“Why?” If you have children, you’ve been asked this question a lot. “Why is grass green?” “Why do we need to take a bath?” “Why do only women have babies?” (some “why” questions are easier to answer than others)
The question “why” has been gnawing at me the last few weeks and I just have to ask it about today’s church. I don’t claim to have all the answers but that doesn’t invalidate the questions I’m going to ask. There are some tough “why ” questions that we must begin asking ourselves because these questions deal with the real issues of Christianity and the impacts of these questions are eternal. Ask these “why” questions with me – what answers do you come up with?
1. Why did the general society of Bible days like jesus (except the religious elites) but the society of today not like Christians? I think it’s too simplistic to merely answer, “because He is God – that’s why people liked Him.” Those who followed Jesus and were used to start the church found the same relationships with society and the religious elites, just like Jesus – and they weren’t God. For Jesus, if He wanted to get away, He would have to slip out of the crowd and hide. He had people finding Him wherever He went. Individuals would climb trees, drop through the roof of a house, travel on foot for hundreds of miles to see Him. And yet the experience of most Christians today is a society that is indifferent to them at best – but often views them as disconnected and irrelevant.
Like I said, I don’t have all the answers on this, but it would seem that if we are to be like Jesus and possess the life, attitudes and traits that He possesses, maybe we should have the same type of connection or even attraction with the general part of our world?
2. Why aren’t people trusting Christ in our day like they used to in Bible times and throughout much of church history? I understand that there are some theological considerations to all of this, but is God no longer active in our world? Does the gospel lack the punch it once had?
Typically the answers I’ve heard for these questions place the blame on others. Those without Christ are the ones blamed the most and the reasons given is that they don’t like church because of our strong message (was Jesus’ message weak?) or they don’t like me because I stand for righteousness (didn’t Jesus stand for righteousness?). And for those that believe in God’s divine choice of those who would be rescued (which I believe), they would have to assume that God isn’t choosing that many people today to be saved or He just isn’t choosing people in our area. So, in this reasoning, it’s actually God’s fault that people aren’t trusting Christ and following Him – and that’s a reason that I’m not willing to accept.
Could there be some blame that the church and Christians should accept as answers to these questions? Are we really like Jesus was in His community? Are our attitudes toward sinners or those who have little attractive to them or as we indifferent or worse yet, judgmental of those without Christ. Do we have the same priorities in building the church like the early Apostles? Are we genuinely committed to being fishers of men and all that entails or are we more concerned with just keeping the aquarium? Is our church just for church people with our programs, customs and preferences catering to the demands of those on the inside? Or are we concerned for those sheep that have no shepherd and passionate about leaving the 99 to go after the 1 that is lost?
I know that we don’t always like it when people ask “why?” But the answers to these questions have greater implications than “why is the grass green?” The answers to these questions are matters of life and death.