Nothing needs to be said – Just read the following I found over at Rick Freuh’s blog : Following Judah’s Lion
The Idol of Orthodoxy
A Call to Prayer
Being a Christian is much more than being a doctrinal zealot. It means being a Jesus zealot, which unfolds in living ways that are much more profound and recognizable than just acknowledging certain theological truths. Faithfulness to Biblical doctrines must have a vigor that goes beyond theological defenses and scriptural proofs. Without a conspicuous difference in one’s approach to everything in life, an orthodox theology becomes evidence of significant hypocrisy.
And this approach to life must go far beyond moral stands and doctrinal creeds. It must transcend textbook truths and convictions concerning sin and the human condition. How easy and self gratifying it is to cloister one’s self inside the safety of abstract truth, even absolute truth, and pitching a self righteous booth within whose walls you can find self purpose and suggest divine approval. And armed with a Bible and a complete list of acceptable faith tenants, millions of professing believers walk into a Sunday morning gathering of fellow Biblical students who have also learned what constitutes truth. And ready to be stroked again they hear once more things with which they agree and which validates both their systematic theology as well as their divine status. And after the benediction they smile and greet one another content with the knowledge that they are on the narrow doctrinal path. They prepare to eat.
Many, if not most, came to this gathering with very little expectation of meeting with the Risen Christ in a powerful and life changing way. You see, our lives have already been changed, its others that need changing. Most arrived unprepared to hear anything but affirmation from God through the lips of a teacher who himself is caught up in a western lifestyle. You see, they may admit to needing some slight adjustment, and they are willing to acknowledge their imperfection without entering into any considerable or uncomfortable spiritual alterations. Most Sunday gatherings are not designed to passionately seek the Spirit’s cutting edge, and when you observe the congregation as they leave on time you will notice they leave just as they came, although usually with a greater level of emotional buoyancy, but they leave unchanged and unchallenged.
It is impossible for an artist to paint an accurate image if he is presented with an incomplete or even a distorted image as his guide. And while literally millions upon millions of professing believers live inside this evil culture, we show no considerable consternation concerning how little impact we are having. In fact, inside the “orthodox” community there is a school of thought that suggests that part of the problem is other churches and other liberal driftings, but thankfully we are holding down the doctrinal fort for God. Coming and going; buying and selling; talking and talking; and reinforcing ourselves all the way with redundant doctrinal assurances but being completely blind to just how profoundly lacking is our expression of Jesus Himself who is supposed to be our model and leader. But our orthodoxy satisfies our spiritual obligation and conveniently fills our Jesus void as we bow to that doctrinal golden calf.
What does it mean to be orthodox? If orthodoxy can be proven by words on a page then of what value is the concept? If orthodoxy comes from the lips and the pen then it is a worthless literary abstract. The truth is that over the years we believers have constructed a doctrinal safe house that accommodates our need to feel faithful without any real self comparison of the Jesus template as well as some arresting New Testament Scriptures that cannot possibly mean what they seem to say. We exact the most precise doctrinal wording concerning the Trinity, which is taught sparingly in the New Testament and is a concept that cannot be fully understood by the human mind, but when Jesus says plainly not to save up money for yourselves upon this earth we splice and dice that to dilute the meaning into some ethereal principle so we all can have our savings, vacation, and retirement accounts and still feel obedient to Christ. And melded with the culture, and content with being content, the church meanders their way in spiritual mediocrity and resourceful self affirmation and rationalization. We have become our own enemy.
The only genuine way to “stand for truth” is to live it. And not just the fine china of truth, but the everyday reflections of Jesus Himself. Hollow is the doctrinal continuum that debates and defends truths while openly and defiantly refusing to acknowledge many plain truths that should be affecting our very lives. In much of orthodoxy humility is weakness; love is sacrine; mercy alters justice; grace must be earned; and in so many other ways we have been taught and now teach a bastardized version of what it means to imitate Jesus. And at the core of it all is self righteousness. And openly within the orthodox community idolatry is displayed and even taught as part of a disciples life. Pledging allegiance to a Babylonian nation and even openly expressing “love” for that nation shows a breathtaking deviance from Christ and a deception that would astound the early believers. And since most “orthodox” believers are unwilling to examine things they have already assumed they know, the pattern continues and is passed down to the next generation.
And so we continue to have what we now have, a light that shines a dull, gray beam with much more heat than light and with little if any salt. We are known for our church buildings and titles, our music and our political views, but not our Jesus lifestyles. And to avoid the natural tension that must come when we actually believe God’s Word and compare that with how we live, we change the Bible into a manual that aids us in how to successfully live a western lifestyle of hedonism, narcissism, and earthly success. And the doctrinally “pure” spend their time examining the doctrines of others and applauding their own faithfulness without realizing that in very real ways they themselves have departed from the teachings of Jesus. Nothing changes and no one cares.
In Sheldon’s classic book “In His Steps” he creates a narrative about how molding our lives into the teachings of Jesus just might affect us profoundly. The implications of such an endeavor were life changing. But we have gotten so used to both the little and the big foxes that our vines barely grow any fruit. After the Industrial Revolution the energies of man centered on inventing ways to elevate his material lifestyle and leveraging his labor so as to provide the maximum enhancement to his own existence. In short, the “pursuit of happiness” became an endeavor centered upon the material. We now must have the best clothes, the best televisions, the best music, the best cars, and the church is filled with people who not only seek the best of everything within their personal budgets, but most are encumbered with large amounts of debt so they enjoy things that are above their means. And most are orthodox people who say they believe the words of Jesus and believe in a two fold eternity that awaits all men. With their lips they profess eternity but with their lives they embrace this present world.
There is only one answer: revival. Without a massive and life shaking awakening we will continue to exist on this ecclesiastical treadmill, full of activity and sound, but going nowhere. Some will be satisfied with creative fairy tales while others will find contentment with exposing the shortcomings and the sins of others. Both drink from different ends of the same trough. I again suggest that true, orthodox Christianity is not actually practiced in the west, and that we all are caught up in a spiritual construct that does not even remotely mirror the words of the New Testament or the life model of our Savior. We live for ourselves and allow some non-sacrificial scraps to fall off our table and be given to the church, which is not necessarily the work of God. We are all guilty before God.
I contend that the first step toward any substantive journey that awakens our souls must be prayer. Ah, there it is. I do not mean some 10 or 15 minute laundry list that touches the bases and slides into home plate feeling a sense of fulfilling a spiritual obligation. I am speaking of igniting a passionate obsession with prayer that earnestly beseeches heaven to break up the fallow ground and remake us into His image once more. I speak of nightly prayer meetings and fastings, and going without lunch in lieu of prayer. I am envisioning letting prayer become a holy impulse that calls to us constantly and opens thousands of new prayer closets around the country.
This kind of prayer must not be driven by excitement or the energy of something new; this prayer must be a holy plowing of our hearts and minds that invites, yea begs, the Spirit to invade our neat little spiritual lives and overturn the money changing tables in our very hearts. We must implore and supplicate the Spirit to come with His own scourging that wounds us with wounds of correction, redemption, and to the glory of God. Without a visitation of unusual and inconveniencing prayer we have no hope but to continue in the mundane lifestyles that deny the power, if not the actual existence, of the Risen Christ.
But if that prayer scenario seems like too much trouble and too much uncertainty as to where it would lead, and if that challenge would necessitate way too much time and energy, and if that narrative requires too much repentance and admission of spiritual lack across the board, we can always find safety and security in this:
We are orthodox.
In our own minds.