Home > Book discussion > Book discussion: Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer, part 1

Book discussion: Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer, part 1

Michael Spencer was one of those guys saying things most people weren’t.

The Internet Monk often discussed topics, and his conclusions, regarding God, Jesus, Christianity, and the church that by default seemed uniquely his own. Relatively few of his peers seemed to be journeying down the same path Spencer was on, although by his sizeable audience quite a few readers seemed to be with him on that same journey.

You don’t find a lot of blogs like Internet Monk on the web, and you won’t find a lot of books like Mere Churchianity in the bookstore.

Mere Churchianity (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD) is the late Michael Spencer’s first, and perhaps only, book, and he leaves us with thought-provoking material that, again, few people talk about but everyone needs to consider.

What we’ll do here is, instead of a book review, do a discussion of some of the topics Spencer raises. And we’ll be doing this discussion in parts, and without spoiling the entire book. I would like you to purchase it if you can, and Spencer would have too 🙂

Part 1 (the thread you’re reading now) covers Chapter 1 (When Church Signs Lie). In the interest of keeping the blog articles fairly short, we’ll probably cover a chapter at a time.

Chapter 1 refers to seeing signs in front of churches that promise Jesus is there and will be there…and Jesus is not.

Many things are promised on those church signs – revivals, the mission of Jesus, helping the hurt, fighting the culture war.

While Spencer believes that Jesus is alive and active in this world, he (Spencer) has become skeptical that these churches are delivering what they claim. He takes on the prosperity gospel, Christian consumerism, near-total dearth of discipleship and the tendency to attach Jesus to whatever one’s agenda is in order to legitimatize it, as well as preachers who tie God’s work to their church’s schedule.

Meanwhile, numerous Christians, frustrated over not seeing Jesus in what the church has become, are leaving the institutional church, often after looking for any sign of God and seeing instead sign after sign of religion.

These people come from all walks of life, and have for the most part rejected religion but still maintain a spirituality that keeps them connected to Jesus, if not to the institutional church. Spencer compares them to the prodigal son, with the older brother caught up in ‘churchianity’. And Spencer asks if those who have left the church are doing so to indulge their sins, or to abandon the churchianity religion of the older brother.

This is where Spencer’s prodigal son analogy breaks down, because the son clearly wanted to indulge himself; many people who leave the church do so out of frustration, and pain, not so they can engage in unlimited sin.

Still, the analogy to the older brother is applicable here. The older brother seemed to be about rules, and what was proper and holy. Many churches seem to be as well.

As Spencer said, “In Jesus’ story, God forgives a major-league failure and throws him a part. Religion wants justice, but the Father knows what is needed is grace and mercy.”

Spencer clearly sees multitudes of Christians abandoning the religious, churchianity-type church institutions because they promise Christ and deliver justice, and lack not just the grace and mercy Christ gives His people, but Christ Himself.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book myself, and my opinions are my own and not those of the author nor the publisher. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  1. madison*bella
    June 29, 2010 at 10:38 am

    That’s a big pet peeve of mine — I really don’t like “catchy” church signs or slogans. There is one in our city that says:

    “Jesus Fellowship: Jesus Saves, Heals, and Satisfies.”

    Everytime I drive by it bothers me very much. If I was an unbeliever, what in the world would I be thinking about such a sign?! He “saves”? Saves from WHAT? If I’m an unbeliever, I don’t even know or think I need “saving” from anything, unless someone comes and preaches the Law to me first. I may think I’m possibly a person “in need of improvement,” a little “self help” (aren’t we all?) — but in need of “saving”? Not hardly.

    Jesus “heals”? Oh, another Benny Hinn charlatan out to rob little old ladies on TV. Even the most pagan unbeliever knows the sordid stories of purported fake healings on TV and in Pensacola. Not the best thing to put on your church sign. Besides, just because He sometimes heals doesn’t make it a cornerpiece of His ministry. It gives the impression He *always* heals in response to a person asking.

    And “satisfies”? That last one takes the cake. 🙂 I can’t help but think of “Jesus the Ultimate Snickers Bar” whenever I drive by Jesus Fellowship (which is very often unfortunately).

