I am an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have been a believer for over 40 years as of this writing, having been saved during the Jesus and Charismatic movements of the mid-1970‘s. I’m an experienced addictions and abuse counselor, jail minister, and teacher of the Word. I received my Doctor of Ministry degree in August 2014. Though I have been a member of a few churches affiliated with various denominations over the years, the bulk of my Christian experience has been in non-denominational charismatic settings.
That being said, I’m also one of the least religious people you will ever meet.
Why? I’m a radical. I stand apart from most of the classic stereotypes — within and without Christendom — of what most folks assume a Christian is and should be, believe and not believe (apart from the core doctrines of Christianity, that is), and stand for or against in the marketplace of ideas and popular culture.
Jesus the Radical is my Lord and Example. He stood in loving opposition to everything the culture, society, and governmental/religious establishments of His day deemed normal and proper, while showing compassionate mercy to the marginalized and healing the sick and the wounded.
As a radical, I believe the Church’s calling is not to be culturally relevant, but to be a counter-culture revolution within whatever society we find ourselves, just as 1st‑ and 2nd-century believers functioned within the Roman Empire. Jesus calls us to be salt and light, not chameleons. In other words, we’re supposed to be transforming our society, not seeking social acceptability!
I am convinced the commandments, doctrines, and traditions of men have so repelled the unsaved and marginally churched in this nation that they have thrown away the Truth-of-the-Gospel baby with the religious-nonsense-of-men bath water. They cannot see the real Jesus because our religious baggage is obscuring their vision of the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life.
Until and unless we ruthlessly root out man’s religion and its shame-based performance mentality from our beliefs and return to the purity of the Word, the love of God, and our freedom in Christ, our country’s devolution into religious, political, and economic chaos will continue unabated. Why? Because our salt has become tasteless and our light has become hidden under a traditions-of-men bushel.
While I am a firm believer in the local church, much of the trappings found in today’s denominations, churches, and ministers are holdovers from a day long past — a day never to return, I might add. America is currently a post-Christian nation, regardless of how godly our Founding Fathers may have been. Welcome to the Last Days!
As the late Keith Green once sang, the Church has been “asleep in the light” for way too long. It’s far past the time for the Church to wake up, smell the coffee, and return to the “really old days” of being a counter-culture influence as described and demonstrated in the Book of Acts. We should be reaching the world on that basis, instead of lamenting our waning influence in the marketplace of ideas and trying to hang on tooth-and-nail to the so-called “good old days” when Christians and ministers were respected members of society rather than marginalized as kooks and weirdos.
The disastrous consequences of all this are being seen throughout America’s post-modern society: our country now flounders about on the world stage, lacking the moral compass it was founded upon. This has opened wide the door for attacks of the enemy as witnessed by 9/11, our sagging economy, and the almost daily ethical/moral failures of our governmental and church leaders. Our country is rapidly becoming a diseased hulk of its former self.
The entire world is suffering for it.
That’s the bad news. The Good News is that God is faithful to His Word, redemptive in His purposes, and relentless in His lovingkindness toward us as individuals, as well as our wayward nation — no matter how far we have strayed.
Time is short and we need to be living deliberate lives of submission the Most High, doing whatever it is He has for us to do in these Last Days “with our might” as well as with the might of the Holy Spirit. If we do so, we’ll hear those coveted words:
“Well, done, good and faithful servant!”