Tromos
03-19-2007, 04:45 AM
OK, so my wife and I went to the MercyMe / Audio A / Aaron Shust concert last weekend when it came through town. Shust was pretty cool, despite his poppy radio presence and Audio A rocked the house down.

But the point of this thread comes from MercyMe. The band's front man, Bart Millard, took some time halfway through their set to preach a bit. While this isn't my favorite thing at a concert, I wasn't especially surprised. Mark Hall did the same thing during the Casting Crowns concert.

Something Bart said, though, got me all bothered. After standing up there and making fun of church people who don't like electric guitars and drums, he jumped on this bandwagon I've been seeing a lot lately. It's this one:

"Too much church. Too much religion. Not enough Jesus."

Now I'm not going to fight that one because it's about as meaningful as saying "There's a great evil in the world." While true, it's not especially insightful or educating. My 4-year-old son can state the obvious too.

My problem comes with the statement he spent 10 minutes leading up to:

"The only thing that matters is a personal relationship with Jesus."

At this point, I think he clearly crossed the line into bad theology. So you know where I stand on this line and I have my reasons, but I'd like to hear your opinion and your reasons for it.

skynes
03-19-2007, 07:44 AM
My problem comes with the statement he spent 10 minutes leading up to:

"The only thing that matters is a personal relationship with Jesus."

At this point, I think he clearly crossed the line into bad theology. So you know where I stand on this line and I have my reasons, but I'd like to hear your opinion and your reasons for it.


Could you tell me why you think it's bad theology and what your problem with it is?

At first glance, I can't see a problem with it. The thing that sprung to my mind was when Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said that he was determined to not know anything among them except Christ and Him crucified. Laura pointed out to me that Jesus wanted everyone to leave everything and follow Him.

So maybe if you gave your reasons I might be able to form a better thought.

"Too much church. Too much religion. Not enough Jesus."


Wow... And i bet some people spent 5 years in Bible College to come to the conclusion this guy did in one concert... I am amazed beyond belief, the obvious statement so easily missed among day to day life... </sarcasm> Lol.

dawn of light
03-19-2007, 09:25 AM
"The only thing that matters is a personal relationship with Jesus."
Not the only thing that matters, just the most important thing.

somasoul
03-19-2007, 01:13 PM
Not the only thing that matters, just the most important thing.

Did Jesus ever use the word relationship?

In fact, didn't Jesus say something like, Blessed are those who believe yet have not seen?

And didn't Jesus' life seem and teachings seem to command us to die daily, give up our worldly possessions and help the poor, the sick, the depressed?

DarkestRose
03-19-2007, 01:37 PM
A relationship with Jesus is important. I think of the Mary/Martha story where we learn that it's better to sit at Jesus' feet than be busy doing things. On the other side of the coin, however, Jesus often reprimanded the Pharisees because they had decided they could be religious without loving people. And faith without works is dead. And, like Tim said, Jesus did talk about us dying to ourselves daily, that we were being sent out into this world to help others. So I think there is supposed to be a beautiful balance where we both love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and we love others as ourselves, serving them.

A problem I feel with "Too much church. Too much religion. Not enough Jesus," is that it doesn't feel feel applicable to life. What is considered religious? What is considered has just having a relationship with Jesus? There is so much overlap, like how Bible study, prayer and worship have so much about coming to know Jesus and letting Him change us, but they also could be considered religious practices.

Tromos
03-19-2007, 04:50 PM
I think you guys have touched on my biggest things already.

1) Too much church, not enough Jesus.
While it may be true in some sense, I think this attitude is become more the problem than the solution. We seem to have had this "awakening" in the last 10 years or so to the idea that people go to church and do their churchy things and leave church thinking they are saved because they did their Sunday duty. And in our backlash to this, I feel like we've gone completely the other way. It seems fashionable now to proclaim that you don't need church. Just have your own little private religion and your own private dealings with God. Interpret Scripture how you see fit. Keep all your secrets between you and God so no one else finds out. Do your own thing because organized religion really is the opiate of the masses and nothing more.

