Wednesday, 06 May 2009
Disharmony among Christians, he said, “is like a cancer metastasizing in the body of Christ.”
“We're saved by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ. That's a fundamental in which I believe. And I think for Christians that's basically adequate,” the former president said to the more than 800 attendants gathered at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. "If you believe in that, no matter how you feel about homosexuality or the death penalty or church and state being separated ... we should put those things aside."
“They (Baptists overseas) see us (U.S. Baptists) at each other's throats, as argumentative, as struggling for authority and power,” Carter said Saturday, according to The Charlotte Observer.
The Christian Post article doesn't challenge or support President Carter's comments. Nor does the New Baptist Covenant seem to have any particular direction on their website other than to look for some common opportunities to support each other. This gets me to thinking ...are we doing anything about this cancer??
There is no question at this point that a few things are true.
- The percentage of people in the US who identify themselves as Christian is shrinking.
- The word "Christian" has been stained with politics, with its denominational labels (Baptist, Catholic, etc) being all the more tarnished.
- Conservative to moderate Christian viewpoints are viewed more and more as intolerant and extremist by mainstream America and liberal Christians.
- Liberal to moderate Christian viewpoints are viewed as heretical and subversive by the conservative Christian community.
If these problems can indeed be equated to "a cancer metastasizing in the body of Christ" (I've used the same analogy in other posts), then what should be done about it? I have the feeling that we are looking at each other and saying: "Yep. Looks like cancer. Dang cigarettes, I shouldn't have taken up that habit." Then we take another puff and start arguing with each other about which brand of smokes causes the worst cancer.
Usually, I just pose a question to all of you. This time, I do want to offer a few things I think would help.
- We must quit trying to bring people INTO church. We need to be going out into the community around us and serving it. Only by being Christ will others be drawn to Him. I would love if congregations ditched every program that is designed to bring people into the church building and instead began partnering with soup kitchens, homeless shelters, battered women safe houses and the like.
- Fast & pray. By fasting, I mean more than food. We would do immensely well to set aside a day to fast from anything that has an electronic screen, or from anything that creates music or broadcasts information, or from works of fiction. Instead, let's spend at least a small amount of deliberate time in quiet meditation, praying exclusively for individual people (not organizations or causes), and slowly reading passages from our Bibles.
- We MUST leash our tongues. Imagine if a church went one month with nobody gossiping, backbiting or otherwise speaking in hushed tones about each other or any other person?
- We need to cease all collective political activism. Collective church bodies should immediately cease advocating or challenging positions on any issue or person that is actively in political play. Take those discussions home. Privately support lobbies, activists or organizations that reflect your views. But, whenever we are on church property or church time, let's keep the focus Christ and Kingdom exclusive.
I'll stop here, but believe me, I could easily make a top 10 list. Okay, so here's my question to you:
What do you think will help stop the spread of cancer in the body of Christ?