When you “get saved” you are immediately told that you are a “new creation” and that all the old had gone and the new has replaced it. The euphoria that one initially feels seems to confirm that, and you feel free and sinless and pure and without burden, kind of like a “back pain” sufferer of many years cured at a Benny Hinn healing service. You read your Bible daily, pray and “witness” telling all your relatives and your soon to be ex friends that they are bound for hell unless the accept Jesus. When you first walk into a church you honestly believe that the people are loving, kind, and accepting of you as you are.
The days turn into months then months into years, and just like the back pain returns to those healed by “Pastor Benny” the euphoria turns into occasional excitement, then boredom, hidden by the wall of well rehearsed language of the church that give others the impression that you are spiritual and mature. The people in the church that seemed so loving, kind, and accepting begin to loss some of the love when you don’t conform the tried and true traditions of the church. Many people at this point leave the church they have attended, searching of a new church that will offer them the excitement they are lacking.
Others leave the church all together when they do not see the reality of unconditional love, grace, and mercy in the congregation in which they are members. They conclude that Christianity’s claims are false.
Others leave the church when the “old sins” of their past come back to haunt them and they are told by “concerned” friends that they need to pray more, fast more, attend this or that conference, submit themselves to the lunacy of ideas like Theophostics or other equally bizarre “counseling” modalities. Then after all this, when they still struggle they are shunned by people in the church because they must be in some sort of unforgiveable sin or be demon possessed, or not trying hard enough, or not really saved at all. This last idea is most grievous because it focuses on what the person is doing rather than what God has done though Christ. This lie is one of the enemy’s favorites.
So what is the answer…so far this journey has caused me great sadness at times because i do not see a way out of the labyrinth of tradition.
What about all of us who do not fit in, filling the fringe of the evangelical movement and seeing the abuse of power by some, the worship of tradition, and the fear some in leadership have of losing their jobs if they rock the boat. If the gospel is true and there is true freedom and acceptance and grace and unconditional love because of Christ, why not tip over the boat and begin again….a new reformation the challenges the status quo.
Does anyone see the need?