    Even for a Christian looking for a church home, something is very “off” about that whole slogan. Church slogans cheapen the majesty of God, imo. Just put a sign in front of the church with the church’s name, maybe the service times, maybe list what denomination the church is part of. Instead of catchy slogans, let the church’s biggest advertisement be in the form of changed Christians who are out making an impact on their city…

  2. jlo
    June 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    just popping in to say hello, will be back this afternoon.

  3. Buster
    June 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Yeah, I don’t think “prodigal” really fits. It’s more like dad turned the place into a casino or a carnival, and I’m leaving to go find honest work!

    But it’s true that they’ve been pushing the “Jesus in here” thing for hundreds of years. They want to maintain that monopoly and dispense out little servings of grace in exchange for your time or your money.

    People are discovering that the fancy buildings, the official and artificial authority structures, the debt obligations, the programs and the artificial trees are all unnecessary. Jesus is in the church, but it’s not one made with hands.

  4. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Those who have left the institutional church because they:

    Rejected religion?
    Im not so sure about that… because after all, Christianity is a religion.

    are prodigals?
    As Buster said, prodigal doesnt really seem to fit…

    and what is the issue with rules, and with what is proper and Holy?
    I dont think people are.leaving the church because of rules,
    though maybe because of misapplied rules…
    What is proper… to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God
    why would people leave the church because of that?
    Holy? Without holiness no one will see Jesus. so if people have left the church because of holiness, they aint gonna find Jesus somewhere else without it.

    I do agree, people have left the institutional church because they dont see Jesus there.

  5. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Is anyone going to share what it is like to see Jesus,
    To know His presence, to be aware that He is there?
    Where have you found Him?

  6. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I will tell you why I left the church

    It lacked love

    It was all about what they could get/extract and once they couldnt extract what they wanted or found someone they thought was more suitable for their purposes:
    that was it, game over!

    They didnt have the time, interest nor energy to spare from that point forward.

  7. BrianD
    June 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve seen those kinds of billboards myself, Madison.
    Perhaps their biggest influence comes when people condemn themselves because they realize following Jesus isn’t necessarily a ticket to a great, healthy, wealthy life….

  8. BrianD
    June 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Religion means different things to different people, Sis.

    Some can reject the going-to-church-on-Sunday thing, and all of the social and religious expectations their church put on them, and still consider themselves saved, and followers of Jesus without being religious. I guess it depends on how you define it.

    Christianity is a religion…and so much more…and I’m sure you would agree with that.

  9. Buster
    June 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Most recently, Jesus was there at the E-Fest! We had gathered in His name from all over. We could have found doctrinal differences to argue about, but didn’t choose to. We found community and fellowship. It was far more than just people with common interests getting together. We were called together, and He was there.

    I’ve found him downtown, praying with brothers and sisters from very different walks of life… out alone on my bike, or in my kayak…

  10. BrianD
    June 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    “It lacked love”

    Then you didn’t leave because of holiness. And I believe the people iMonk is referring to haven’t either.

    A lack of love on the other hand…and I can also attest to feeling like you’re lost in a sea of anonymity, not having the social tools or the money to make a place for yourself in a church full of extroverted, successful, professionals who are a step above you in social class.

    I know what it’s like to have only Jesus in common…and to realize that He wasn’t enough to bring us together. Their fault, my fault perhaps, but not His…

  11. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Buster,

    thats really neat! So glad to hear of the time at Efest!
    and Ive found Christ as well, when serving even “the least of these”.

  12. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    BrianD~

    I might be a bit mistaken here;

    “The older brother seemed to be about rules, and what was proper and holy. Many churches seem to be as well.”

    Ive always seen the older brother as someone who saw himself as responsible and a good steward who loved and cared for his father. When the younger brother went out and wasted all his portion of the inheritance, the older brother was angry when the younger brother came back and the Father gave him a party. The older brother didnt understand. On the surface it seemed to be a contradiction, sort of like reverse psychology. It appeared the father was rewarding the younger son for his foolish living… The Father explained not for his foolish living, but Because he came to his senses and returned!

