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The Great Scandal of Christendom Today – Nominal Christianity

John R.W. Stott was an absolute Christian rock-star. I love how he captured what he calls the “great scandal of Christendom today” caused by us humans not pausing to reflect on the cost of following Christ. May we all pause and have our relationship with Jesus be more than skin deep. He wrote the following in his classic Basic Christianity.

“Jesus never concealed the fact that his religion included a demand as well as an offer. Indeed, the demand was as total as the offer was free. If he offered men his salvation, he also demanded their submission. He gave no encouragement whatever to thoughtless applicants for discipleship. He brought no pressure to bear on any inquirer. He sent irresponsible enthusiasts away empty. Luke tells of three men who either volunteered, or were invited, to follow Jesus; but no one passed the Lord’s test. The rich young ruler, too, moral, earnest and attractive, who wanted eternal life on his own terms, went away sorrowful, with his riches intact but with neither life nor Christ as his possession…The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half built towers—the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called “nominal Christianity.” In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism…The message of Jesus was very different. He never lowered his standards or modified his conditions to make his call more readily acceptable. He asked his first disciples, and he has asked every disciple since, to give him their thoughtful and total commitment. Nothing less than this will do”


Mother Goose Rhymes Teach Humility

I have been reading Joe Stowell’s book Redefining Leadership and was struck by the interpretation he made regarding the well known Mother Goose nursery rhyme, Little Jack Honer.  It has leadership implications along with our need to be humble. May I not be like Jack Horner.


Little Jack Horner
sat in a corner
eating a Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb
and pulled out a plum
and said, “What a good boy am I!”

“So what is Jack doing sitting in the corner? The corner is usually reserved for boys who have not been good. On top of that, he is sitting in the corner with an entire pie on his lap. I have never known a mother to give her son a whole pie! Could it be that Jack has stolen the pie from the kitchen? And what, may I ask, is Jack doing with his fingers in the food? If you really think about the rhyme, Jack isn’t a good boy at all. But he doesn’t see himself that way. He thinks he is a good boy. Worse yet, he takes the credit for the plums. Most likely, it was his mother who went out to pick the plums, washed and sliced them, and put them in the pie.
Sometimes I wonder if this is how God sees us when we celebrate ourselves and fail to give him the glory that is due to his name. Every day, you and I live, eat, breathe, and work because of and by means of the grace of God in Jesus. Everything we have is a gift we don’t deserve — yet like Jack, we take credit for it all, thinking our goodness has earned it, thinking that we deserve it.”