*This blog is about a asking myself what “faith” really is in relation to Jesus. It was triggered by attending a series of meetings held by a denomination that I am not affiliated with. It won’t be difficult to discern what denomination it is. I have not mentioned it by name in attempt to focus on what my concern is in regard to faith in Jesus and the Bible. The evangelist name has been withheld for the same reason. I ask for you to read critically, not defensively.*
I attended a revival style meeting at a church of another denomination this week.
The preaching was effective, challenging and to the engaging.
The first night was based upon the record of Jesus interaction with the rich young ruler (Matthew 19). His point was “Good is the enemy of great. If we settle for good, we will miss God.”
The second night I attended the evangelist preached from the record of Jesus healing the paralytic (Matthew 9). His premise was friends with faith bring people paralyzed by sin to Jesus. He didn’t just leave it there, he also reminded us (Christians) that fear, anxiety and other sin paralyzes us, unless we also bring it to Jesus.
There is no doubt that the guy has a strong understanding of the requirement of faith.
As the meeting began to wind up on both evenings there was an “altar call” type invitation. The “every head is bowed, every eye is closed” method was used during this time. I applaud him for facilitating a time of reflection. The evangelist began to ask questions leading those in attendance to probe their relationship with God.
This is where my concerns and discrepancies began to enter.
Ultimately the evangelist made a very clear plea and completely biblical case for faith being the requirement for a relationship with Jesus Christ. His instruction to enter this relationship was to repeat a prayer. He also stated that the prayer was not “magical.” Again, he accurately stated that it required faith in Jesus, not the act of saying what I will call a “formulated prayer.”
There were a few disparaging remarks regarding baptism. The evangelist was encouraging that those in attendance be baptized. However, there was very little reason offered for baptism’s purpose.
Most of you reading this are beginning to build your case either for or against baptism. I’d like to ask you to make a conscience effort to stop building your case and ask this question.
If Jesus is indeed the Christ (Messiah), Lord and Savior and we are to put our faith in him doesn’t that include all that he said?
I pretty well understand all of the theological explanations we have built, passed on and taught on this. I’m not attacking your upbringing, or your church. I am however asking you to ask the same thing I’m asking myself.
Do my explanations, church tradition and theological positions really elevate faith in Jesus by explaining away something a man I refer to as Lord has asked me to do?
Have I placed my faith in Jesus and all his words or have I elevated my theology, tradition and explanations above his instruction?
Now think about the confusion that emerges when we talk with one another about Jesus being Savior while stating our faith is completely in him.
Think about what it does to our passionate stance that Scripture is the definitive source for instruction in faith.
My concern is not for the action of baptism. My concern is have you and I been guilty of minimizing faith by focusing on Jesus as either Lord or Savior instead of Lord AND Savior. Because if he’s both, there are a lot of things we are minimizing and this makes things very confusing for us and the rest of the world we are to seek and make disciples of Jesus as Lord and Savior.
It seems to me that we are well intentioned but our intentions are presenting the option of being a Christian with out being a disciple. I don’t see that option in the pages of Scripture.