Inexplicable

At LeadershipJournal.net Steve Gaines writes:

I am convinced that one of the reasons so many people are turned off from the idea of church these days is that it is all so explainable. Too many churches are growing simply because they are well-oiled machines.

For a long time we’ve been taught to think apologetically. We want people to understand us. We want what we do to make sense. I get that idea. But I also see how it is completely misguided.

When we look at the ministry of Jesus we see him doing things that didn’t make sense to his audience. He spent time with the wrong people. He seemed to work harder at provoking confusion than producing understanding. His followers weren’t much better. The first thing the church did was go out in public speaking in tongues. How can you get any weirder and non-sensical than that?

We’ve come such a long way. Joe Non-Believer today understands church all too well. We have meetings. We wear fancy clothes. Depending on Joe’s enculturation he may identify us as either boring or as irrelevant. Either way we can be safely ignored.

Jesus couldn’t be ignored. He provoked a response. The response was either “I will follow you!” or “Crucify him!”

My prayer for my church is that God will do something here that doesn’t make sense – to the world’s way of thinking. I pray that he’ll do something that draw people’s attention to Jesus, something that makes the ask questions.

That’s the original context of the keystone verse of modern apologetics: 1 Peter 3:15. It’s not just “Give a reason for the hope you have.” It’s more “When people see you suffering they’ll see that you are submitting to it voluntarily out of devotion to Christ. Your life as followers of Jesus – as people who have taken up your crosses and follow him – simply won’t make sense to them. They’ll feel compelled to ask questions. When they ask you to explain your insanity, tell them about Jesus.”

Steve Gaines has it right. We can be weird all day along. It’s not weird qua weird that makes a difference. It’s God in us that makes a difference, that attracts people and draws them to Jesus. I’m tired of settling for just a well-oiled machine.

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