But that's not Biblical. From the beginning God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. And every time someone lambasts the church, they insult the Bride of Christ. We are a social people created to support and sustain each other, to keep each other accountable, and to exist as a body - each serving in his or her own capacity to keep the body healthy. You can't just choose to be a toe and expect to survive.


2) The only thing that matters is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I agree with Rachel. Your love for Jesus and placing Him at the center of everything is the most important thing and is absolutely critical for everything else to be right. But it's not the only thing and Tim really nailed what's missing. If Jesus is the only thing that matters, then we have only met one (albeit the more important) of the two great commandments. But love for Jesus isn't enough. We have to love each other too.

If anyone had a personal relationship with Jesus, it was Peter. Yet in John 21, Jesus asks Peter if he loved Him. Peter said "Yes Lord", but that wasn't enough. 3 times Jesus asked until Peter got mad. Because Peter needed to learn that it isn't enough to just love Jesus. You must "feed His sheep" too.

So this is why I think the message is bad theology. Bart Millard didn't tell people to abandon their churches, but that's what people seem to be wanting to hear lately. When you tell someone that the only thing that matters is a personal relationship with Jesus and that there's too much church and too much religion, you plant the seed that the right path is to isolate yourself and seek Jesus in a vacuum. And while it's important to be silent to hear the Voice of God, you have to remember that the second great commandment is like the first and is also necessary.

Sorry I rambled. This was way too long.

as~i~lay~dying
03-19-2007, 08:40 PM
I personally think that is about the truest thing I have ever heard. In fact my aunt (who is an unbeliever) just came to visit and that is one of the things we tried to get across. Once you have a relationshop with Him the other things will fall into place.

DarkestRose
03-19-2007, 09:26 PM
Tromos, I agree with what you're saying about the church. God really has been giving me a bigger heart for the Church. I'm not the kind of person who can easily talk about her problems with others, but I've been finding that it's amazingly elating to talk with other Christians about what I'm going through, to gain their insights, prayers and sympathies.

skynes
03-19-2007, 11:34 PM
...Tromos' points...

Getcha now, makes much more sense and I agree with you.

Tromos
03-20-2007, 05:55 AM
Getcha now, makes much more sense and I agree with you.

*faints*

Seriously, I didn't see that coming. :o

somasoul
03-20-2007, 06:16 AM
I personally think that is about the truest thing I have ever heard. In fact my aunt (who is an unbeliever) just came to visit and that is one of the things we tried to get across. Once you have a relationshop with Him the other things will fall into place.

But maybe if we loved people more, they would come to Jesus more.

It seems that the church believes that we evangelize by preaching the good news. Who said: "Preach the Gospel at all time and if neccessary use words"?

Tromos
03-20-2007, 08:30 AM
Who said: "Preach the Gospel at all time and if neccessary use words"?

St. Francis of Assisi

Tromos
03-20-2007, 08:38 AM
As the years pass, I find that the mark of the true Christian amongst his brethren (not being sexist, just a wording choice) is that most difficult of concepts for the intelligent Christian man - sympathy.

Few things turn me into a heathen like stupidity, self-pity, or laziness in others (but not myself, of course ;)). Yet Jesus didn't meet these things with scathing insults and sarcasm. Jesus met all things with love and conquered them all with love. As a Christian man, this is the battle with which I struggle. Not to maintain a personal relationship with Jesus, but to be humble and Christ-like in the face of those who frustrate me with their inaction. A sympathetic heart that loves people where they are instead of pridefully insisting that they must try harder to "earn" my respect.

skynes
03-20-2007, 08:48 AM
St. Francis of Assisi

And I might add what he said isn't scripture so it shouldn't be taken as it.

But maybe if we loved people more, they would come to Jesus more.

Nope, God draws whoever He chooses. Without the work of the Holy Spirit noone could be saved.

(No I am preaching Calvinism here, but unless God replaces a heart of stone, with a heart of flesh, they cant turn to Him)

*faints*

Seriously, I didn't see that coming.

