I am going to spend several posts discussing some of the insightful words from a book entitled Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin R. Meyers. This book gave me some pretty profound re-enforcement of my belief that the words of Jesus have been losing focus in the church. Here are the words for today.
Strangely, we have come to a moment in human history when the message of the Sermon on the Mount could indeed save us, but it can no longer be heard above the din of dueling doctrines. Consider this: there is not a single word in that sermon about what to believe, only words about what to do. It is a behavioral manifesto, not a propositional one. Yet three centuries later, when the Nicene Creed became the official oath of Christendom, there was not a single word in it about what to do, only words about what to believe!
It is not secret to those who have visited here before that I am no admirer of King Constantine and the damage he did to the Christian church. It seems “the road not taken” is constantly in my thoughts and the words above are no exception. I wonder what would be the state of Christianity if Constantine had not hijacked it to try to shore up his crumbling empire. I wonder if we would be more focused on the behavioral manifesto of the Sermon on the Mount instead of the propositional one he had written fifteen centuries ago?
Until I read this book the stark contrasts between Jesus’ word at the Mount and the Nicene Creed were not as apparent as they are now. The emergent church movement, of which Robin Meyers is a member, has a goal to try to rescue the words of Jesus from the church. As I mentioned in a previous post many churches today have tried to domesticate Jesus to one degree or another. They want to make being a Christian as easy as possible and Jesus’ words often get in the way of that goal. They just seem to ignore the words they don’t particularly like.
Many versions of Christianity today say that any of the words of the Bible are just as important as any others. They say that the stories, myths, parables and such are just as important as Jesus’ messages to us on how to live a Godly life. They say the words of Jesus just aren’t any more important than the words of for instance Paul. Until we can recapture the importance of the words of Jesus above all others in the Bible Jesus will never take front and center in many lives.
One of the common complaints about today’s churches are that they are no longer relative to today’s world. People say that are very interested in the words of Jesus but the church is a total turn-off. We need to take back Jesus from those who try to domesticate him and let his radical words give us back the true meaning of being followers of Jesus Christ.