Book discussion: Mere Churchianity, part 3
Wherein the author, Michael Spencer, asks in the title of chapter 3, What If We’re Wrong About God?
Not to worry…iMonk stayed true to Jesus to the very end.
What he gave up was wrong beliefs about God that he was, and many of us are, encumbered with.
Those of you who have a copy of the book will read in this chapter Spencer’s ideas on false gods, including the ones of our own making that we call God.
Here’s an interesting quote by Spencer: “My project to clean out my God closet and start over with the essentials leads me to Jesus Christ, God’s ultimate and amazing self-description.”
Starting over apparently involves losing perceptions you had of the Savior in your early years, in favor of true ones that you realize over time. It also involves tearing up your preconceptions of how God would act in given situations, just as Jesus Himself acted in ways contrary to how the religious figures of His day thought the Messiah would act.
In fact, He tore up those preconceptions and replaced them with his truth: “Jesus wouldn’t leave their ideas of God alone until he was their idea of God.”
Imagine that. It’s like He was saying, Don’t look to what other people think I Am, look to Me to know Who I Am.
Following Jesus, Spencer says, was embracing the “life of a man who enlisted in an ongoing God revolution.” A revolution that blasted through His followers lives “like a tornado” until “Jesus. The Tornado himself” was the only one left standing.
The disciples, Spencer argues, had a difficult task in throwing away all of their preconceived ideas of the Messiah in order to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the real deal. But if they had to do this, why would we not?
Moving on, Spencer argues that we as followers of Jesus have a mission to “remove all idols, repent, renew our minds, and reform our lives.” Spencer then goes into asking what would his reaction to anything be after following Jesus for three years…and if Jesus reflects what it looks like to follow Him, “then what should the Christian life look like?”
Basically, Spencer argues that Jesus is the one and only standard for the Christian, and if we want to know what the Christian life should look like, and what a follower of Jesus should do in a given situation, we have to look to Jesus, and only to Jesus.
We live the Christian life in community, with other Christians, and we are dependent on personal transformation by Jesus Himself to live out His way of life.
Spencer’s subsequent comments make me think of the messed-up, very human Christians famously referred to by Brennan Manning as Ragamuffins. People who need a holy and radical God to empower them for a holy and radical life, and other like-minded, human, broken people who know they’re messed up and broken and know they need a powerful Savior.
Spencer is looking for a place where he can follow Jesus and not get kicked off the island when (not if) he messes up. He needs the church, to live life with and to learn from as he follows Jesus. He needs other followers of Jesus who themselves look to Jesus for His example, and not to religion. He needs great grace to start over again after he messed up the day before.
All the while keeping his eye on Jesus, and becoming like Jesus.