What? Your argument is scripturally sound. Jesus had TWO most important commandments, not one. Love God and love your neighbour. You were perfectly right to point that out.

"Too much church. Too much religion. Not enough Jesus."

Been thinking upon this. The big question I have in response to it is: And?

So yeah too much church and religion, what do you do about it?

He would have been better to not say anything that point out a fault with no solution. That's judgement done WRONG. A correct judgement would have pointed out the flaw "Too much church, too much religion, Not enough Jesus", but would also have given a suggestion for correction "Spend more time with Christ, pray to Him, read His Word, learn His ways and
immitate them"

Jesus when condemning the Pharisees, told them their fault and told them how to correct it

e.g. the whitewashed tombs one, they clean the outside of the cup but inside they're rotten. Clean inside AND out that they may be clean.

ChildOfChrist
03-20-2007, 08:58 AM
Yes, sympathy is important. I just finished reading the book of Acts today, and I noted that every time Paul visited believers, it said "he encouraged them".
But at the same time, the Body of Christ has made sympathy a very hard thing to have, mostly because we keep on pretending that we're an "invincible" army of perfect people. (if you've never heard the song "Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns, look it up). I'm sure everybody knows exactly what I'm talking about. How fake and shallow the "fellowship" is on Sunday mornings. Everyone pretends that life is great and God is their life yadda yadda yadda. It's been really bothering me lately that we're not living like the church did in Acts. They took each other in when they had no where to live, sold their things to feed each other, etc. They loved each other like brothers and sisters. But we seem to have become addicted to our privacy. The attitude of "it's my business, not yours". And like everyone was talking about further up, we've become so fake that people are leaving the church entirely.
About a month ago my youth group had a very powerful time, when we spent two hours going up and confessing our sins, our struggles, our weaknesses and hurts. We cried with each other, hugged each other, and prayed with peopel we barely knew. It was wonderful. I looked around and knew that this was a picture of how the Church should be. "The right hand cannot hide from the left what it is doing". We're supposed to be a united body, and the Church isn't a whole lot growing because we're not united.

ChildOfChrist
03-20-2007, 09:02 AM
It probably all comes down to the fact that so few are obeying the greatest command of all: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your mind." If we followed this command, and loved God with a love so intense that our love for others "would be like hatred", wouldn't the other things fall into place? (not saying that we wouldn't still have to make an effort).

skynes
03-21-2007, 02:32 AM
If Loving God was all that was necessary Jesus wouldn't have emphasized the need to love others.

DarkestRose
03-21-2007, 06:53 AM
I have been thinking about the quote the band said and I don't think that they meant it to mean that we shouldn't love others. But then I do realize that then their "Jesus only" argument would fall apart because Jesus called us to do certain things like love others, repent, etc. I don't think Jesus was really anti-religion though. I think He depised the way the Pharisees manipulated it to make it harder for others to come to God and I think Jesus hated how they thought they could be pious without loving. But didn't Jesus say something to the effect that we should do what the Pharisees do, just not the way they do it? So the problem isn't religion or morality or church. It is the way we address it.

ChildOfChrist
03-21-2007, 08:44 AM
Oh, I didn't mean that we shouldn't love others. That's the second greatest commandment. But loving God IS the most important thing. My youth leader onced did a lesson on this, and he used a great example. He took a jar, and 3 different containers. One held sand, another held pebbles, and the third one had a big rock. First he put the sand in the jar, then he put the pebbles in. They all fit. But when he tried to put the rock in, it didn't fit. There was no room. So he took it all out and started again, this time putting the big rock in first, then the pebbles, then the sand. It all fit perfectly.
Basically, if loving God is the most important thing in our lives, and we put him first, then everything else will fit WITH effort on our part as well.
And Jesus said somewhere in James I think, that the kind of religion He wanted was taking care of the poor and the widows... or something like that. He doesn't want skin deep religion, He wants His religion. Which, we all know, is based completely on love. Even Paul said that if he had the whole world but didn't love, he was bankrupt.

