Surface Christianity…

I stood on the border of Rwanda a number of years ago.

Just a year actually after a tribal war, where hundreds of thousands of people were killed. The funny thing is, no, not really funny at all; the sad, sickening thing is Rwanda was considered a Christian nation.

The missionaries told me, the reality, and this of course is obvious, is that Rwanda wasn’t a Chrsitian nation at all. Many of those supposedly converted had done nothing more than add Christianity to their tribal religions. They went to church, when through the motions of worship, but down deep they hadn’t changed.

For many, theirs was a surface Christianity.

It would be easy to point our fingers at the Rwandans, except I’m afraid many of us American Christians have done the same. We say we’re Christians but we’ve just added going to church and praying as a kind of surface covering over a heart and life that is completely devoted to the world and to our previous way of living.

If we take a step back we can see this happening in the church at large. Too often the ideas and principles that control those in the world are the same ideas and principles that control those within the church, only perhaps those ideas are clothed in more religious language.

Can you say “seeker sensitive?”

Or perhaps, “Christian psychology?”

But we must be careful here. It’s easy to talk very generally about worldliness. It’s even easy to talk about ways in whcih the church at large is becoming more and more worldly. But we must remember that the church is made up of who? Individuals. And the church as a whole compromises because individuals do. So if we are concerned about worldiness in the church, we must start by being concerned about worldliness in our hearts.

Sometimes it is hard for us to identify the ways in which we are worldly because we have become so accustomed to it. I’m sure many of the Rwandans didn’t think much about killing members of other tribe because that’s the way they had lived for a long time. And many times we don’t think much about the worldliness in our lives because that’s the culture in which we live and we haven’t examined ourselves in light of Scripture.

Herbert Schlossberg writes, “Idols are hard to identify after they have been part of society for a time. It became normal for the people of Jerusalem to worship Molech in the temple and it seemed odd that people calling themselves prophets shoulc denounce the practice. Molech was part of the establishment religious scene, one that directed national worship throughout living memory. The idol was supported by all the best elements of society, the political, economic, and religious power structure. “

I want us to try to identify some specific ways we are often worldly without realizing it in the next few blogs.

What do you think?

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