Saying Goodbye To Guilt-Driven Christianity is an article by Dr. Alvin Reid and Jonathan Merritt over @ Relevant Magazine.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on something that I've been processing over the last several months...well actually since my last 2 bad church experiences. I know this exists, that's not the question. This is how many churches in America practice Christianity: fear and guilt. My question that I've been working on is "WHY" do they feel the need to use these tactics. But that is a post for another time. I don't want to take away from what is in this article.
Think about it. A church is behind in budget? Guilt the people into upping tithing. Attendance is low? Guilt? Not "saved". Fear of Hell is usually the chosen method over the "good news" and hope approach. I know that was the tactic that got me "saved". I didn't want to go to hell.
But this is about what should be. Guilt/fear motivation replaced by the motivation of PASSION! I think it says more about our individual church/confidence/abilities we are offering to our congregants when we have to resort to guilt to get attendance up, or offering up. Our congregants should take offence to this, because it communicates the message that "it's easier to guilt you than to inspire you". Perhaps those things are down because of a bigger reason that needs to be addressed rather than guilted to band-aid the situation.
From the article:
A guilt-driven faith will certainly go through the motions. It
will drive you to action. But a passion-driven faith forces us to tell everyone
we know about the great idea that can change the world. It will drive you to a
lifestyle. And we would long for our neighbors, friends and families to embrace
this great idea!The Great Awakenings in the Church have come in no small part
because men recaptured a sense of passion rather than guilt. John Wesley, an
ordained, Oxford-educated minister, did not become a leader in the Great
Awakening until he found an inner passion for Jesus Christ. Once that happened
he seemed outlandish to others, and he eventually had to preach in the fields.
The same could be said of Whitefield and Edwards, Finney and Spurgeon, Luther
and Savonarola. They embraced a passion for the great idea of Christianity.
Our faith is certainly not comprised only of passion. It is also
pure, revealed truth. But the truth of our faith is more than mere,
propositional fact; it is a great idea that is worthy of infectious passion.It
seems a passionless faith may be one reason so many find our faith unattractive
and disingenuous. We must revive the great idea of our great God. We must
rediscover the great commission and great commandment. We must pursue a
passion-driven Christianity. If our faith is to become a transformative,
redemptive power within the culture, we need to flee guilt-driven, duty-centered
puppetry and call down a passion for the great idea of the Gospel.
This is just a cut-and-paste on this topic, but I would like to hear your thoughts. Read the full article here.