Saturday, June 24, 2006

Why people refuse Jesus

Romans 9 opens with tear-stained words of unceasing anguish at the unbelief of many. Paul teaches us that people don't refuse Jesus because God's word fails, nor for absence of spirituality, or christian background, or good works...

...neither do they refuse because the church is some how irrelevant and not seeker-senstive enough. Rather it is embarrassment of sin, and the scandal of the cross that leads people to refuse Jesus. Presented with a true Biblical portrait of Jesus Christ it is madness to refuse him... to refuse our maker who is most glorious... and who will openly welcome us, forgiving our sin by way of his bloody death on a cross. I maintain that there is no good answer to the question: Why not become a Christian?

Doug Groothuis, reviewing David Wells, Above all Powers:
"....[some] churches target specific groups and tailor their services to fit specific preferences. The underlying assumption is that “the chief barrier to conversion is sociological and not theological” (p. 289). By catering to certain preferences, and avoiding dislikes, people will naturally come to Christ.

One problem with this perspective, Wells objects, is that it is Pelagian; it assumes that people are not embarrassed by their own sin and scandalized by the Cross of Christ. Rather, non-Christians avoid the gospel because churches fail to fit their cultural sensibilities. Wells writes, Seeker methodology rests upon the Pelagian view that human beings are not inherently sinful, despite creedal affirmations to the contrary, that in their disposition to God and his Word, postmoderns are neutral, that they can be seduced into making the purchase of faith even as they can into making any other kind of purchase” (299). The answer to this theological defection, Wells avers, is a return to revealed truth: “What distinguishes the Church from this [consumer satisfaction] industry is truth. It is truth about God and about ourselves that displaces the consumer from his or her current perch of sovereignty in the Church and places God in the place where he should be” (303).
This is a matter for anguished prayer and earnest evangelism.