This morning as I did my daily reading of Oswald Chambers, it dawned on me what the American pulpit has done to the familiar mandate of Jesus: “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”
Here the “I Am” makes a powerful statement about the authority of God and the impact of its revelation when unhindered by the ones through whom it must be delivered.
On the other hand, another axiom is possible and that is if “i” am lifted up, I only draw others to me and do them little good spiritually.
The very mechanics of our tradition may have now turned on us? Its pulpits and platform, in a post-Christian America, may now be drawing attention more to speaker than Spirit?
The division of the Body is evident, now fractured and failing in its mission, “many are of Apollos, others of Cephas” and so on!
Well meaning initially, many have been positioned by their denominational machinery, ill prepared for the challenges of the present day, and must now “perform” in order to compete within a diminishing crowd for their thinning resources.
Still others have learned to capitalize on the industry of church and prospered personally as precious kingdom resources are extracted from gullible people of hope, stressed by a nation reeling in her last days.
Is there a better means for delivery of the true “I AM” than the institutional church? I think so, and Jesus modeled that as He called men one by one, to live in relationship with Him. These men later turned their cities on edge and some synagogues around, all within a few decades.
It was not until we got good at doing church (about 300 years) that men were platformed in the same regalia as former Pharisees and began to learn what it meant to lift up themselves as the way to Christ.
Each age crested and its reformists protested, but inevitably, each returned to its own tradition, simply tweaked as needed for the newly enlightened leader.
Is there hope now for a much needed transformation within this new generation? Lest you read into this my despair, I rejoice, for our present suffering as a nation will surely produce perseverance; and that “perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Rom. 5:3-5)
Lift Him up and live into a new day, for a new Church, possibly without walls!