Community without Christ

Ed Stetzer’s reflections after discovering that the son of progressive evangelical Tony Campolo has become an atheist chaplain contain several good points that are worth your time to read.

One of the one’s that caught my eye goes like this:

In this extremely informative and compelling talk Bart gave earlier this year to the SSA Annual Conference, he is quite clear that he embraced a Christian community, but not the Christian faith.

As parents, we need to work to ensure our children have a relationship with Jesus, not just a desire to be part of a loving community doing good. In other words, we need to ask, are we discipling or merely socializing our children in church?

One thing that has struck me about some the church talk I’ve been around since I started attending church on a regular basis is how much church is sold as a community. In some settings, this is so strongly emphasized that it can feel as if the community is more important that Jesus Christ himself.

John Wesley wrote that church is a body of believers who gather first to save their own souls, second to help each other in working out their own salvation, and third to roll back the kingdom of Satan and set up the kingdom of Christ. Community serves these ends and it may be the final result of these efforts, but community itself is not the point of it all.

It may just be the introvert in me speaking, but I do think we get that out of whack at times.

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3 thoughts on “Community without Christ

  1. The humming and drumming sessions that go on at our conferences have the sense of (as you say) a “Christian community without Christian faith.” In those moments I feel like a trapped quail too fearful to rise up and flee, and too fearful to stay. If I have anticipated the impending seance, I’ll sit near the exits.

  2. John,

    I love this quote from Wesley. Where did you find it? I think it would be helpful to me.

    Derek

    1. Derek, it is from Sermon 52 – The Reformation of Manners.

      “This is the original design of the Church of Christ. It is a body of men compacted together, in order, first, to save each his own soul; then to assist each other in working out their salvation; and, afterwards, as far as in them lies, to save all men from present and future misery, to overturn the kingdom of Satan, and set up the kingdom of Christ. And this ought to be the continued care and endeavour of every member of his Church; otherwise he is not worthy to be called a member thereof, as he is not a living member of Christ.” – See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-52-The-Reformation-of-Manners#sthash.cmyxmwqK.dpuf

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