Retro-Blob: Saved on my computer on June 16, 2004
I have had the privilege of attending many mass evangelistic crusades in my life. At my first week long Billy Graham Crusade in Baltimore, Md., Dr. Graham was greeted as a celebrity to which he commented, “The last time my Lord came to town as a celebrity, in one week they crucified Him.” Being a part of the outdoor Jesus Festivals in the 70’s which drew tens of thousands was awesome. Most impressive to me was the Promise Keepers “Standing In The Gap” Crusade that saturated every inch of the Mall area of Washington, DC from the Capitol building to the Washington Memorial encompassing well over a million men. The total silence created by praying men on their faces impressed me beyond words!
In spite of the large crusades that win souls for Christ, I still have to ask what happens to all of the souls that were just won for Christ! One day while working on my computer, I had to save a file. I became astonished when pulling down a menu screen I discovered over 30 different choices of formats to save my file. I was apprehensive knowing that if you do not save the file under its proper format, you could not call that document up later under a different format. With no standard set by the computer industry, all this diversity didn’t flow together. In fact it opposed one another. ¨
This made me reflect on one of today’s attitudes of the church. When a new convert is saved, he is automatically labeled a Catholic, or Protestant, or Pentecostal, or an Evangelical, or a Fundamentalist, a Conservative or a Liberal, a Main Line Denominational, or an Independent, etc. Even under those main divisions there are subdivision ie. Protestant: Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, Mennonite, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Church of the Brethren, and even Lutheran. Under these subdivisions are even smaller groups: several kinds of Baptists, Lutherans, Mennonites, etc.!
When one is “saved” and labeled, he/she too is formatted through doctrine and theology by those who lead him/her into that decision, and has trouble functioning under or with another program or label. Like the computer system, an argument over which program (or church organization) is better, more efficient, etc. propagates.
Some believe that the church, like the computer industry, has no one standard (except the one they personally believe in), so all its diversity doesn’t flow well together either! This belief is based on a false premise. There is one standard by which all new born Christians are saved (or formatted), Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus can one be saved, have eternal life in the Kingdom of God, have peace with his maker, the world, and with himself. The only thing that can make diversity unite in the church is Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit. Mass evangelism proves this. The invitation is not to become one of the above church labels, but to ask Jesus into one’s heart, being born again in Jesus Christ, creating a new spiritual life.
The church needs to quit fragmenting itself with labels that aren’t compatible with other labels in its own body! Let’s pray and work for a body of Christ that is centered, focused, and moving forward with only one goal and aim, that of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ! If that is done, then the Church will never have a menu bar to be dropped bringing division again!