The three days of living dangerously…

(the following is presented with tongue greatly in cheek)

These are dangerous men.
Ajith Fernando is a dangerous man. Anyone who will stand before you with the Word of God open, keep his finger in the text and faithfully expound that Word is dangerous. Anyone who will stand there and tell you to “rejoice in suffering”, to be “sorrowful, yet rejoicing”, to “count it all joy when you meet trials fo various kinds” is dangerous. If some one came up to me and told me, from the Scriptures, that church growth, as it is described so clearly in the book of Acts, came about as the result of suffering and persecution, I’d look upon them as a dangerous man. And then, to have the courage to tell me, as a pastor, how I must die in order to care like Christ… well, that’s dangerous stuff.

Michael Campbell is a dangerous man. Avoid him if you want a comfortable life, free from trials and hardships. Stay away from him if you long for quiet nights in your family room in front of the TV. Because if you don’t avoid him, you’ll strat getting wild notions of becoming black when with blacks and becoming hispanic when with hispanics and becoming asian when with asians. You get crazy ideas like becoming weak when with the weak. All for the sake of winning some to Christ. How dangerous an idea is that? I mean really, who ever wanted to become weak. That’s just silly. Everyone knows if you’re an American, that you’re strong and rich and powerful and self-sufficient and don’t need anybody. Becoming like these kind of people just flies in the face of all the wonderful advice we get from people like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels and C. Peter Wagner and other well-educated experts on how to grow a church. You’re supposed to find all these people around you who are just like you and invite them to your church. You’re supposed to make your church just like them so they’ll like it and be happy there and bring their friends who look just like them. Come on, be real. You can’t grow a church by being multi-ethnic. Whoever heard of such nonsense. Besides, the blessings of the gospel (1 Cor. 9.23) are being healthy, wealthy, and prosperous aren’t they? Suffering, hardship, loss of prestige, churches of less than 1,000, or 500 or 100 can’t be biblical ideas, can they? This Michael Campbell is a dangerous man.

David Sitton… well he’s not just dnagerous: he’s a fool. Anyone who would buy a one-way ticket to Papua New Guinea to do missionary work without any training is just flat out dangerous and foolish. You’re to have years of training, cultural indoctrination, language development. You need to have the proper theological development before you go to these ignorant people groups. That way, they’ll really appreciate your efforts to come all the way over to their land for three weeks during a summer trip in order to help them build a hut or a driveway. This is what shows Christ to the world, is it not? Sitton’s ideas, though, well, as I’ve been saying: they’re just crazy. Walking into a village, without knowing the language, sitting around a fire and listening, picking up words and then sharing the Gospel with those words can’t possibly work. And about this buying one way tickets; who ever heard of that. Okay, so he mentioned the Fijian missionaries who went to New Guinea with coffins they had built for themselves, knowing that in all likelihood they would never return, which, while being true is still crazy, foolish and dangerous. And as for standing before a cannibalistic tribe of people who are calling up spirits and demons from the spirit world to help them, confronting and rebuking them in the name of Jesus Christ; there’s only one word for that – dangerous. I need to talk to those who sponsored this conference because it was a dangerous thing for them to invite this man to speak. He actually had the audacity to challenge the nearly 1,400 pastors there to considering laying down their life for the cause of taking the Gospel to people in this world who have never actually heard the Gospel. He and his supporters have been praying since last August for this conference, that God would raise up a tithe of the attenders (let’s see, math is not my strong suit, but I think that comes out to around 140) to lay down their cushy, comfortable pastorates and go to New Guinea or Mexico. That’s silly. That’s crazy. He’s a dangerous man. You’d better avoid him.

And nobody needs to tell me that John Piper’s dangerous. Any man who will, for years, tell you that if you desire to live a godly life that you’d better be prepared to suffer for it is dangerous. Any one who will tell you stories about great saints from history that God has raised up only to see them get killed because they wanted to translate the Bible is dangerous in my book. William Tyndale must have been some wild-eyed fanatic. He could have lived out his days in ease and comfort, reading his Greek NT and his Hebrew OT and just telling people what it said instead of being forced to leave his home and native soil for the last 12 years of his life. There was simply no need for him to travel all over Europe, fleeing those who would arrest him because he wanted some poor ploughboy to have an English Bible. You can travel Europe without all that stress. Besides, it’s really not worth it to come to the realization from reading that Heberw & Greek Bible that we are made just and right in God’s eyes by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone. That doctrinal stuff just divides; Christ unites! Words. It seems it’s all about words. That’s old fashioned stuff and this next generation emerging around us is so visual. We ought to be laying down our lives for videos and movies and video games about God and about loving one another and having good conversations over Starbucks and Samuel Adams. ‘Cause if you start clinging to doctrinal ideas like they actually mean something, you’re gonna live on the dangerous side of life. People will mock you. They’ll oppose you. They’ll call you narrow and exclusionary. And they’ll point out men like William Tyndale (who I’m sure they will know had something to do with Tyndale publishing house, like maybe the former CEO or something like that) who was just foolish for clinging to ideas like that. He could have lived a long life and pastored his church so much longer and had a purpose-driven ministry fulfilling his five main purposes in life without all that secrecy and suffering and hardship. And growing a successful church won’t cost you your life! It might cost you 40 days out of your year, but it couldn’t possibly cost you your life.
So let’s avoid these dangerous men. You start hanging around them and your life will be changed and never be the same. You’ll get the same notions in your mind and heart that God is calling you to actually suffer for His sake and the sake of His gospel and the sake of His church. You’ll get strange thoughts running through your head at night like, “Lord, are you possibly thinking that I should leave 20 years of ministry as a pastor just to consider going to some hot, humid, backwater country like New Guinea; to travel by foot for miles and miles to search out a group of people that there are only rumors of actually existing, who have never heard of God or Christ or salvation by grace alone; Lord, are you really making me think that? And while I’m at it, if you’re not calling me to that, then I know you can’t be calling me to consider how the church I pastor can start reaching out to people who are different than us, like Somalians or Hispanics or Bosnians, even though they live all around the area closest to our church. Good, I was hoping not. Now I can get back to sleep. Don’t let me have any more of those dangerous dreams like that.”
So, stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay warm.

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4 Responses

  1. I thought someone had turned the room temperature down on me, cause I was getting the shivers…

    But then I remembered the white smile of Pastor O’Steen and the assuring message that Christians are not called to suffer. How comforting. How biblical?

  2. great post and nice comment on ENo

  3. I pray someday someone would consider me dangerous in thse ways.

  4. I’m with you Marc!

    I’m so tired of the sugar-coated gospel of today. Come to God, He will bring you joy, peace, well-being, health, money etc… Oh wait, that should be god, not God, because that is someones invented pagan god.

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