Immature Christianity

I am listening to a podcast series currently that interviews a pastor I’ve admired for many decades. It is a master class on ministry, leadership, and spirituality. A recent episode talked about his love for learning. He cultivates his spiritual learning and spoke frankly of a time when he was 45 years old and had this sense of being able to “coast” the rest of his time in ministry. It was an actual urge he felt inside.

He decided to pray against that urge. He couldn’t slow up in ministry. He had no desire to simply know what he knew of Christ and let that guide him the rest of the way. Deep in his heart was a hunger to keep learning, keep growing, and keeping living until he died.

Too many people in Western Christianity have long given up living in Christ and they have years before they die. Somewhere along the line they’ve mailed it in.

The overwhelming emphasis in Hebrews as I walk through it this time is this: “You’re slipping. You’re lazy. You’ve given up. You’re on MILK when you should be on MEAT.”

We need Hebrews in our lives today. Fresh. Western Christianity has been lazy and it’s embarrassing.

N.T. Wright comments on Hebrews 5:11-14 saying this:

So why is it, in the twenty-first century as in the first, that so many Christians are not only eager to stay with a diet of milk, but actually get cross at the suggestion that they should be eating something more substantial? This is a question that has puzzled and bothered me for years. In my own country I meet a settled prejudice, even among people who are highly intelligent in other areas, who work in demanding professions, who read serious newspapers and magazines and who would be ashamed not to know what was going on in the world, against making any effort at all to learn what the Christian faith is about. As a result we find, both inside the churches and outside, an extraordinary ignorance of who Jesus really was, what Christians have believed and should believe about God and the world, how the entire Christian story makes sense, what the Bible contains, and, not least, how individual Christians fit in, and how their lives and their thoughts should be transformed by the power of the gospel. There are many places in the world where there is a great hunger to know all these things, and an eagerness to grasp and take in as much teaching as one can. Some Christians are indeed eager and ready for solid food. But I deeply regret that, in many churches in Western Europe at least, it seems that the most people can be persuaded to take on board is another small helping of warm milk.

 Wright, T. (2004). Hebrews for Everyone (p. 52). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

We have an extraordinary Savior… and we are extraordinarily not interested in him!

I look back on decades of Bible study, the notebooks I’ve piled up, the notes I’ve made in the margins of Bibles and notes I’ve made on digital platforms, and I can see things I’ve written and how I’ve thought… and how some of it has changed. Some of it has deepened.

The lack of desire for learning, or to be challenged in our learning, amazes me. There are depths of Christ I have yet to plunge and learning of him is the single most exciting thing in my life almost every day.

May I never stop yearning to keep on learning!

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