Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Presbyterian Devotions: Theological Kudzu - Acts 12

Acts 12:22       They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man."

When our family initially came to Knoxville in 1994, we encountered kudzu for the very first time. It’s an annoying Japanese ivy that covers and practically obliterates every tree in its path. At the height of summer, instead of seeing beautiful oaks, elms, sycamores and fir trees at the sides of the road, all you can view in some areas is a wilderness of kudzu. It smothers the land in a blanket of green ivy. You literally can’t see the forest because of the kudzu.

Theological kudzu is smothering the Western Christian Church. In our scramble to keep from declining, most mainstream denominations have elected to allow the current trends to dictate our policies. We take on non-biblical standards and our theology becomes fuzzy. Being nice and tolerant trumps being faithful and committed. The path that we’re on and the journey that we’re making is given greater significance than where we’re eternally headed. In the end, we can’t see Christ because of the culture.

Because we’re in love with ourselves, our trends, and our culture, we falsely believe that we speak with the authority of God. It’s a Grand Delusion and a dangerous one that is separating more people from Christ inside the Church. Something has gone wrong and because our theology is contaminated and our biblical knowledge is diminishing, we are in peril of sacrificing our sacred beliefs for the sake of appeasing society.

From what I’ve read in the New Testament, the First Christians were faced with similar issues and yet they opposed the predominant Roman culture and were prepared to die for Christ. They didn’t surrender to peer pressure, indulgent lifestyles, or the cosmopolitan culture. They remained faithful to Christ, first and foremost, no matter how unpopular it made them.

I think that it’s time for the mainstream Church to be reformed and rediscover its true roots. If we make changes for changes sake then we will become like the European Church – irrelevant, ineffective and no longer influential. We have to remind ourselves that being Christian is never easy and that every generation has to fight for the faith.

Prayer:                        Lord Jesus, these are turbulent times for Your Church and God’s Kingdom. We are at a crossroads of our own making and are in danger of taking the wrong path, which will only lead to perdition and self-destruction. Give us the courage to come out of the worldly wilderness and re-find Your True Path. In Your Holy Name, we fervently pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Savannah series drawings. It’s called River Walk Trolley and features a Savannah streetcar down by the riverside. You can view a larger version of this print at the following link: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4073/4802760967_b609e43cba_b.jpg

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