Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cult of Christ?

So it has been a long time since I have posted, Shalisa has done a great job keeping the blog active and fresh while I have been on a bit of a posting hiatus. I am not even sure if I am ready to return to active blogging, I am dealing with some other aspects of my life right now that need more attention and trying to exert my time and focus there (more time spent in prayer, and more time spent in education) but there was something that struck me tonight that I was considering. I don't even have an answer to this question, I don't know where I stand, it's just something that is rolling around in my brain and while I am thinking of it I thought I would elicit others opinions.

The question is "can you have too much 'Christ' in your life?" Now let me explain where I am going with this BEFORE you jump all over me. Often times we see churches that focus too much on say, the Holy Spirit. They obsess over that aspect of our triune God, but they neglect to really talk about or teach much about God the Father or Christ our risen savior. It isn't a healthy environment.

Likewise, there are some churches that focus too heavily on God the Father. These are your traditional fire and brimstone, repent and be saved because our judgmental God is coming to judge YOU. Again, not the healthiest environment.

But right now we are in the day and age (at least it seems to me) of Jesus. All churches are gearing to point to Jesus, and all action is done to point to Jesus. Now I would argue for a church to be doing this on a whole, isn't nescisarilly bad, as a missional church needs to be promoting Christ the risen savior. But at the same time, are we then fostering in our congregations an unhealthy view of our complete God?

The question then becomes, can we have too much Jesus in our life, where we begin to neglect God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. We forget that God the Father made a sacrifice by sending his son. It wasn't just a sacrifice by Jesus, but also by the Father. Likewise, do we risk neglecting the work that Holy Spirit can do in our lives, the fact that he was given to us to be a part of us and to commune with us at every moment of our lives.

I don't really know how I feel on this topic. On the one hand, Christianity is really all about Christ, he is our hope and our savior. It is through his sacrifice that we are saved. Yet at the same time, there is so much more to "God" than JUST Christ, if all we focus on is Christ we are missing 2/3rd's of the picture of God.

So what do you think, can you have too much Jesus in the church and in your life? (to the point where it fosters an unhealthy relationship/view of our complete God)


James D said...

Good question. I believe you cannot over emphasize Jesus. I could start listing off all the "to live is Chirst" or "if you have seen me you have seen the Father" but I won't. I will instead look to Revelation. Here churches are reproached for abandoning their first love (Jesus), the beasts and angels worshiping Jesus, us throwing our crowns before Jesus.

We cannot only focus on one aspect of God's character (like justice or love). But I think we have to be radically Christ focused because the Bible is radically Christ focused.

I will admit that I am very influenced by Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and John Piper in my theology here. Also, never hold them accountable for my bad explanations of these concepts.

Good questions. Maybe too big for a blog.

Ryan said...

Understand that I too am highly influenced by the likes of Perry Noble, Driscoll, et all in my theology. But I also acknowledge that as Christians we can't (and won't) ever have a perfect picture of God or a perfect theology of God.

And those individuals themselves always preach to question, challenge, and evaluate the words that come from their teaching. It is healthy to double check where we as a church are and make sure we are lining up right with God.

I think currently I am of the belief that a "Church" can't be too Christ centered, but that as an individual you can be too Christ centered. Basically what I mean is that as a Church if you are called to be missional, your core tenant must and will be spreading the Gospel of Christ. That means you can't have too much Christ in your church body.

But on the flip side, as an individual, as you grow and mature in your faith, you need to realize that our God is bigger than just Christ. You need to learn to acknowledge both God the Father and the Holy Spirit, you need to communicate love and respect to the Father, while opening yourself up to the teachings of the Spirit. I think on an INDIVIDUAL basis, you can have an unhealthy (and I use that in the loosest sense of the word) view of God that is TOO Christ centered, but I also believe that by doing that, if you are truly growing, Christ himself will push you back towards a healthier point. If you are learning from his teaching and growing you have to acknowledge that he himself points to the Father and he presents the Holy Spirit.

I guess that is where I am right now, but again, this is all just rolling around in my head.

jeremy said...

Jami and I kinda talked about this back in may. We had attended a wedding where the pastor was continuously praying to the Holy Spirit. It kinda threw me a loop because i am used to hearing people (and myself) address Jesus, God, Lord, Heavenly Father, but not Holy Spirit by name. This pastor is from another uber-charismatic church, so they are known to be into the HS.

Perhaps im immature, unstudied, or just plain wrong, but i think this "issue" is just semantics for the most part.

I mean, in prayer, its not like God isn't going to hear you, or know whats on your heart because you dialed the wrong person of the trinity. "Nope, you dialed Jesus, but your prayer should have gone to the Father, you're gonna get dial tone on that one."

The thing to remember is that a mega theme of the Bible as a whole is redeption of man. God made all this stuff, including us in chapters 1 and 2. We botched it in chapter 3, and the rest of the book is fundamentally about our redeption through Jesus. He is our model, our standard. He is the one who defeated sin and death. He is the one to whom all power and authority has been given. He is the one who will come back to defeat the enemy. He is the one who will make all things new. It pretty much is all about Him, so i dont see how He can be over emphasized.

Rick and Virginia said...

I find this question very interesting on a number of levels. First the perception that those that pray to the Father (mostly) are hell fire and brimstone, those that are into the Holy Spirit are (while not said) wacked, is a interesting observation. While I think it may have some truth, I think it only shows that we do not have a clear picture of the one true God. Jesus is going to Judge all of the earth. God the Father so loved the world that he sent his son, The Spirit was sent to give us power, etc... I know you know all of this but the God head is in perfect communion / communication with each other. Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for us.

So, what does this have to do with the question. I do not believe that because you focus on one person of the God Head more than another you will be in error. It is that we do not understand the God of perfect unity. We ascribe attributes to one person of the God Head (Judgment, Love, Power) with out understanding that God is..... and each person of the God Head is...... The question is not do we have too much of one person of the God Head, but we don't have enough of any one / all three. Do we focus to much on one aspect of God sure, because we elevate that aspect that we associate with that person of the God Head. With Jesus we focus on grace, love, and mercy with out recognizing that he is going to judge this world, and that God the Father, and Spirit also are full of Love, Mercy, and Grace.

God the Father is the one who sent Jesus to redeem us. Jesus sent us the Spirit to give us power to live a life for him.