Successful-based beliefs/practices in the church today continue to undermine Jesus’ desire to bring about “the kingdom of God.” And the successful-based belief/practice on sin has arguably had the greatest negative impact on that. Because of that impact, it is critical to understand as fully as possible what we mean when we use that little ‘ol three-letter word that is at the root of so much difference between successful-based and faithful-based churches. We will therefore spend three posts on sin (or you could say we’ll be “sinning” for the next few weeks). In this post we will engage in a brief overview of the concept of sin and a related spiritual concept, holiness, and introduce how successful-based and faithful-based churches differ on them. The following two posts will each explore in more detail how each side views and lives those concepts. Continue reading “A Brighter Path #3: Sin”
When we look at the nature of the church through the lens of Mother Teresa’s spiritual maxim that “God doesn’t call me to be successful, but to be faithful,” it might appear at first glance that both qualities should not only be acceptable but encouraged. It seems counter-intuitive to think we should not be successful for God. But the two concepts are opposites. One relies on God, and the other relies on ourselves but puts God’s name on it. Many churches today preach a life of faithfulness but their actions reflect Christianity’s long struggle with striving for success in its own human-derived standards.
An old joke I first heard while at seminary in the late 80s goes something like this— “Jesus came to earth in order to establish ‘the kingdom of God’… but all He got was the church.” The punch line can be self-deprecating humor for life-long church members but it also reflects a painful indictment. The history of the Church over 2,000 years is the record of an institution that has done some good (along with some evil) but overall has fallen far short of bringing to fruition Jesus’ mission proclamation to break-in “the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:15).