Causes and Movements in the Church

7:57 AM Good morning, thoughtful bloggers!

This Wednesday in our New Testament class we’ll be discussing my book Christian Archy, whose premise is simply that all of our proud substitutions for Christianity are but false Christianities. Whenever we put our petty gods above Christ, we reject Christ’s archy (rule). These include all of our “good” archys that rely on our own moral competence to “fix” our problems or “advance” the kingdom of God. Any Christian movement or ideology that takes the place of the cross has absolutely no biblical or theological foundation for its existence.

This is one reason I am reticent to identify myself with the “homeschool” movement or the “agrarian” movement or the “church growth” movement or other similar movements. Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated a beautiful spiritual truth when he wrote, “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” Many modern evangelical “causes” or “movements” are, frankly, in love with their causes and movements. We are tempted to enshrine our programs in golden calves and “Christian” bureaucracies. Indeed, once you start a 501(c)3 you feel obligated to do all you can to perpetuate your organization. You fight for the limited resources that are out there while forgetting that God is bigger than our petty organizations. Bonhoeffer was right. When we love our “dream” or “vision” more than the reality, we end up destroying both.

I want to make a modest suggestion: Our goal should not be to establish our majestic mega-church models but to embrace a “movement-less” kingdom that grows by simply caring for those around us sacrificially. I take great courage from the fact that I meet students who are beginning to study the earliest believers in the book of Acts, people whom Paul could describe as “the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world” (1 Cor. 4:13). In my opinion, we need more little people in our churches today, people who are taking steps to grow a more humble kingdom. The Jesus Revolution is a celebration of Christ’s archy. It stands in awe of no man’s “system” or “movement” or “program.” We are nothing but a ragtag bunch of Jesus-followers who are quite content to be ragtags. Or at least we ought to be!

Your fellow nobody,


(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, Why Four Gospels?, and Will You Join the Cause of Global Missions?)