    I didnt see holiness in the church… I saw blatant chicanery,
    and I said enough!

  13. Em
    June 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Spencer quoted above: “In Jesus’ story, God forgives a major-league failure and throws him a part. Religion wants justice, but the Father knows what is needed is grace and mercy.”

    well, i didn’t think that i’d be popping in here to disagree with Spencer, God keep his soul…

    BUT, if you think about it, God’s integrity and, perhaps the whole unseen universe, demands justice (not by man’s definition of same). Grace and mercy achieved that justice. – Only God thru the Son’s obedience (total) could achieve that just payment of the debt we incurred waay back there. Am i disagreeing or splitting hairs? dunno – but God because of His holiness, must always be just – the miracle is not that justice was tossed aside, but that God could find a just way to resolve the (sini) issue.
    not a request here for an in-depth discussion of a theological issue – just me in the pontification pew again

    now i’m obliged to read the whole thread – will try to do it with my keyboard unused, tho 🙂

  14. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    BrianD~

    You are right, the fault is not His.

    Lost in a sea of anonymity, in a place where no one REALLY cared.
    and to offer you a bit of consolation~
    even those who have means, and the time to greatly support the church, even those who have the social tools, who esteem themselves as a step above in the social class get burned and used by the church and perhaps, no Im pretty sure,… even moreso.

    I look back to days when i was among what some would call the poorest low-life, heathen scum of America, and then fast forward to church days full of well to do preppy, yuppy, DINKS, genXers and frankly, Im looking forward to going back to the old days… as Michael once said something like, “I would rather be with an honest sinner any day” well I cant remember the rest exactly, but went something like,” Than a religious hypocrite/liar,,,

    I couldnt handle all of the pretense, pomp and cirsumstance, jockeying for position, the whose who of CC,

    and maybe thats Where God is taking me on in this amazing journey
    not with the highminded, but with the lowly and truly humble sinners…
    Genuine honest to God sinners… not the ones with false humility under the guise of Christs name.

    okay, so Im really pouring out my heart here
    maybe I shouldnt

  15. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Em~

    You are neither disagreeing or splitting hairs,
    You are clarifying! And doing a fantastic job!

  16. madison*bella
    June 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Michael Spencer wrote:
    “For many of you, leaving the church may have been the most spiritually healthy thing you ever did.”

    ..
    This has to be one of the most damaging sentences in Spencer’s book, but unfortunately it’s also one of the main themes.

    People do get hurt in churches. It’s true.

    People get hurt in marriages. People get hurt in high school relationships. People get hurt in workplace dramas and relationships gone wrong. People get hurt by online blogging. People get hurt by harsh bosses. People get hurt by controlling parents.

    People get hurt by other people. People hurt people. It’s always been that way, and always will be that way, until He returns.

    But just as we don’t villify the institution of marriage, or villify high school friendships, or advise people to leave their workplaces or the Internet or seek emancipation from their parents — the issue is not the Church. Nor is it wise to counsel (even encourage!) people to abandon the God-ordained means of grace and maturity in the Christian’s life. The Church is the bride of Christ, He will always love and cherish her, she is the apple of His eye, warts and all — and to tell people it’s ok to leave the Church, for all her flaws, is horrifying. imo…

    But I have an exceedingly high view of the Church and so most of what Spencer wrote about and stood for, I’m not able to truck with anyway. I don’t deny rough things happen in churches, and that church leadership can often run right off the rails, and that Jesus can seem conspicuously absent at times — but the bottom line for me is: this is His wondrous Church. Yes, the Church has become an institution. So has marriage. “Institution” is not an ugly word. God ordained the Church, just as He ordained marriage, and families, and workplaces. We are to honor the Church, greatly esteem her, and do everything we can to prosper her and her mission. In the process, we ourselves are blessed and cared for, because after all — we ARE the Church. 🙂

  17. Em
    June 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    SC asked what and where we have “seen” Jesus… I have seen Christ in people manifested in a lot of ways… I have never seen Jesus

    I have been aware of Him a few times in my life, so very imminent and powerful and perfect… He radiates acceptance, love and resolution of all sin and evil…

