, the Just suffered for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18) that he might bring us to God.

    God’s justice demands that sin be punished, but His love compels Him to save sinners. These are just a few points to be made…

    [Some excerpts adlib’d from a book I’d highly recommend, “Who Made God” (Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geiesler)]

    McLaren changes the frame work to please all suitors – therefore all are right and relative, hence there’s no such thing as Absolute Truth (more comments – https://activatechurch.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/there-are-not-many-pathways-to-god/#comments)

    (I totally agree with your comment on Truth (not sure McLaren does). Regarding your stance, it seems that you’re not sure where you stand and are searching – which i respect if its honest. Your previous posts reflected science / evolution, now your trying a new angle…)

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