NightCrawler
03-22-2007, 07:36 AM
OK, so my wife and I went to the MercyMe / Audio A / Aaron Shust concert last weekend when it came through town. Shust was pretty cool, despite his poppy radio presence and Audio A rocked the house down.

But the point of this thread comes from MercyMe. The band's front man, Bart Millard, took some time halfway through their set to preach a bit. While this isn't my favorite thing at a concert, I wasn't especially surprised. Mark Hall did the same thing during the Casting Crowns concert.
Huh, never had that except at Acquire the Fire... but we kinda knowingly pay for their sermons too... >_>

Something Bart said, though, got me all bothered. After standing up there and making fun of church people who don't like electric guitars and drums, he jumped on this bandwagon I've been seeing a lot lately. It's this one:

"Too much church. Too much religion. Not enough Jesus."
How I think it could be restated: "We've lost our focus as Christians."

Now I'm not going to fight that one because it's about as meaningful as saying "There's a great evil in the world." While true, it's not especially insightful or educating. My 4-year-old son can state the obvious too.
Yeah, pretty good assessment.

My problem comes with the statement he spent 10 minutes leading up to:

"The only thing that matters is a personal relationship with Jesus."

At this point, I think he clearly crossed the line into bad theology. So you know where I stand on this line and I have my reasons, but I'd like to hear your opinion and your reasons for it.
I think the only thing that matters is for God to recieve glory and honour. God is glorified in our purity, in having a relationship with us, in His creation, etc. Obviously, the only thing that matters is that whatever we do we glorify God, but a relationship with Christ is nearly a prerequisite. Don'tcha think?

[edit]
As for what is the Most Important -- God is. Not glorifying Him, but rather God Himself.

So to sum up what I said: I disagree with the artist too. God is most important, and all that matters in this world is to recognize this.

Tromos
03-22-2007, 09:09 AM
God is most important, and all that matters in this world is to recognize this.

... and to act accordingly.

kittygirl
03-22-2007, 03:14 PM
Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. To me, that says it all.

alienyouth9292
03-22-2007, 04:18 PM
i think that what mercy me meant was that America has latched on to the theory that going to church, doing good deeeds,ect., will make you a believer. we need to actually have a relationship with Christ and genuinely love him to consider ourselves christians. church is a good way to express our christian beliefs with others, but it is not the way to christ....

DarkestRose
03-22-2007, 04:38 PM
Jesse, I am thinking that it sounds plausible. And I agree that works alone aren't enough to save us. There are going to be many people who tell Jesus what they did and He's going to say He never knew them.

On the flip side, Jesus is going to ask us if we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick and imprisioned. So, while good works don't save us, they do seem to be the fruit of the saved and do seem to be expected.

alienyouth9292
03-22-2007, 06:08 PM
true...

Tromos
03-23-2007, 03:43 AM
i think that what mercy me meant was that America has latched on to the theory that going to church, doing good deeeds,ect., will make you a believer. we need to actually have a relationship with Christ and genuinely love him to consider ourselves christians. church is a good way to express our christian beliefs with others, but it is not the way to christ....

Yeah, I'm pretty sure he meant well enough. But that message (latching onto church instead of Jesus) isn't a new one and I think is starting to do more damage than good.

I guess I feel that he has the responsibility to be careful about what he says to a couple thousand fans who will tend to believe what he says because he's written songs that speak so directly to their hearts.

James says in his 3rd chapter "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." If Bart Millard is going to make extreme statements like that, I think he needs to make sure he's on solid theological ground first.

DarkestRose
03-23-2007, 03:46 AM
How much damage do you think this does do? Because I've heard this idea of more Jesus, less religion/church before. However, it's always seemed so vague and cliché that I haven't found it truly applicable to live out.

Tromos
03-23-2007, 03:51 AM
I think, given enough momentum, it has the potential to do serious damage to the Body of Christ.

