Mere Churchianity By Michael Spencer Chapter 1-4
Chapter 1: When Church Signs Lie • Pg. 12: Jesus shows up a lot of places we do not expect Him to. • Pg 15: Behind the “Jesus is Here” sign is a health wealth and prosperity Gospel that removes God from the status of sovereign Lord and turns him into a convenient vending machine. • Pg. 17: 28% of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhoods some in favor of a different religion or no religion at all. • Many of these still hold to God/Jesus but have rejected American Christianity • Pg. 19: Religion is our negotiation with God to try and get his help in exchange for our good behavior. • Pg. 21: Religion wants justice when one does wrong, but God knows what the person needs is grace and mercy. • Pg. 21: Perhaps those leaving churches are sending a message to others that we should take… that Christianity has done more to alienate people from Christianity then all the best selling books written by Atheists. • In fact I would add that people frustrated by the church run to these
Chapter 2 The Jesus Disconnect • Pg. 23: Evangelicals believe the growing number of young adults who grew up in church- attending families and then abandoned the ship of faith is the fault of Hollywood, liberals, rock music, and sex. Riiight. • Pg. 24: Many churches have a score card that is impossible for them to receive less then straight A’s. However, it overlooks the obvious thing: a meaningful connection to Jesus. • Pg. 25: Thousands, and possibly millions, of people are walking away from any association with the religion known as Christianity. • There has to be another reason other then premarital sex, cheap beer, and great Sunday-morning programing on television. • However many people who remain on the ship want to blame those who ﬂee rather then the ship itself. • Many of those at the top of the pecking order- pastors and other leaders who are most sought after as experts on what Christianity is- are, in fact, the leading practitioners of religion that denies Jesus-shaped spirituality. • Pg. 26: it’s more like a fraternal lodge with its own language, rules, requirements, rituals, and secret handshakes. • They are looking for authenticity, honesty, and spiritual integrity. Sadly they won’t ﬁnd it in most churches. • Pg. 26-29: a church that has disconnected itself from Jesus is like a pecan pie without the pecans.
Chapter 2 The Jesus Disconnect • Pg. 30: many evangelicals preach a prosperity Gospel, which means God can get you rich in the Western church. • Many churches also use sex as well, and if that does not work then patriotism. • Pg. 31: If you have read the Gospels have you ever seen Jesus with the following: • .44? • Wearing camo? • Reading Solider of Fortune?
Chapter 2 The Jesus Disconnect • Pg. 31: Its more like evangelicals are interested in so many other things: • Gays • Culture war • Coming elections • Gays • creeping socialism • How to raise better kids • How to beat stress • Gays • How many people got baptized last month • Vision • Leadership • Destiny • But Jesus is seldom mentioned and they have missed what the Jesus movement is about
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God? • Pg. 34: Saying, “I don’t believe in God… the god of my own ideas, concepts and preferences.” • Pg. 34: what if all this time, we’ve simply formed an idol in our mind, called it God, and worshipped it because it’s more convenient and more comfortable that contending with a God who doesn’t ﬁt in a display case or make scheduled appearances at the religious mall? •
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God? • Pg. 34-35: Wrong ideas about God are, themselves, false gods. They are idols just as much as a graven image. The following gods need to go: • The god that smilies benignly and endorses my gradual submersion into the pursuit of the American dream needs to go. • The god that inspires the culture of evangelical compromise • Gods of big churches are better • America is always right • Our sins are less sinful than their sins • You have to look and sound like me to be acceptable
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God?• Pg. 35: these need to be replaced with Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is God. Lord and God. God revealing himself to human beings. The God-man. God in a bod. God in human ﬂesh. God as a baby, a carpenter, a Jewish Healer, a cruciﬁed falsely accused criminal, a risen conqueror, and a reigning King.
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God? • Pg. 36: if your notes say the following tear up your notes: • Its wrong to touch a leper • Its wrong for women to speak in church • You know how to pray • You know who God is punishing and rewarding • You think you are clear on God’s attitude toward the Roman occupiers and other Gentiles
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God? • Pg. 36: Jesus came claiming to be God, but had most of the old Jewish traditions and teachings all wrong… or so it must have seemed to his disciples. • Pg. 37-38: Most of what the disciples had been taught about the long awaited messiah was blown out of their minds… in particular when Jesus revealed at Passover that the blood of goats and sheep were not sufﬁcient and that one person’s death would atone for all of it: Jesus. • Pg. 39: But if were are followers of Christ as were the original 12 disciples then should we not be forced to continually re-evaluate what we “know” about God as they must have on a near daily basis when He was with them?
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God? • Pg. 40-41: the disciples were continually blown away on a near daily basis and were stretched and even were awe stricken by a man named Jesus who turned a passover meal into prophecy, forgave an adulterer woman, forgives sins of a paraplegic, that he will replace the temple codes, that He will be killed and rise from the grave and ﬁnally that they would go and teach the Roman Empire and the rest of the world what He taught them. • Pg. 41: the passionate message of the Gospel is to abandon all hope in any other god, god substitute, or god-replacement
Chapter 3: What if I were wrong about God? • Pg. 43: Jesus shakes me up and I can’t get it together on my won. • Pg. 44: What we need is a personal transformation by the real Christ, not the one that is manufactured by organized Christianity. • Pg. 45: We need a Christ centered community based on Jesus. Not a church centered community based on what they perceive about God.
Chapter 4: A Christianity Jesus would Recognize • Pg. 48: Anyone can know God in a vague sense, but when we embrace words such as justiﬁcation and covenant, our appreciation of God grows. • Pg. 48:Jesus shaped spirituality involves three things: • Jesus • Having a genuine experience of God • Figuring out how a life gets transformed
Chapter 4: A Christianity Jesus would Recognize • To just about anyone life transformation is sought by all and matters pg. 49 • Pg. 49 we can easily ﬁnd something to disagree about when we start comparing churches… its a waste of time. • Pg. 50: Our big problem with Jesus is that we want to control things, and he turns out to be remarkably difﬁcult to control. • Pg. 51: Jesus was an expert on including those who were ofﬁcially excluded. He knew all about illegals, at least a far as ﬁrst-century Judaism was concerned. His personal outreach to the people who religion ofﬁcially avoided was one of the most distinctive and socking things about Jesus.