**WARNING THIS POST MAY ANNOY YOU, PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY THROUGH BEFORE FORMULATING YOUR OPINION--IF YOU CAN DO THAT, THEN YOU'LL GET THE POINT FOR SURE...**
How do you like your Gospel? Rare, medium-well, or toast? Depends on your taste right? I guess so. It's really a matter of choice isn't it? It may as well be with the plethora of options we have to choose from. Almost like going to the old school buffet bar for family night. Now that's fine dining. While you gorge on your preference, you can get free dessert too. Man, isn't America great? Not only can I choose what flavor cake I want, I can eat it too. Then I can put it away and tell the rest of the world how they should deny themselves and sacrifice for jesus. Who's jesus? You tell me...
Imagine that we have a preconceived, and presupposed notion of how things are. Matter of fact, forget imagining, let's just flat out assume. Then, take that presupposition and base it upon our experiential relationship with what we believe to be god. Instead of the safer route of basing all presupposition upon scripture, we'll opt for the former.
For sake of argument, let's assume that the god we worship is our perception of some 'type' of jesus. Then, we see that this experience dictates our relation to the world, others around us, and those who we feel "led" to preach the gospel to.
Next, isolate our demographic, narrow our target audience, and then yoke everyone around us by the standard we've set based upon our individualized experiences. Let's also keep in mind that because we are reaching this group, it is on terms our experience has created. The next assumption is that we know the hearts of men. Then another assumption is that we are able to divide the truth infallibly and precisely as if we spoke it into existence, and any challenging position is heresy and automatically dead wrong. We can also throw in the half-cocked, lame brained idea that we actually have an influence upon those being ministered to by our experiential gospel with hit and run 'here's our message tactics'.
Another assumption is made that the efforts that are half hearted put into this experience based concoction of a gospel is actually going to change peoples hearts and deliver them from their sin. Not only their sin, but their environment and their life. Not only their environment and life, but their entire culture, worldview, and ethnic identity--as empty as ethnic identity is, it exists. Now that all of our assumptions or ducks, or whatever, are all in a row, what then? Well, we are successful members of ministry, men and women of god, people who have been set apart from the mainstream, and wonderful participants of the kingdoms will for the nations! Here in the present tense! We are prophets, called to beckon Nineveh and Sodom. Ordained to Apostolic offices that stand on par with the canonized words of Scripture. We have been nominated to faithfully communicate the very spoken words of our own presupposed-experiential gospel as if they were the words of God himself.
Where do we start then? Can't we just leave everyone where they are? Or do we allow them to fend for themselves, plug into a fellowship we disagree with (pretty much all of em, anywhere). Do we know where to send them if we can't bring them back to our own local body? Should we ignore this glaring defect in our ministry so that a week later we can shred them and their entire concept of Christ while accusing them of being false converts? The latter sounds so harsh, but it is more edifying for our ego and our piety. After all, we can only define our piety by destroying yours, shoot, it makes us feel better. After all, they are all religious hypocrites? Well? Pharisees deserve that kind of treatment don't they? So what if you've professed Christ, your not in fellowship with me so you are a religious hypocrite worthy of the rebuke the Lord Jesus gave to the Pharisees. Their religion isn't true like ours, it is based upon a false conception. After all, they are American, so they automatically don't know Christ. Their mere profession is worthy of dismissal the second it falls from their mouths, they must immediately be rebuked and strongly corrected. There is no way they are babes in Christ, or new converts, there's no way they are fellowshipping with a genuine local body, there's no WAY THEY CAN POSSIBLY KNOW MORE THAN WE DO ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD...DON'T THEY KNOW WE ARE THE RESTORATION OF THE PROPHETS OF OLD, CALLED OF THE ISRAEL KIND TO CONDEMN THE NATIONS!
WAIT WAIT WAIT! LET ME BREATHE HERE...
Shouldn't we talk to them first? See where they really are in life? See what they really think about the Gospel? See if their profession matches their fruit? Love them as our brothers or sisters, or even better, love them because they may be our enemy? Better still, regardless of the results of any of these answers, shouldn't we be determined to know nothing among them except Christ and Him crucified? -Amen