About 150 years ago, Soren Kierkegaard wrote these words:
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand it we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?
Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament
Are we capable of acting accordingly? Yes. Do we want to? No. It’s always a lot easier to remain as a Christian community practicing group deception.
To my mind, that’s why we are in desperate need of real prophetic voices – challenging our cosy preconceptions and our blindness – stirring things up and causing ‘trouble’.
Too many of the current voices are either marketing the deceit of the prosperity gospel or having fun playing with images of the end times. Anything but hitting us where it hurts.
Without wanting to sound pretentious, I am convinced this is my calling. Whenever I get close to Gods’ heart in this matter, overcoming my own propensity to blindness, it is as if there is a fire burning in my bones. A mantle is laid upon me, and I cannot help but speak, prophesy, in His name. I am compelled to do so.
There are concequences to this calling, for we also are a stiff necked people, secure in our own pride and affluent arrogance, saying ‘we lack nothing’. We are rich, we say, secure in all that our malls can provide. The great god GDP will sustain us forever.
The verdict has already been written. Rather than being rich, we are poor pitiful fools, hewing our own broken cisterns while forsaking the true living water. People will not listen. People cannot listen, lest they be undone from all they hold most dear. This mantle is one that invites a response of deafness, blindness, apathy, indifference, ignorance, and in the rare case, anger. There are a few who will turn, who will listen. Listen, for the Lord still calls you, calls you to turn aside from your own way, and back to the True Way. Choose to live.
The truth is this – if you walk with Him you cannot help but be in conflict with the world. If you are not in conflict with the world then examine yourself. Do you really walk with Him? Or a deception of your own making? Go back to the bible, go back to Him and enquire. Is there any wicked way in me, Lord?
So often we have it all upside-down. Does Jesus really care if we are popular? Does he really care if we’ve grown big churches? Does He care if we have all the trappings of success?
I read that He was unpopular, scorned, rejected and despised. I read that He gave hard words that stripped Him of the vast majority of His followers. I read that He would go off alone to pray when the needs of the world were laid at His feet. I read that he was a failure in the eyes of the world.
Jesus said – But be of good heart, for I have overcome the world (John 16 v33). You must choose in the end, friends. Whether you will overcome the world, or whether the world will overcome you. You have to choose. So, choose life this day.
(original inspiration here)