Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Why I Stay. The Episcopal Church USA has left the Anglican Communion and the Christian Church, yet my own Church, Truro Church, still calls to the ECUSA, seeking godly repentance. As much as I think we should shake the ECUSA dust off our sandals, I stay at Truro because it is such a wonderful fellowship. We get great teaching and exhortation from Martyn, Richard Crocker, and Marshall Brown. The fellowship is strong, as is the worship. Each of the Sunday School teachers our kids have had, Mr. Tom and Mrs. Dearborn, most recently are incredible. And Catherine Crocker, who leads my oldest daughter's small group, is a true apostle.

Here is an excerpt from Rev. Brown's recent sermon
There is a lot of money to be made speculating about the second coming of Jesus Christ. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are the authors of the wildly popular Left Behind series. To date, LaHaye and Jenkins have sold over 50 million books, spawned a less-than-stellar movie, and have become two of the most popular speakers and authors in evangelical Christianity. The franchise includes 12 best-selling novels, tapes, CDs, graphic novels and even a kid’s series of 26 books.

Before Jenkins and LaHaye, Hal Lindsay had cornered the market on prophecy in the 1970s with his book The Late Great Planet Earth and its many and varied sequels. The bottom line in all of these books is that Jesus will come back unexpectedly one day, whoosh all the Christians off the planet, and then all hell will break loose on the earth, while you and I sit back and watch from a safe distance, at a box-seat in heaven. Many Christians seem to love the idea that the trials of this world can be escaped with one rapturous pass of the Heavenly Hoover, sucking them up into the great beyond.

It’s the stuff great thrillers are made of. Good wins out in the end and enemies are left smoldering in the ashes. It’s no wonder that these prophets are making a profit. But here’s the question we might want to consider before we start pulling the earthly ejection handles: Is this really the point of the whole witness of Scripture? That we simply fly off to heaven in the end and too bad for you if you’re not on the plane? Is that all there is? No validation to this life other than as a torturous preparation for the life to come?

Is the primary focus of our Christian life to simply get off this third rock from the sun before it’s blown away? Maybe. But consider this: If the Christian life is merely about going to heaven, then why is the Bible so thick? Why does it take 66 books to give us all that stuff about loving neighbors and enemies, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, being stewards of the environment, and taking up our crosses? Is it merely something to do while we await the trumpet sound, or is there more to it than that?

The answer to that one is a freebie. It’s time for many who follow Christ get their noses out of the novel and get back into the Book. Yes indeed, you better believe Jesus certainly is "coming soon." No doubt about it. Not to take us away, but to take over!
As they say, you should read the whole thing.

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