Giving recipes to the hungry?

Beat until light by Patrick Snook

 

Well, isn’t that what is happening in so many churches?

You’ve got someone who is starving to death (spiritually) and you lay out for them your favorite recipe on just how they can get what they need?

Then you add another ingredient to the recipe each week, so there’s no way this much needed, life giving meal will ever come out of the oven and be finished, and enjoyed. It becomes impossible to ever ‘arrive’. 

I’m here to say that that is a terrible way to “help” people.

 

Hand Him over!

 Give them the True Bread which comes down from Heaven, which is the meal that is completely finished for you and ready to “take and eat”.

‘How to’, ‘instructional Christianity’,  just throws gasoline on the fire. It keeps alive the Old Adam and Old Eve. It creates phonies and Pharisees. It drives people to despair. God is not interested in cleaning up the Old Adam and Old Eve in us. He wants to kill them off! He will create in their places, the New Man and New Woman, and He does this through the announcement of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake. And He does this in His Holy Supper which He lovingly prepares for you with His Body and Blood that was nailed to a bloody cross in your place. And He does this when we speak of Him and the great things He has done for us, one to another. And when we comfort each other in His Name.

This is what people need. They don’t need a ‘program’ that puts them on the fast track, slowtrack, or any other track, to greater obedience or greater spirituality.

If the non-denoms, or the Baptists, or the Roman Catholics, or the Calvinists, or the Mormons even, would hand over this bread that comes down from Heaven for broken sinners, and not put any conditions on it, then I would say “AMEN! Thanks be to God! We are in agreement!” 

To the extent that they do not hand Him over without strings attached, I will always be critical… never judgemental. Their final destination is not my business. The Lord is after the heart and knows each heart individually. He is certainly capable of making someone His own apart from any particular denomination, or church, or institution.

But we want the light of the gospel and the freedom that Christ gives to burn ever more brightly…don’t we?

So we continually place Christ at the center of it all towards that end so that some will hear and be freed from the religious project and the propping up of the self.

Don’t hand them picked-over recipes, that feature ‘what they ought be doing’. 

Hand over the One true and everlasting food that is Jesus Christ Himself and His forgiveness of sins for sinners in need of new life. And keep handing Him over, again and again, and again…in the face of all those who object that that is just not enough.

He, and He alone…is enough.    He is enough.

________________________________________________________________

You got a problem wit dat?

 

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13 Responses

  1. no Steve he isn’t enough, you have to believe in him, and then you have to show that you believe in him by your obedience to those things he commands, even though you don’t believe him when he talks about the blessings he attaches there. So you have to observe baptism and the Lord’s Supper to show that you believe in him, even though you don’t believe him. And that is just the beginning,
    No I don’t have a problem with what you have written. I have the same problems you have. I need Christ and so do they.

  2. Love the title!

  3. Are you recommending giving communion bread to unbelievers? I don’t think that saves them, and I don’t think that Lutherans do that.

  4. No, Joshua, I don’t mean that (and you are right, we don’t give the Supper to the non-baptized, or to folks that do not affirm the real presence (who we are aware of).

    I mean for Christians, not just Lutherans, to hand over Christ and give away the forgiveness of sins in His name without any add on’s. To put the emphasis on what the Lod has done for us, and to take away the emphasis from what the believer ought be doing.

    It’s tougher for those who don’t have a sacramental theology, but I hope and pray that Christians might move in that direction…away from the center…where only Christ Jesus belongs.

    Thanks, Joshua.

  5. OK; it seemed like you were contrasting with Baptist or Calvinist approach. As far as I’ve seen, the Baptists and Calvinists (and many non-denom) would say the same.

  6. Joshua,

    Yeah, most say the same thing…but their actions speak differently.

    Usually, in their preaching and teaching, the focus ends up back on ‘you’.

    I have heard way too many sermons on Christian radio, and on t.v. to come to any other conclusion.

    Plus, my friends who have left those traditions confirm my assertions.

    I do realize that I am painting with a broad brush and that there are always exceptions.

  7. “we don’t give the Supper to the non-baptized, or to folks that do not affirm the real presence (who we are aware of).”

    Steve, I’m curious. I thought ELCA had an open, “y’all come, folks”, communion policy, consistent with the ‘full communion’ agreements with the reformed of the PCUSA, UCC, and, now, the Methodists, who clearly do not confess the real presence in the eucharist.

  8. Erich,

    The ELCA’s policies are not our policies.

    While we are more strict than they are, we are also not so strict that we make everyone fill out a application each time they come up for communion.

    We announce that the Lord’s Supper is for all Baptized Christians who believe the Lord to be truly present in the bread and the wine.

    If they come up after that, we leave it up to the Lord to be gracious and merciful.

    If we are to err…we are goping to err on the His gracious side.

    • OK, I read you. In the ELCA, but not OF the ELCA.

      I think your version of close(d) communion approximates the practice of probably 80 percent or more of the LCMS parishes, even though they are “closed” in name.

  9. So the LS doesn’t save after all, just baptism and the Word? I thought this whole time you Lutherans were saying that all three saved, but now it’s down to two. Baptists just take the next step and pare it down to just the Word/God’s Spirit that saves.

  10. Well, I can’t speak for televangelists, but “saved by God-given faith alone” is very standard protestant orthodoxy; particularly with Baptists and Calvinists. I wonder if the differences that you are thinking about are based on some other things, like a debate over “perseverance”?

    For example, what do you think about this post:
    http://jackhammer.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/if-ye-continue-colossians-123/

  11. We announce that the Lord’s Supper is for all Baptized Christians who believe the Lord to be truly present in the bread and the wine.

    This is also the practice of my local church.

    However, just as much as I believe the means of grace bring faith and so salvation, it is a two edge sword, for it also condemns those that do not believe or receive what is offered or in other words reject what is being offered in the Word/Sacrament.

    LPC

  12. Those who do not believe are already condemned.

    As I mentioned earlier, we will not hand out questionaires to people aside ffrom announcing who the Supper is for.

    And we pray that the Lord will be merciful to those who may not believe, and that in His grace and mercy He might create faith where it did not exist, and strengthen it where it does exist.

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