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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Holistic Christianity continued

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There have really been a lot of Christian churches that are trying to make the turn towards integrated a more holistic understanding of the Gospel and the biblical witness that involves both spiritual and physical realities.  However, many that do take a hit.  They're accused of watering down the gospel, of not being evangelistic enough, and of becoming liberal.  So here's a question, how do churches - and those of us who are leaders in churches - beging to really help congregations to move into the world with the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit's realities in spiritual, physical, relational, emotional, intellectual, etc. ways without being labelled or misunderstood as lowering the importance of our evangelical impact in calling people into a new kingdom reality by giving their lives over to the Lordship of Christ?  Because, truly, that lordship is more than simply spiritual, isn't it?  Doesn't Jesus' lordship affect my sexuality, how I run a business, what I eat, how I treat my hurting neighbor, and how I address the large questions in the world?

The UnChristian deals with some of these perceptions in Chapter 4, "Get Saved" dealing with the perceptions that outsiders have that Christians are only concerned about personal salvation and nothing else.  I had a fascinating conversation about this yesterday with someone as we dealt with issues like suicide and drug addiction.  Again, if Jesus can truly transform us, we ought to be able to see real transformation in our lives. Here's how McLaren says it in Everything Must Change:

...those remaining in local churches and those outside of them share the same sense of doubt:  a message purporting to be the best news in the world should be doing better than this.  The religion's results are not commensurate with the bold claims it makes. [p. 34]

Ouch.  That hurts, doesn't it.  But that's one of the rubs - are the outcomes in our lives and in the world commensurate with the claims we are making?  In a really crass way of saying it, does Jesus work?  That's not a way we would frame it as Christians, but it's certainly the question many people are asking.   Here's a quote from a young outsider (22) named Shawn interviewed for the UnChristian:

All I ever hear is "Get saved!"  I tried the whole "Jesus thing" already.  It didn't work for me before, and I am not interested now. [p. 67]

To bring it home and make it personal, if you're a Jesus-follower, is there real, deep, lasting, rich, powerful, redemptive transformation evident in your life?


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