    It may be a girl thing and, not make sense to the male mind, but i’ve always remembered two beautiful women (Ruth Graham and Jim Elliot’s widow Elizabeth) in expressing their earthly love said of their men: he’s worth waiting for. We are all the luckiest Bride that ever was

    i have a daughter who used to say, when she was a teenager, that you could take all the good secular love songs and with very few changes sing them to and about Jesus… By His grace, I’ve seen enough of Jesus, The Christ to know (not just theorize) that He’s worth waiting for…

    I’m really hoping to read more comments on her question –

  18. Em
    June 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    MB, the only place where we might/maybe part company is in what to label “The Church.” I’d say leave any institutional or situation that drives a wedge between you and the Lord; no matter who’s sign is out front…

    you are absolutely correct, tho when you say, “we ARE the Church.” amen and you are a precious Saint in the Body. i am enjoying (maybe it’s carnal) seeing folks come here and expressing their search for reverence and a place to find and fellowship in His majesty. The churches used to have a sign ‘up front’ to the effect: “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before Him” – to come into the sanctuary in a less than prayerful (at least outwardly) attitude might have gotten you removed … dunno … anybody know if they did/do that anywhere?

  19. Buster
    June 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    M*B,
    God has indeed instituted a church, it’s just not the “institutional” church.

    It’s like if I said, “the public school system is bad, and should be abolished,” and you said, “Not all education is bad! Just because there are some bad teachers does not mean we should stop teaching kids!”

    It’s the system that is either corrupt or substantially failing to deliver on its commission — not the principle itself that’s bad.

  20. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    “For many of you, leaving the church may have been the most spiritually healthy thing you ever did.”

    MB,
    for me it was quite true, it was the healthiest thing Ive ever done. I was able to wake up and smell the coffee. At a distance there was a beneficial vantage point which was not possible up close and personal.

    and I would recommend that for others who are also in a system ( to use Busters words) that is “corrupt or substantially failing”,
    Not for the purposes to leave church entirely, Or to say ALL churches are bad, but most certainly to step out of the “Institutional” problematic church for a season or two to regroup and gain ones bearings. That would not include abstaining from gathering together with the Body of Christ in small gatherings and friendships.

  21. sisterchristian
    June 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    people get hurt by people

    yes thats true,
    But their are degrees and levels of hurt

    we dont tell a young girl whose been in an abusive situation
    (whether her fiance was either neglectful,manipulative for his own purposes, all the way to physical abuse) That people hurt people, so dont ditch the realtionship.

    People need to understand its okay to walk out of churches that are manipulative, neglectful, and sadly even to the extent of abusive in a variety of ways.

    Not only is it okay to walk out of those situations,
    But we need to come alongside in encouragement and love that its NOT their fault that things went south in a big way. Because typically, in those situations the offending party twists the blame upon the injured party

  22. Another Voice
    June 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Let me echo Em here, for he makes a HUGE point.

    When speaking of God, justice, mercy, grace and love are NOT in any way to be seen as competitors, they are not to be ranked. That beautiful praise song about the blood of Jesus that ends with the words “mercy triumps over justice” practically becomes heresy with that one line.

    We must never, ever, think of these terms in any way other than complete equals within the character of God.

    Therefore, to be like Christ, we must live out these terms in our lives in a similar manner. We can do so, by means of the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.

    But let’s not imply that mankind’s failings to properly do so mean there is anything undesirable about what is God’s nature.

  23. DeadManWalking
    June 29, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    You are the church. The Church is not a meeting place, or an organization or a denomination or an institution it is a living thing and where ever any Christian is, the Church is there.

    It is al always has been New Wine in New Wineskins.

    1Jo 3:14* We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

    One evidence that we are saved is that we love our fellow Christians, if we love them we will seek them out and be willing to put up with organizational flaws are present. Be it a home fellowship or where ever if we really love our brothers and sister we will find a way to be with them.

  24. Em
    June 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    DeadMan, you mention something that has always concerned me, how do we know when to walk away from a fellowship that isn’t?