Paul didn't travel to convert individuals. He built churches. Communities of faith that sustain each other and guide each other toward acts that are pleasing to God. A message that may be realistically interpreted as a call to abandon your church community could lead to a host of misled people that believe that they can be Christians without living as part of this world.

forceflow17
03-23-2007, 03:54 AM
i used to know some people like that. they didn,t really like going to church, so on some sunday mornings they would just have private family devotions. didn't Jesus tell us never to forsake the assembly of the brethren?

skynes
03-23-2007, 03:55 AM
However, it's always seemed so vague and cliché that I haven't found it truly applicable to live out.

I'd say the vagueness is the problem. Being open to interpretation means anyone can take from it what they want. And as Tromos rightly said the most reasonable conclusion is that Christians do not need churches.

----

Hebrews 10:25 "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. "

DarkestRose
03-23-2007, 03:57 AM
Yeah, I've heard some "I can be Christian on my own" types of Christians. I used to feel that way, but that was more because I felt really left out at my youth group, everyone else was friends with each other and my sister and I felt kinda alone. But I still felt convicted to go for Christian teaching and fellowship, so I usually went. We just didn't like going. Just now, I've been getting into my church a lot more, volunteering, attending a college-age Bible study group, and I've been feeling God calling me to see the importance of the church in my life.

DarkestRose
03-23-2007, 04:01 AM
I'd say the vagueness is the problem. Being open to interpretation means anyone can take from it what they want. And as Tromos rightly said the most reasonable conclusion is that Christians do not need churches.

I can see that. I suppose if I had heard it, I would have felt annoyed that they couldn't get their point across clearly and ignored it since it wasn't an original thought anyway. To be honest, I don't know if I would get the idea that Christians don't need church. I believe someone else could though.

skynes
03-23-2007, 04:03 AM
I believe someone else could though.

Those Christians that don't make reading the Word of God a priority for example? (Obviously not all of them. But how can you find the Biblical validity of a statement if you don't go and look it up!)

forceflow17
03-23-2007, 04:07 AM
i definately need to work on my reading. alot of times i will here someone say something that isn't in line with the bible, and can probably parafrase what it says, but not be able to give the concrete reference as skynes has seen and given me twice now.

DarkestRose
03-23-2007, 04:07 AM
Well, one of the first sermons at church that I remember was about the need of the being part of the church. So the idea stuck with me. But just on my own I had the idea that it was hard to be kept accountable in keeping in the Word, praying, focusing on God, if there weren't other Christians to support you. So even though I wasn't in the Word very often when I was younger, I still had an idea.

I agree that it is much easier to see the importance of the church once you're in the Word. Especially from the Book of Acts, I've found lots of verses about Christians needing to assemble together, focus on each other's needs, etc.

DarkestRose
03-23-2007, 04:09 AM
i definately need to work on my reading. alot of times i will here someone say something that isn't in line with the bible, and can probably parafrase what it says, but not be able to give the concrete reference as skynes has seen and given me twice now.

When I can't think of an exact verse location, I usually look it up on an online Bible like www.bible.com and can search the keyword. I also copy and paste from there to avoid making typos. You might try that. The main part would be reading Scripture so that you know when a verse it helpful.

skynes
03-23-2007, 04:21 AM
I use http://bible.crosswalk.com/ (http://bible.crosswalk.com/) but same idea.

i definately need to work on my reading. alot of times i will here someone say something that isn't in line with the bible, and can probably parafrase what it says, but not be able to give the concrete reference as skynes has seen and given me twice now.

If I'm speaking face to face, I'll give a general paraphrase, but since I'm sitting here at my PC connected to the net, it only takes me a few minutes to find the exact verse I'm looking for. It's only a little extra effort, so why not do it?

I stick to NKJV trans cause I know its style and wording of things, so I can search it up easier. (Also I get confused when I mix translations I start saying one then finish with the other... Better to stick with one Translation for me.)

forceflow17
03-23-2007, 04:39 AM
part of my problem in finding stuff is using various translations. my bible is niv, but i also use nasb a lot, so it makes word searches hard. i do my word searches on the program PC Study Bible vers. 4, it's usually pretty helpful.
Guess the ultimate solution is more scripture memorization