Monthly Archives: February 2019

Versions of Christianity You Should Reject (According to Jesus): “Faded Love”


[To the Church of Ephesus: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (Revelation 2:1-7)]

The church at Ephesus had it all: fantastic programs, belief-system integrity, an intolerance for abusive behavior, and endurance in the face of hardship (all important things).

But their love had dried up.

 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” (Revelation 2:4).

They started out caring about each other and their community, but somehow a different motivation crept in. Didn’t really matter what was driving all their busy-ness now – if they didn’t return to their compassion-saturated roots, Jesus was going to “remove their lampstand.”

[This story has a happy ending. Twenty years after this church was gently rebuked by Jesus, they received a letter from one of the early church fathers (Ignatius) commending them for the depth of their love for one another. Looks like they got the message.]

Reject any version of Christianity that’s driven by something other than a genuine interest in the well-being of others. But when you find love-driven followers of Christ, engage and embrace them.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

 Especially when …

 Schmidt Happens

[Next post: The Church of Pergamum: “Minimization” (Revelation 2:12-17); click on the Follow button to get notifications of new posts.]

Versions of Christianity You Should Reject (According to Jesus): Misrepresentation

Checking for counterfeits

A few years ago, I saw a portrayal of the wilderness temptation of Christ that resonated with me. Satan took the form of a coifed executive who led Jesus through multiple future scenarios of all the horrifying things that would be done in His name if He went through with the crucifixion … Catholics and Protestants burned at the stake, the torture-induced confessions of the Inquisition, mind-destroying cults, and “healing-for-hire” televangelists.

In the second and third chapters of Revelation (the last book of the Bible), the Apostle John included letters from Jesus to seven churches in an area of the world that is now modern-day Turkey.

In some of these letters, Jesus points out the embryonic forms of the abuses listed above, and threatens to “pull the plug” on these congregations if they don’t stop it.

(In these letters, “pull the plug” is translated “remove your lampstand” – which essentially means that Jesus simply steps away from congregations who keep doing things in His name that are dishonoring to Him and to others).

In the end, Jesus will not tolerate being misrepresented.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

In the meantime, keep an eye out for (and avoid) the counterfeits—and then don’t hesitate to engage and embrace the real thing.

Especially when …

Schmidt Happens

(Next post: The Church of Ephesus: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”).

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