Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rape of the Gospel


Last night my friend Jesse, who I have tried vigorously to convert to blogism, taught the study last night at high school beach trip for his church. He talked about the early Church “pre-Constantine” era vs. the Church now. The focus of His message was the importance and essentiality of “community.”

Jesus talked a ton about community, “revolution only happens in community.” It was honestly an awesome study. It was interesting to hear an objective view point that Jesse read. He read an insert from a book entitled "Daily Life in Ancient Rome" which read that the Churches “brotherhood” was what “transformed thousands.” I thought the message was a great call to Christians to live in generous loving community without always holding an agenda of conversion or “evangelism.” The youth pastor closed the evening with a few notes. He asked a question that cleanly snipped the balls off of Jesse’s message, for lack of a better term. He explained that it broke his heart that the students were doing nothing to “change” their community “outside the body of Christ” and then asked the dreaded question; “how many people do you know who would go to Hell if they died tomorrow?” This question once again brought the focus of converting people back to center. Ouch!

Is that what it’s all about? Do we really care more about people’s death than life? I don’t!

We’re constantly focused on symptoms (sorry I’ve used that word a lot). Hell after death is a result of Hell during life. I wrote a post called “starting now” a while back on this subject. If all we care is about Hell when they die what about the people living there now? Cause there’s a bunch of them. There are some people who just lead miserable lives, There are those who don’t know they can be free (read Christine’s post). Have you heard about Darfur? Do we even care about them?

As Jesse said in so many words… The Church is a revolutionary, subversive movement. It is voraciously, ravenously, rapaciously treading toward freedom, toward the freedom that has been paid for by Christ and is, therefore, deserved by everyone living in Hell. It’s a power that cannot be demoralized, intimidated, emaciated, withered or worn out by darkness. It is lead by God and leading toward restoration here, now, within history.

23 comments:

Ashley said...

Last night was a great study that Jesse led. He hit the nail on the head (I had to throw that one in because my best friend, his girl friend, always makes fun of me for trying to say "cool" things). What the youth pastor said annoyed me too. It's sad to me how many people focus on things that the peole they are reaching out to don't even care about. It doesn't make sense to me. Great post Wes!!

Jennifer said...

Oh, I am soooo with you brother! Jesus came that we might have LIFE, and have it abundantly.

Eric said...

i so agree man. is this jesse purple leader jesse? well i really wish i could of herd that message it sounds like somting that really needs to be herd and followed. well on another note i have one more blog its at www.egrenier.blogspot.com and that is the one that has my essay on homosexuality.
later
with love
eric

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teresa said...

Thank you, thank you thank you! If you havn't rec'd word, discussion on Salvation at my place. I'm going to link here 1st. Love the post!

WES ELLIS said...

Thank you Teresa,
I hope in your discussion that i'm not misunderstood. My prayer is that people will simply consider the messages they are sending to the World.

Maryellen said...

Ok, so lets look at the "great commission" Matt. 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teahing them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
did He mention heaven or hell there? Did he mention faith or grace? Baptising means submerging them, drenching them, in God's name, and in His will...why?
So that they would someday get into heaven? Did he say make believers, no, he said make disciples, and teach them to obey all his commands...what were his commands? Love God and Love your Neighbor. Look back in Matt. Chapter 25, how will we be judged?
by how many salvation notches we have on our belt? No, by how we dealt with the poor, the prisoner, the widows and orphans. What happened to the old standard
"they will know we are Christians by our love"
We need to let Jesus decide the eteranl destiny of the masses. It is our job to feed the hungry, clothe the naked etc etc etc. In His Name. Giving a thirsty man a drink of water will do a lot more toward "winning his soul for Christ" than giving him a tract.
oops, sort of got carried away didn't I?

WES ELLIS said...

maryellen,
It's ok that you got carried away, I appretiate what you said and am in agreement.

steve said...

good stuff man! God bless

Teresa said...

Maryellen--great stuff--AMEN!

Teresa said...

I agree Wes. We are sending a distorted message to the world, don't get me on my soap-box. I don't care if you are misunderstood--then I am too--I hope that you will pop by. This is the reason I'm doing the discussion in the first place. There are those who do not understand--I hope you will help me out.

Teresa said...

Oh, I don't know Jesse but give him and AMEN for me and tell him not to get discouraged--it's a long road. Sorry for clogging up your comments.

Heidi said...

hey, all i can say is "ouch" and "wow." I guess maybe that shows why some of us can miss the point so easily. We get so caught up in what we "should" be doing and never stop and think about the why, the who, the how. I've always found this commandment to go out and "evangelize" to be quite stale, it just makes me think there is something significant that we are missing-- like the soul of the person.

Great post.

stephanie said...

Great post Wes!!!! I don't really have anything else to say because I one hundred percent agree with everything you said and I think those things all of the time. AMEN Brother!!! Keep up the great posts...I love reading your work.

Paula said...

