Thursday, August 7, 2008

Creating Caged Christians

Mark Batterson has posted an excerpt from his new book Wild Goose Chase, at his blog. He poses an interesting question, 'Are churches in today's society creating caged Christians?' The following is the excerpt in which he describes his thoughts on this issue:

I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do the animals. We try to tame them in the name of Christ. We remove the risk. We remove the danger. We remove the struggle. And what we end up with is a caged Christian.

Jesus didn't die on the cross to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. I would like to think that when I pronounce the benediction at th end of our church services, I am sending dangerous people back into their natural habitat to wreak havoc on the Enemy.

His observation really resonates with me, because I have experienced this first hand. It seems as though many churches want to create an environment that is safe for Christians. I do not believe this is Biblical at all. I believe that the church needs to create an environment that is safe for those who are not following Christ, but not for Christians. Jesus said that He did not come to save the healthy but the sick. I feel as though this should be the approach that we take in our weekly worship services at our churches.

Many churches are doing their members a terrible disservice by teaching that the life of following Christ is safe and comfortable. In my experience it is the total opposite. What we have in our churches are Christians who look at our God as a big teddy bear in the sky, who is willing and able to meet our every demand. What happens when people start thinking this way is they no longer approach a Holy God with fear and reverence. However, they begin to approach him with their laundry lists of things they want Him to accomplish, and if He doesn't they are discouraged and confused.

This is a terrible place to find yourself. When I look at Jesus' life, it doesn't appear as though he lived a very safe and comfortable life. It appears to be the total opposite. So it would be worth our while when someone receives Jesus as their Savior, that we teach them the 'costs' involved with following Jesus. Many of my experiences in church are the opposite. The pastor guilts people to come forward and pray a prayer and then we leave them hanging. When we are talking with someone about their need for Jesus, we also need to explain to them what it means and what it costs to follow Christ.

What do you think? Do you find that you are living a comfortable and safe life as a Christian? Pastors, are you trying to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for your members, or for those who are not currently following Christ?

1 comment:

Persiflage said...

David Murrow argued sort of the same thing in his book "Why Men Hate Going To Church" as one of the reasons for the 40/60 gender gap that exists in your average American church.

A whole lot of men avoid anything to do with church because it isn't challenging. Instead we have a safe, nice, even feminine "Christian culture" that panders to people's feelings.