Jerk Factories

In his article “The Bait and Switch of Contemporary Christianity”, Richard Beck hyperbolises the problems inherent in turning Christianity into a religion of tasks rather than the total transformation that it really is.

One can fill a life full of spiritual activities without ever, actually, trying to become a more decent human being. In fact, much of this activity can distract one from becoming a more decent human being… Many churches are jerk factories.

Take, for example, how Christians tip and behave in restaurants. If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry you know the reputation of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Millions of Christians go to lunch after church on Sundays and their behavior is abysmal. The single most damaging phenomenon to the witness of Christianity in America today is the collective behavior of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Never has a more well-dressed, entitled, dismissive, haughty or cheap collection of Christians been seen on the face of the earth.

Performing spiritual/religious activities does not inherently make you a better person. Really becoming a better person is something that can only be done by Jesus.

We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We [Jews] tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good. …I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man.
Galatians 2:15-16,19 MSG

Beck is clear: there is nothing wrong, and much that is right about private devotions, bible study, prayer, fasting, et cetera. It just can’t be a substitute for being a decent human being. We need both. What we don’t need is our churches perceived as being “Jerk Factories”.

Christians and Israel: What Should Our Relationship Be to Them?

It is impossible to live in our modern world unfamiliar with the Nation of Israel, unless you are deliberately avoiding all contact with the outside world. At the time of this writing, there is only one nation in the world that has a national policy of support for the Nation of Israel: the United States. Every other nation is either condemning Israel or, at best, remaining neutral towards them, while fanatic religious terrorists attack her daily.
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Form of Baptism: What is the Real Issue?

Baptism is one of the few biblical imperatives that is agreed upon by all Christians — there is no question that Christians must be baptised. Of course, what is not agreed upon is form of baptism (how), appropriate age of a baptismal candidate (when), and “what happens” when a person is baptised.
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The Church vs the Local church


How Many Bodies Does Jesus Have, Anyway?

Some common biblical metaphors for the Church are “The Body of Christ”, “The Bride of Christ”, and, of course, Church. But sometimes I think we get a little confused about the difference between the Church and the local congregations that we like to call “churches”.

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Christian Leadership: Following Man or Following Christ

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
1 Cor 11:1 KJV

Introduction

What do the Scriptures say about the relationship between Christian “leaders” and Christian “followers” in the body of Christ? There are many groups of Christians that suggest that “followers” must follow “leaders” without question. The leaders that advocate this position often use Bible verses like the one above (usually in the King James Version). “Follow me,” they say, “because I follow Christ. If you want to follow Him, you will follow me too. It’s not enough to say, ‘I follow Jesus’. Are you following your leader, too?”

In this article, we will study this scripture carefully to determine:

  1. What does this say?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. What am I supposed to do about it?

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A Study of Christian Authority

Christian Leadership vs. Worldly Leadership

There is a great deal of unhealthy teaching and practice in the Body of Christ today regarding spiritual authority and submission. This relates directly to a misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian Leader. In this article, the author will show that there must be a difference between the leadership methods used by the world and those of the Church.

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