    AV, i have to take issue with you on at least one thing – i am not a ‘he.’ Next time i do an avatar thing, i’ll have to put on some pink lipstick and big earrings, i guess 🙂

  25. Another Voice
    June 29, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Nothing to do with the avatar – I just filed away sometime ago (wrongly) that Em was a ‘he’

    Very sorry for the mixup.

  26. Buster
    June 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    “The real trouble is not in fact that the Church is too rich, but that it has become heavily institutionalized, with a crushing investment in maintenance. It has the characteristics of the dinosaur and the battleship. It is saddled with a plant and programme beyond its means, so that it is absorbed in problems of supply and preoccupied with survival. The inertia of the machine is such that the financial allocations, the legalities, the channels of organization, the attitudes of mind, are all set in the direction of continuing and enhancing the status quo. If one wants to pursue a course which cuts across these channels, then most of one’s energies are exhausted before one ever reaches the enemy lines.”
    – John A.T. Robinson

  27. madison*bella
    June 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    SC,

    I do agree that, just like with marriage, if a relationship becomes extremely untenable and abusive, it may be healthiest for all parties to exit the relationship. There are certainly other churches one can go to. I’m not at all saying a person must remain in an “abusive” church. What I am saying is that the flaws of the Church in no way give reason for anyone to reject the Church. If one is abusive or untenable, go to another one. But don’t reject the Church itself.

    Em,
    You are a sweetheart. 🙂

  28. DeadManWalking
    June 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I once met with a Christian in China. It was a secret meeting and was like being is some strange spy movie, He had spent twenty years in prison for the Crime of Meeting with other Christians. We can’t divorce ourselves from the body of Christ. If a church is abusive then by all means find another, but in the end you must have fellowship with other believers. And any time you have a group of people, they are all going to be sinners.

    I once had a woman after church tell me she was so thankful to finally find a safe place, and I held her hand and pulled her aside and told her it’s not safe here, that all the people attending our fellowship were sinners, and if she chose to become part of our fellowship sooner or later someone will hurt her feelings.

    Love is not a safe thing. Love Hurts. The more you love the more you will be hurt. Jesus loved more than any of us, and look what love did to Him.

  29. madison*bella
    June 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    DMW said,

    “I once had a woman after church tell me she was so thankful to finally find a safe place, and I held her hand and pulled her aside and told her it’s not safe here, that all the people attending our fellowship were sinners, and if she chose to become part of our fellowship sooner or later someone will hurt her feelings.”

    Awesome, DMW. Your comments never fail to be utterly profound.

  30. erunner
    June 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    DMW, We really do need one another. You are a gift to us all John. God bless you and Debbie.

  31. DeadManWalking
    June 30, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Yes Erunner and all it takes is two are more to have church. We here on the blog are two or more and we have fellowship one with another. Not as good as breaking bread, but it is real fellowship

    Mal 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honoured his name.

    Did you know that God keeps a scrap book on us when we talk with each other and the LORD listened and heard —

    That is one of my favorite verses for fellowship. They just talked with each other like we do here in a blog .

  32. Believe
    June 30, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Great discussions (as usual)…just lurking and wanted to say hi.

  33. sister christian
    July 6, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Well I just read through the book, “Mere Churchianity”
    The beginning was quite promising, and I could see what he was speaking about frustration in finding the right church, or right way of doing church,,, what was it?: Church renewal, church revival, small groups( “where churchgoers get together with a small number of people and try to think as little as possible about the mess we experience in the larger churches) The Charismatic movement, the catholic, orthodox and emerging church or that of the “circus church” and how some assumed Jesus was running a franchise operation and all we needed to do was to discover which chain was his. that actually does not exist.

    He wrote about doing something dangerous, giving a girl a Bible to read for herself.

    I wondered why that was dangerous? As that’s always been the main staple of my faith, isn’t that what all good Christians do, read and feed on the Bible as individuals, digging into the word of God to better Know Him through His word? I naively assumed that’s what all good Christians do…

    Oh, then Mr Spencer begins to point out:
    Its “bad” to be a “good” Christian,
    and quotes Martin Luther: to sin and to sin boldly.
    and that no sin will separate us from the Lamb, tho we commit fornication and murder one thousand times a day.p137

    and that’s where I get all messed up about what he writes

    Some of you will not be surprised at that.

