Brand new anything can be good, even great, but sometimes it can still be hard to completely leave the old behind. While this applies to homes, schools, pets & clothes, it also applies to religion, particularly Christianity.
While there has been quite a bit of progress & change in the church, we are still holding onto things that are holding us back. Unfortunately for many people, most of the things that they resist about the church are things the Church should resist. If we look at the basics of Jesus intended the church to be, there should be nothing that would make people want to resist the Church.
For the first 300 years of the Church, the primary thing that people resisted about the church was their loyalty to Jesus. They were great neighbors. They were great workers. They cared for the marginalized in society. They weren't judgmental or exclusive. The Church should be irresistible except for the fact we believe Jesus is our ultimate authority. So how did we become so resistible?
The resistible factor did not come from new things being added, but rather old things that got added back in. The Church has allowed another model to blend with the Jesus Model. This Temple Model represents many ancient & modern religions and includes:
- Sacred places - a piece of real estate that is more valuable than the others.
- Sacred texts - oracles, inscriptions or scriptures interpreted by...
- Sacred men - it is almost always men who tell the followers how to live & sometimes threaten "god's" judgment.
- Sincere followers - maybe superstitious as well but it is important what the follower does
However, the arrival of Jesus signaled the end of the temple model and the beginning of something entirely new. The new Jesus Model includes:
- Jesus predicted a new movement - When Jesus started the "church", he did not predict a location, but rather a movement or gathering of people.
- Jesus instituted a new covenant - A new arrangement between God & ALL people.
- Jesus gave new meaning to the sacred text - Jesus claimed the Law & all of Old Testament pointed to Him.
- Jesus instituted a new movement defining ethic - Rather than 600+ laws, Jesus summarized it to "Love"!
How are you relating to God? More like the Temple Model or more like the Jesus model?