Thursday, May 08, 2003


Via Coop.

Tony Campolo tells this story

While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, I became good friends with a young Jewish student who eventually made a commitment to Christ. As I tried to mentor him and give him a direction as to how to live the Christian life, I advised him to go to a particular church that was well known for its biblically based preaching, to help him get a better handle on what the Bible is all about.

When I met my friend several weeks later, he said to me, "You know, if you put together a committee and asked them to take the Beatitudes and create a religon that contradicted every one of them, you could come pretty close to what I'm hearing down there at that church. Whereas Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor." down there they make it clear it is the rich who are blessed.

"Jesus said, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' but the people at that church has a religion that promises happiness with no crucifixions.
"Whereas Jesus talked about the meek being blessed, they talk as if they took assertiveness-training courses. Jesus may have talked about the merciful and peacemakers, but those people are the most enthusiastic supporters of American militarism and capital punishment I have ever met.

"Jesus may have lifted up those who endured persecution because they dared to embrace a radical gospel, but that church declares a gospel that espouses middle-class success and affirms a lifestyle marked by social prestige"

As I listened to my friend's accusing words about the church, I realized it could just as well be aimed at me. Since that conversation, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on whether or not my lifestyle is really Christian.

Soren Kierkegaard once said, "If you mean by Christian what the Sermon on the Mount says about being a Christian, then in any given time in history, there might be four or five such persons who would have the right to call themselves Christians".

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