What to do when the house is burning…

Kristen has been especially moved by the love of Christ shown in Corrie Ten Boom. If you are not familiar, Corrie (15 April 1892 – 15 April 1983) was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. She was imprisoned for her actions. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, is a biography that recounts the story of her family’s efforts, as well as her time spent in a concentration camp.

Here’s the quote…

When a house is on fire and you know that there are people in it, it is a sin to straighten pictures in that house. When the world about you is in great danger, works that are in themselves not sinful can be quite wrong.

What is moving to us about her life and what this quote sheds light on, is the fact that many Christians are spending their lives on trifles when people are in grave danger. This is more true today that at any point in my life when there are tens of thousands of Christians going to Christian conferences, joining Christian education movements, participating in Christian book clubs, and generally living in a happy little Christian bubble.

A friend who has been a Southern Baptist leader for 20 years reminded me today that only 5% of professing Christians will ever share the gospel with an unbelieving person. That, dear reader, is a life committed to rearranging pictures while the house is on fire. Is it that the other 95% are bed-ridden? No, they are spending all their energy on things of questionable eternal value. They are doing what Corrie described as straightening the pictures in a burning house.

Imagine that you walk up to a house on fire. Inside you hear people screaming for help. There is a young mom struggling for air holding two small children out a window. Outside there is not just one but several fire brigades and 20 or 25 firemen in full gear washing their trucks and arranging their hoses. They tell you it’s important to have the fundamentals right and to get to know their equipment well. What would you think? You would be out of your mind with anger because while it is important for a fire department to maintain their equipment and improve their preparations, their job is to rescue people in danger. To be fully dedicated to the lesser thing and ignore the mission is a catastrophic failure of calling.

I’m afraid this is where we are in the church in the west. I say this with no great joy and with the admission that I am not doing all that I can do either. Not that many years ago I was one of those people living in the Christian bubble. (Ironically, you tend to not see the bubble until you get out of it even though it has taken over your whole life.) We must focus on saving those on their way to destruction, and risk our lives doing so. The house is burning and the pictures don’t really matter that much.

In the next post I will share some of the things that can help us focus on the rescue mission.

 

Political Christianity

Brian loaned me the book “The Christian Manifesto” by Francis Schaefer. I’ve been reading what I can of it these last few days. I expect I will do a book review on it, but sharing some thoughts on it may be worthwhile as well.

I am appreciating Schaeffer’s main point that if Jesus is Lord, then He is Lord of all. This includes mankind’s political ways. He highlights what happened between the 1940s and 1970s relative to the dramatic shift in Amerrica toward secular humanism, including how liberal Christians aided the movement. He describes liberal Christians as humanists with theological language who are humanists nonetheless.

I guess I will need to be thinking more and more about some of his points. If you read this blog at all, I hope you see a thought process that basically says Christians should not fret and fuss over politics because God’s purposes are not generally political – they are related to the Gospel. He does make a compelling point however that being salt and light means we must be engaged and use the freedom that is peculiar to very few countries to maintain the freedom we have as a result of our founding fathers’ belief that law is greater than king because law is provided first by the great Lawgiver, God Himself.

Overall, very thought provoking for me and I believe I will write more after I get my thoughts in place.