    You see Gods word doesn’t tell us it’s bad to be a good Christian, and as Michael Spencer says, we do not live a victorious life and those who cheer us on to do so are cheering for a lie. p 147

    God’s word encourages us to be good, to do good to encourage others in doing good,
    to be zealous for good works, to do those things which are pleasing in Gods sight.
    God’s word tell us we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus,
    that we are victorious in Christ.
    God’s word says that our sin separates us from God, and we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves unto righteousness, and as we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

    He juxtaposes two ideas saying that the emphasis on the victorious Christian life and the good Christian life is the Anti Christ as it pertains to the gospel,

    by saying that if we think we are capable of being a good Christian, we will no longer thank Jesus and will then need Jesus less and less.
    That’s pure absurdity, as the ONLY way we can live a good Christian life, have a victorious life in Christ, be slaves of righteousness, do good, love others, IS ABIDING IN CHRIST. It’s not Anti Christ… IT’S LIFE IN CHRIST and Life abundant.

    Yes we are broken, but God in us, makes us victorious by shining his light through broken vessels.
    Michael Spencer tells a beautifully moving story about a young lady who had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in her cheek, in doing so the surgeon had to cut a nerve that left her face malformed, and she would always remain that way Her sweet husband, replied to the news, saying it’s kind of cute, “I like it”

    and says Jesus is like that to us, even embracing our sin…

    NO, he paid the price for our sin, and tells us to cut it out like the cancer,
    What He embraces is the scars and the brokeness we have as a result of the surgery,
    He embraces the broken state we are left in when the pride, the sin, the cancer has been repented of. And like a surgeon who removed the cancer, he doesn’t expect us to go back to the habit that caused the problem in the first place.

    I understand that many of you disagree with that
    And Champion the position of Michael Spencer as far as embracing our sins. and the sinner-saint blend that i am so uncomfortable with.

    And for all the red letter readers:
    Jesus told us to cut it out. We are to cut the sin out: better to go into heaven maimed ( like the girl whose cheek was malformed because the cancer was removed) than to go into hell fire embracing, holding on to that which is sin, or causes you to sin in your life.

    Jesus said Repent and Believe. Not just Believe,
    If you truly believe in His name, you will embrace his teaching that says to repent.

    the last thing I would like to share,
    is how the emergent, emerging, all inclusive, group who claims to love the weak and downtrodden, those who are wrestling with their sin, and champion the cause of Christ, has been most vocal in making vague references to me as a Pharisee, church lady, seeing things only in black and white, Holier than thou, self righteous, attempting to place people under the law, and lacking grace, etc, etc, etc,

    what it has sown me, (and also in reading “Mere Churchianity”) is that the slightly and even more liberal or generous churches ( if I can say that in a way so you get the idea while not getting snagged up in the specifics of semantics) aren’t much different than the conservative churches they critique for being “clique ish” and only embracing those who think they way they do… The emergents, emerging all do the same.
    You are only part of the club, to be encouraged, supported, befriended if you think like they do.
    But if you don’t agree on the majority of their points,,, all kinds of criticism is lobbed in your direction:
    Let me add, Its not pretty and it’s not fun to be the recipients of their blastings , (all in Christian Love of course)

    And what I discovered is

    I don’t fit in..

    Not into the church that promotes the church as an organization while missing the heart of Jesus and not those who say they are all about the heart of Jesus, yet keep people at a distance who are not like them or may resemble anything close to a “Pharisee” God forbid!
    Not all Pharisees were rebuked By Jesus. After all, don’t you think he embraced some of them too?

    I don’t fit in with any group and probably never will. and im going to stop trying.

    And like the atheist girl who wrote the letter discussed in Michael Spencers introduction, Im sure many will dismiss my letter and what I have to say as bitter, as the result of a sad, isolated person: and tell others and laugh about my hypersensitivity, melodrama, what ever …and quite possibly use my example for less than honorable purposes, or say I flatter myself that anyone would even give what i have to say a second thought.

    Have at it. Blame me… its okay, that’s the way its always been.

