Archive for October, 2009
This post is about ordinary Christians.
Not that there is any sort of person who is ever really ordinary.
But there are ordinary Christians who simply want to follow Jesus. They are people like so many folks at my church who simply want to faithfully follow Jesus. They don’t know anything about blogging. They aren’t riled up about questions of what Bible translation to use, or the proper English translation of some Greek phrase, or issues of “social justice” (whatever that means).
They go to church. They pray. They give. They sing in the choir. They try to honor God the best way they can.
So often as a “professional Christian worker” ministering in the university context and with access to all the latest and greatest theological, eschatological, and philosophical debates and questions, it becomes very easy to grow arrogant and dismissive of those who do not. Why is this? Quite honestly it is because we believe that greater knowledge equates to greater spiritual maturity or spirituality. We believe this, despite all evidence to the contrary. Yet, if this were true, one would find the most faithful, most mature, and most biblically literate Christians among those who have the most access. The testimony of history and indeed of scripture tells us that this is not true.
Much is said about Jesus’ ministry to the poor. I don’t know if it is so accurate to describe his ministry in that way. There were, to be sure, poor among his followers. But the bulk of his followers were what we might call working class or middle class (though such classes were functionally poor in Roman society, socially they fit the description). They were people who were lectured to by the more learned among them about the hows and whys of following the covenant. And they too were looking for the messiah to come. It was among the most educated classes that the greatest disputes and arguments about theology broke out.
The arguments among the teachers of the Law are much like the arguments today among the blogosphere as people debate back and forth the fine points of the law. We split hairs over exceedingly minor interpretive issues in the Greek text which make absolutely no difference to the maturity or discipleship of Christians for example.
I grew up in a church full of everyday, ordinary Christians. I did not have the benefit of a seminary trained clerical staff, a full time paid youth minister, a library full of books on Christian doctrine. I had rather, faithful Christians who loved the Lord, who cared deeply about seeing that we grew up in the fear of the Lord and had a reverence for scripture. They wanted me to be filled with Holy Spirit and to live a life pleasing to God. They laid the foundation for my faith. They were serious believers. They obeyed the Bible as best they could.
I tip my hat to them. Ordinary spirit filled saints who prayed, preached, and taught me the way of salvation with little more than a KJV Bible, a United Gospel Press Sunday school book, and a decrepit totally useless blackboard.