James MacDonald is the senior pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago. He is currently in California undergoing radiation treatments for prostate cancer, but he is still updating his blog.
he recently did a video post on songs that Harvest Bible Chapel won’t sing. Good stuff. like Jonathan Dodson, James is also of the opinion that God is not our boyfriend.
James also has some interesting thoughts on how Brian McLaren is like his palm pilot.
he also takes on the idea of “reaching our culture.”
Hey, not just at our church but around the country as I travel . . . why does it seem that most of the people talk talk talking about reaching the culture are doing such a meager job of it. Why is it that from frustrated old college professors to angry young mega church haters, the vast majority of people waxing eloquent about their passion to penetrate the culture with the gospel are bearing such scanty, sparse, spartan, even scarce fruit? By fruit I mean actual living breathing men and women turning from sin and self and embracing Jesus Christ as Savior and Master of their souls.
He then discusses three things that people mean when they talk about reaching culture:
1. They mean reaching people very different from themselves.
2. They mean reaching secular people who have no interest in God.
3. They mean reaching cool people who make them feel cool.
Go read his post for the discussion under each bullet point.
James concludes by pointing out that across cultures, people come to Jesus for the same reason:
1) I thought my life was going great ’til God dropped a ‘boulder’ (some point of acute need) on me and I saw how pointless, empty, dark, or dismal my future was without Him.
2) A caring person intersected my life with true compassion just as my heart opened to the reality that another round of self repair was not going to fix anything.
3) the good news of Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness was given to me boldly and plainly and I opened my heart by faith to what I finally knew I needed most of all.
BONUS: as long as we are poking around the James MacDonald blog, don’t miss the entry on “Jesus: the New Wine Tasting!”
Ok, that’s not what really bugs me. What truly sets me back is the growing number of people who seem to be doing that with Jesus. Sampling and smelling the parts of his nature that appeal to them and ignoring the things they find less to their taste. Getting together in little huddles around a candle and consuming the comforting while ignoring so much much of what is compelling and commanding. “Ohhh, let’s crack open a bottle of the ‘middle ages Jesus,” as if we really have any substantive clue about what Christ was doing in people and how they followed him, in say, 1147AD. “Can’t you sense His melancholy walking through this damp castle calling out in the corridor to people hiding in the shadows of biblical illiteracy?” Ah no, no I’m not sensing anything at all.
We all need the same thing. We desperately need to journey away from our prejudicial/familial view of Jesus Christ. We need to come back to the biblical center, where He is known in all His fullness without bias or historical blockage. Down with Eastern Orthodox Jesus, down with Emerging Jesus, down with western world anti-supernatural dead bible church Jesus, down with mainline watered down secular pseudo scholarly sentimental Jesus, down with Roman Catholic pomp and circumstance we have him and you don’t Jesus, and down with heartless self-interested felt need corporate mega church Jesus. Down with gospel Jesus and OT prophecy Jesus, and Pauline Jesus, as partial sketches of the total biblical Christ. God help all of us to stop tasting and sampling and swirling Jesus in the glass of our own preferences. Only the light of total biblical revelation is bright enough to expose the darkness of our own stagnant thinking about a Christ who is caricatured by what we find most pleasing to our own perspectives.
Filed under: church, culture | Tagged: brian mclaren, emerging church, harvest bible chapel, james macdonald, walk in the word | 2 Comments »