This whole idea of reaching others for Christ is most effectual in the context of loving community. As we learn what love is really like, we experience it and can better give it to others--inside AND outside the body of believers . . . well, I'm just another follower trying to learn to love myself, my community, and the world . . . and that learning is happening as I discover and accept the love of Christ. Until I receive it, I can't give it. But as I receive it, it flows out, right?

Good thoughts as always.

sparrow said...

It sounds that Jesse's talk was right on...but why is everyone so quick to bag on the youth pastor? It's true Hell is not to be our focus or purpose for bringing others to Christ...yet, it seemed, as you said, that his reason for poppin' the question was conversion, and to truly live in Christ you must first make that decision to follow Him...
There are many people(and apparently this youth pastor included) that havent yet shifted their perceptions of The Way to a mindset of whats going on now instead of eternity. They've been taught and have learned to think that its all about winning souls for heaven instead of hell and, instead of being so quick for everyone to jump on their case, maybe someone just needs to sit down and converse with them about it and present them this different view instead of immediatly making them wrong for their misconstrued concept.
As I read your post and the comments about this post, I just got this feeling of disdain towards the youth pastor for what was probably his only known way of prompting kids to reach their friends. That made me sad...
Other than that, I really liked your post and I do believe all us Christ followers in general need to work on the whole 'community' thing..."Love never fails."

WES ELLIS said...

Sparrow,
first of all thank you. Thank you for exposing a new view on this post. I agree we are "jumping on his case." My intent in writing this post was not to "bag" the Youth pastor (maybe his view point) but to explore what might be damaging about his statement, his question. I have had conversations with this fellow, he's very smart and very understanding but we've yet to reach an understanding on this level. I love him, he was one of my first youth pastors I've learned tons from him, so I mean not to "bag on him."

there are many who are simply sharing Jesus the best way they know how, which may not be the best way. We need to come together to encourage, not discourage.

I hope others read your comment, sparrow.

Heidi said...

Sara-

I think you are so right. I can definately say i am guilty of being judgemental toward people who just haven't been shown that there is something better. Your point is exactly right. It is so important to have understanding for the people who are just doing the best they can... even though it isn't the best there is.

stephanie said...

I just finished a post I was working on when I first read your post. Thanks for so clearly stating the point. I referenced your post because your words were so eloquent.

Anonymous said...

Maryellen
what you said and wrote was very very good

be blessed :)

Gina Burgess said...

Wes, you had me. I was with you all the way until: toward the freedom that has been paid for by Christ and is, therefore, deserved by everyone living in Hell.

From your other posts, I seriously doubt that you meant that people in Hell deserve savlation, right?

What concerns me about this is that your post is from an extreme temporal view point. When we lay 75 years (avg. life span) next to 1000 years, that is not even 10%. We will be spending eternity in either Heaven or Hell. From Jesus' description in Luke 16, Hell is a place that horrendous.

As Christians, we should most definitely be deeply concerned about where our loved ones will spend eternity. We should also be deeply concern over where the lost will spend eternity. We should also be deeply concerned about the Spiritual Growth of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Because of all these concerns, God knew that we could not do everything needed which is why we are called The Body of Christ. There are 7 Motivational Spiritual Gifts that the Holy Spirits distributes (Romans 12) in good measure according to His purposes so that we Christians will be motivated to do God's Work without becoming washed out or burned up.

These motivational gifts go along with the Ministerial Gifts Ephesians 4:11-16 and the Manifestation Gifts — 1 Corinthians 12:7-12. Hand in Hand.

While some are called to plant the seeds, some are called to water and some are called to harvest. It all works together in the Lord.

I did not mean to preach but sometimes I let go. I do like the way you blog.

WES ELLIS said...

Gina,
great comment. I think I've been misunderstood. The people living in Hell that I'm talking about are people in povery and oppression and with broken hearts and shattered morale, what Jesus would have called Hell. You should probably read my post "starting now" from a couple of months ago. Heaven is an eternal life that starts in this one, so is Hell. There are people living in Hell all around us. Yes, they deserve freedom, that's the whole mission of God, to restore the world to "heaven."

The idea of eternity being somehow more imoportant than present or separate from present is absured to me, it would have been to Jesus.

Time durration is not the measure we should use for importants. Now and eternity coinside.

I admire your concern for eternity and in some sence I share it. but where you spend the here-after is directly linked, it naturally results with where you spend your life now. so we need to actually care about peoples lives NOW.(read ecclesiastes some time)

Gina Burgess said...

Wes, I do agree with you that we should be concerned about people in the here and now and ministering to them and caring for them. After all, how we relate to people (both Christian and nonChristian)is our greatest witness!

I also agree that the two coincide. We are known by our fruit. All I am saying is that we should excell at living the Christian life to the point that whoever we meet, meets Jesus; and in the process of meeting Jesus, gets their needs met, too. In my book it is not an either/or. It is a this and this.

You have an interesting blog, Wes and I like your comments I've run across on other blogs, as well. I'll be coming back :)