    I have invested the better portion of 5-6 years in the blogging world, in a howsoever feeble attempt, to encourage and discuss together in our walk with Christ despite our doctrinal differences. My perspective is, it has been met with more hostility and disdain than it has with any form of reciprocative encouragement.

    My eyes are still swollen today for the tears I’ve cried the past few days: Tears over the sad and sorry condition of the church for the better part, The hidden on going sin that’s destroying the church from within, and yet still protected and maintained by Pastors and leaders who feel its better to protect the fellow pastors and organizations and empires they built, while BBqing sheep in the process to maintain status quo… to maintain their appearance…. Saying they are not hirelings, because they have been “appointed by God” and not elected by the members of the church all the while missing the greater point that one who truly is a shepherd “appointed God”, is the one who lays down his life for the sheep. Protects and defends the sheep… at all costs and doesn’t run away when there is danger, and one who doesn’t back bite sheep while in meetings at the big boys club,, Tears that they would rather keep things in the dark and the sad state they are in, than to be accountable, transparent, walk in in TRUTH and LIGHT, Honesty, Integrity… helping others along the way…. Tears that they wonder why they aren’t able to walk in victory…

    also Tears over the understanding that I don’t fit into any group well and likely never will, tears over understanding that while the Christian life is supposed to be lived out in community and encouragement one to another, that usually only works in one direction,,, mine will likely be lived out alone, with very few … Tears that most of my 20 years of church experience has been so bad,

    that I have finally decided to walk away from the church altogether, I really don’t care at this point to go to another church again,,, most especially a CC … and yet, God has brought me out here to restore a church.. go figure.

    I guess this is my way of saying “adieu”, to the world of online blogging… and won’t be reading follow up comments. If anyone cares to write me, or has something to say on this… Briand and Dusty each have my email and they are welcome to fwd it to anyone who might care to write.
    Otherwise, I wish you all well on your journey in life and richest blessings in Christ, to those who seek to follow and know God.

  34. BrianD
    July 6, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Sis, as far as Michael Spencer goes, you perhaps are missing his point.

    Regarding giving the girl a Bible as being dangerous…he doesn’t literally mean that. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know what the exact literary phrase would be for describing how he is using ‘dangerous’ to get across his point, which is … that when she does the ‘dangerous’ thing and reads the Bible for herself, she will see Jesus as He is…not as how contemporary evangelicalism portrays Him.

    And, if you read through that chapter, you’ll see how Spencer is saying that is a good thing, not bad.

    Regarding Luther, Spencer mentions himself the portion you quoted as being hyperbole. I think here you’re reading everything way too literally and not distinguishing between when the writer is using hyperbole to make a point and when he is presenting his points as is.

    Luther was trying to get across to someone who was tortured by each and every one of his sins day after day that he didn’t have to be tortured by those sins, that he could in fact if he chose to sin and sin ‘boldly’ and that because of what Christ did on his behalf he was covered.

    When Christ died on the cross He did not just die to cover the sins you and I committed in the past. He also died to cover the sins you and I commit now, and will commit in the future.

    Luther wasn’t telling Melanchthon it is okay to sin, but that ALL of our sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb.

    No, it’s not okay to sin – it’s SIN, after all – but we cannot manufacture our own goodness and holiness in the eyes of a holy God, not now, not in the future. Yes, grace does lead some people to license, and it leads some people to pursuits of holiness. Everyone is different. God is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow, and He – not us – sets the terms by which all men and women and children are reconciled to Himself.

    His blood covers our sins and His grace and mercy keeps us, and builds us up into being more like Himself. He will keep us in His hand until that day of Christ Jesus.

    You fit in. If you accept Christ, and follow Him, you fit into His body.

  35. July 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Yes we fit into His body….but do we fit into the church body….sometimes they are two completely different things.

    I think she is saying that she doesn’t want to play church anymore…she is not saying she doesn’t want to be a Christian anymore.

  36. BrianD
    July 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Some church bodies you don’t fit into. I’ve experienced that numerous times.

    And, I understand that Sis was talking about the organizations that people refer to as church, not to the body of Christ (or, I knew she wants to still be a Christian).

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