Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | November 9, 2008

RoboChristianity Part 1

Back in 1987 a movie was released called RoboCop. RoboCop is set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan, in the near future. RoboCop centers on a police officer who is brutally murdered and subsequently re-created as a super-human cyborg, otherwise known as “RoboCop”. RoboCop is designed to be a robot police officer that is governed by what is called in the movie “The Three Laws”. Certain scenes were no doubt placed in the movie to show the conflict between actual life events and those three laws. 
 
In some way, this is a description of what we call Christianity in America. Like it or not, admit it or not, we Christians like the static approach to our faith. We want uniformity. We want to have a trademarked brand that excludes any form of individuality. We don’t want anyone “doing his own thing”. We want to think alike, sound alike and look alike. We want to be easily identified in a crowd of sinners. “There’s the Christian!” we want people to say. We want to have a three-by-five index card type of faith that is easily retrievable whenever we may need it. A card that tells us exactly what we should do in every situation. We want a faith where we can be confident that we all fit into the same whole.    
 
We can find echoes of this thinking all over the spectrum of our Theology but it is most reflective in our Ecclesiology. Let’s face the truth, we love to be sectarian. We love to proclaim that we’re the ones doing it “right”. By “right” some of us mean biblically, some historically and others just mean like our favorite theologian says we should. We marginalize, slander, rebuke and exclude all those who refuse to conform. We want people to walk in lock step with us on everything from their personal devotion to the way they do ministry outreach. From our style of preaching to our choice of praise song material, like RoboCop, we too believe ourselves to be governed by static laws. We believe that they work in every situation. Whether it is ten, three, or just one (whatever My Pastor says), we yet believe ourselves to be faithful followers of Christ and proclaim ourselves to be doing it the “Christian” way. But does the scripture comport to this way of thinking? Let’s look at a few examples:
 
Jesus said to Nicodemus:”The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
 
Do you get the feeling that Jesus was expressing an unpredictable effect that the Spirit would have in a regenerate individual? Can regeneration be compared to an assembly line where every believer comes off exactly the same? Sure I believe that we have a common salvation (Jude 3) as believers but how it may appear in our lives may not be so similar. Even Jesus expressed the fickle nature in which God’s servants are identified by the “religious”. He said:
 
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinner!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:18-19)
 
John the Baptist and Jesus. Two men. Two intertwined missions. Two different approaches. Both approved by God. And what about Paul?
 
“But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me;”
 
Why didn’t Paul need to be catechized by the ones who came before him? Didn’t he need to know the uniform and liturgy? Or what about this:
 
“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)- in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.“ (Colossians 2:20-23) 
 
Why didn’t Paul think that this “structure” was necessary to prevent Christians from sinning? Didn’t he want them to be held accountable or have “church” discipline? And let’s not forget:
 
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
 
Does Paul believe that a foundational teaching is enough for Christians to thrive on? Surely he sees it necessary to do a “Marriage”, “Spiritual Leadership in the Home”, “Raising the Next Generation”, and “Spousal Submission” series, right? Was he that confident in the work of God in the life of His children?
 
Look friends, when Jesus commissioned His disciples to go out and make disciples, He intended for them to make disciples of Him and not them. How about you? Do you want men to follow you or Christ? Men have fantasized about making robots that look, talk and even think, just like them. They may appear alive but they are not. Jesus Christ, through His gospel and by His Spirit, makes men alive. Sure, at times they may appear dead but they are more alive than can be imagined. Maybe we should trust Him with how men’s lives are lived and just concentrate on introducing them to Him. The last thing we need are RoboChristians.
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