Monday, December 28, 2009

It's not about Heaven

Modern Western Christianity has been so watered down over the past two hundred years that to me it resembles nothing more than a wet noodle. Powerless, empty, limp. (I'm not talking about every church. I know there are groups that are in revival now, Praise God!)

I don't mean to shock people, but I've been thinking about this alot lately.  What is it about the American church that drives people away, especially young people? What is wrong with our message? I go to church every Sunday and do you know what I hear over and over and over?  The Salvation message about repentence and allowing Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins, and messages about living moral lives.  But I never hear a message on what Jesus is saving us from, do you? I never hear a message on eternity or the coming kingdom or the realities of hell. We tell people that they must repent and ask Jesus into their hearts so they can go to heaven, but we never tell them what heaven is like or what happens if they don't.  So, why should they choose Jesus?   Some people choose Him because they are told He can give you your "best life now".  But that's a deception. I doubt the disciples would agree that after they decided to follow Jesus, they had a great life!  So, why choose Him? What is heaven?  What does happen after we die? And what does Jesus have for me in the here and now?

There's 3 major things I believe are missing in our watered down messages.
1. We no longer teach on the powers of the Holy Spirit  (we've taken the power out of our Faith)
2. We don't really tell people what Jesus has for them in this life besides helping us follow a list of rules (pretty boring, if you ask me)
3. We've not told them that It's not all about Heaven. (Heaven is only a temporary stop)

Regarding number 3, consider the following 2 scenerios.

A friend approaches you and asks you what your Christian Faith is about.  Here's 2 responses. They are both true and Biblical. Which one do you think would have more impact?

A. Being a Christian means you've repented of all your sins, committed your life to Jesus and you believe He's the Son of God. By that belief you are guaranteed a spot in Heaven when you die. In the meantime, you follow Him and try to be as good as you can.

B. There's a kingdom coming on the earth. It will be the final Kingdom in which God himself will come down from Heaven and rule over the earth from his throne in Jerusalem. He will rule with justice and goodness and there will be no more war or famine or death. His name is Jesus and He is looking for people who will help Him reign over the earth.  He came once before and paid the price with His own death so that anyone who wanted to, could join Him in this new Kingdom. When you pledge your life and loyalty to Him, He fills you with His Spirit, who gives you great power, and He begins to train you for your position in this Kingdom. He also wants you to go tell others about Him and His coming Kingdom because He loves everyone and doesn't want anyone to be left out of the adventure!

I don't know about you, but I've heard alot of option A over the years, but I've never heard option B.


  1. You are absolutely correct. The church today doesn't combat the world's theories our kids are being bombarded with. They teach them to bend their knee at the alter and then do their own thing, so why go to church if you don't have to follow Christ? The Bible tells us we are Jesus's friends IF we do what He says. That's not tyranical, He is keeping us safe with that command, holding us ever closer. If the church would only teach the truth and not what our "itching ears want to hear" our world wouldn't be in such a mess.

    Thanks for sharing, MaryLu.

  2. Great post. I love the explanation in option B.

  3. I completely agree with what you said about the 3 major things that sermons ignore - especially the part about the Holy Spirit.
    I was pretty much raised in one specific church, so I got used to assuming that the way they did things was sort of the "right" way. Then, about a year ago, my family switched to a very Spirit-led church, where healings and miracles of biblical proportions are commonplace. At first, I was really freaked out, and it took me a long time to realize that that was how it's supposed to be.
    It's kind of sad that the other church - which was actually quite a good one, other than that - didn't expose people to the Holy Spirit aspect of the Trinity more.

  4. Very interesting post, and I would certainly agree that the gospel message is often way too simplified (i.e. watered down to the lowest possible thinking level). I hear a lot about God meeting our felt needs and wanting to give us abundant life now as well as in the by-and-by, etc...all of which is true of course. However, as you say, your option B does a better job of presenting a transcendent reason and goal for the Christian life. The longing to be part of a great adventure is so ingrained in all of us, and gives a whole different perspective to the mundaneness (and sometimes misery) of this present world.

    I would take it all one step further though, and add that Christianity is all about the past, present, and future centered in Jesus Christ. It is about getting to know God Himself in the here and now, and STARTING to become like Him. It is really about loving God and enjoying Him forever, and about His desiring an eternal relationship with us too. And yes, it is about a home in heaven too, which will be considerably bigger and more fulfilling than most people imagine. How could it be less with the King of kings as designer and builder?

    What a sin it is to make the Christian life boring! MaryLu, thank you for your books which do help to dispel that awful myth. I am afraid many of us get comfortable in a pretty dull rut.

  5. Wow, what great comments! Thank you all. And yes, Diane, I agree, it's about getting to know God Himself and becoming more like him now and forever! It's an adventure filled with a King, a Kingdom, a battle of good and evil. Who says Christianity is boring? No way.

  6. Thank-you for sharing those thoughts with us Marylu.
    And, also regarding Point #3, Scenario B -- one person who seems to be talking about it (a lot) is Rev Jack VanImpe who is on TV Sunday evenings (from 7:30-8:00 p.m.) -- "Jack VanImpe Presents". He discusses world events (news) happening now from all around the world, and how it relates to the "very soon coming of the Lord". And, he certainly discusses our reign with Christ in Heaven (and as you said -- for a temporary time) ...
    He is very down-to-earth, real, honest ... and proclaims exactly what we "need" to be hearing ... not what we 'want' to hear.
    I know this must sound like a 'plug' ... it wasn't meant to be. But he is into God's Word daily, spends hours weekly in it, has committed much of it to memory, and deals with prophecy too. So far, he's been right on.
    Anyway ... you are right ... not many Churches deal with the three points you made (that have been watered down).
    Any Marylu -- thank-you again for running the 4-week contest (of the Raven Saint give-away) ... I did not win won, but have already placed my order into Amazon books. Can hardly wait for it to arrive !!! God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda H

  7. Thank you, Brenda. I've heard of Jack VanImpe. I'll have to go check him out. There are segments of the church that are wakening. Praise God!

  8. Where i have just moved, i have not yet found a church i trust. I have met some people from a couple of the Christian churches, but they constantly swear and make fun of me, so i do not know if i want to go there...
    I have never heard someone say option B.
    If i tried to tell someone option B. (ever) i am sure i would stutter, and they would walk away...