Anyone who has been paying attention to my blog lately knows that I have been offering gentle criticism of my Reformed brothers and sisters, particularly of Baptist background.
Therefore, it is time for some praise for these. I want to highlight some of the wonderful words from two of my students, currently attending a Baptist or non-denominational churches (I have pointed out to them that non-denominational churches are decidedly Baptist in their theology of baptism).
First, hear Ryan:
many Jews overlooked prophecies that also spoke of this king as a suffering servant who would be rejected and killed. It is no wonder, then, that few recognized Jesus as the Messiah. How could this humble carpenter’s son from Nazareth be their king? But Jesus was and is the King of all the earth!
He spoke, and galaxies whirled into place, stars burned the heavens, and planets began orbiting their suns- words of awesome, unlimited, unleashed power. He spoke again, and the waters and lands were filled with plants and creatures, running, swimming, growing, and multiplying – words of animating, breathing, pulsing life. Again he spoke, and man and woman were formed, thinking, speaking, and loving – words of personal and creative glory. And then he came in the flesh to a speck in the universe called planet Earth. The mighty Creator became a part of the creation, limited by time and space and susceptible to aging, sickness, and death. But love propelled him, and so he came to rescue and save those who were lost and to give them the gift of eternity. He is the Word; he is Jesus, the Messiah.
The personal experience that jumps out to me the most in relation to this individual search for God is that of my father. He was not raised in a Christian home and did not attend any type of church, vacation Bible school, Sunday school, etc. growing up. In his testimony, he talks about how as a teen he often felt empty inside – like there was something he was missing. This came to a catalyst one night (over 40 years ago) when he was alone in an old farmhouse. His life was at the point where it seemed like suicide was his best option, and he was strongly considering ending his life. By God’s divine working, a Billy Graham crusade was on TV that night, and my father found himself drawn to what was being preached. He cried out to God and asked Him to fill the empty space that he had felt for so long. From that night forward, my father has lived a life devoted to God and has raised his family to do the same. It is so very evident the change in his life once he discovered the One who could fill his emptiness.
Leslie again, describing her experience in a local church she attended to complete one of the assignments for the class:
Overall, I felt extremely comfortable in this church, and I’m fairly certain this is how they wanted me to feel. The casual dress, the coffee shop, and the ambience of the auditorium all contributed to this. The problem is, church isn’t meant to only make people feel comfortable. In fact, there are many times in church I’ve felt uncomfortable – reprimanded and admonished by God’s Word through the sermon. In contemplating who is Jesus Christ understood to be and what is His role in this community, I came to the following conclusion: Jesus is viewed at Eaglebrook as a good role model and someone through whom we can learn some valuable and applicable life lessons. Personally, I don’t believe this church has the Bible, God’s authoritative Word, as the foundation for their interpretation of Biblical Christianity. It seems they have taken what the world considers easy and comfortable and fun, and built their church around this. They are certainly attracting many souls, but are these souls then being taught about Jesus – the Savior who suffered and died to redeem people from eternal separation from God? Sadly, I fear the answer is no.