I get a little cranky with the Gospel Coalition, in fact I try not to read them. Here is their latest article that has annoyed me, “When Christianity Doesn’t Work.“
I understand the intent behind these kind of articles and sentiments, the desire to protect people from false promises and wild expectation. God is not like Santa Claus, or rather, God is not ALWAYS like Santa Claus. Sometimes we don’t get precisely what we ask for, but most of the time we really do get more than we can carry, more than we deserve, more than we can handle.
The riches of His grace, His abundant goodness, just a heaping helping of all that is good and glorious.
Recently I got a couple bits of criticism from friends and I had to sit and ponder over it. Both of these comments were said in the heat of the moment, mostly over politics. First, “you’re hurting your Christian witness.” The second, “you’re hurting the established Christian character of this nation!”
I like that last one because it makes me sound very big and bad, very powerful. Totally crushing it over here, single handedly dismantling the established Christian character of an entire nation…..
Guilty! Totally guilty, and totally unrepentant about it, too. I can’t think of anything I despise more. This alleged Christian-reputation, Christian-branding thing, is just like nails on a chalkboard to me. I would very much like to walk up and poke it in the eye ball.
The “established Christian character” of this nation is a fancy professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, busy harping on the idea that Christianity doesn’t work. I don’t wish to single him out, there are literally thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of other people creating the, “established Christian character of a nation,” in a similar way.
I have little or no respect for “evangelicism as a brand.” All they have ever really taught me is that God is angry and full of wrath, you totally deserve to suffer, and Christianity doesn’t work.
Well, sign me right up! Can I join your Country Club of Perpetual Misery? Alas no! Much of branded evangelicism also has some big issues with girls. We’re really skeery, the root of all evil, the cause of all sin, easily deceived, prone to….. dismantle the established Christian character of a nation??
Maybe it really needs dismantling? Maybe what hurts our witness the most is how we have built such an idol to the, “Christian brand” that we struggle to even see the forest for all the trees?
I hope you can tell I’m being snarky about girls and the evangelicism brand. Oh, it’s 100% true, I’m just really grateful for it, so very blessed to be an outsider, not a potential candidate for admittance into the “evangelical brand.” I can easily see how I could have got lost there, trapped in culture, trying to climb some kind of hierarchal ladder. Not being a part of all that frees me up to just follow Jesus, to share what I think and believe, and to loudly proclaim, Christianity works, perhaps not the evangelical brand so much, but Jesus Himself.
I’m deadly serious about that. I sat in church once and cried through an entire sermon because I knew the pastor could not speak what was on his heart because he served a brand. It was a good brand too, and he was a good man, he just wasn’t allowed to say what the Lord wanted him to say, because he was forced to serve people instead.
It probably sounds very virtuous or it feels good and noble, to say things like, God didn’t promise us health, wealth, and comfort, just endless suffering but on the bright side, we’re saved from His wrath to come.
God gave me a brain and a heart. I don’t believe He called me to worship a wrath filled God, whose promises are not true, and to enter a faith that doesn’t work. The God I know is generous, He loves His children dearly, and He tells us, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”