False maturity and its impact on the Christian church

I had a revelation the other day about the state of the Christian church. This revelation came while talking with a friend of mine who told me a story about a family member who recently “felt called” to go be a missionary (as if that werent possible where they were at). They lamented that their family member’s reasoning and plan was deeply flawed and largely based on emotion and not good solid reasoning and planning. He was thankful that their apparent call from God had been thwarted, however it was evident that he victory had taken a toll.

Now this friend came from a missionary family who have traversed the globe doing the work of evangelists. A more spiritually minded family would be hard to find to say the least.

My revelation is this.

Growing up we had looked to my friend’s family member as the prime example of what it meant to live a spirit-filled life. Thinking about it now its apparent that our measure of spiritual maturity centered on raw mysticism and behavior modification. Not, as the Bible indicates, a definitive growth in both behavior (orthopraxis) as well as wisdom and understanding (orthodoxy).

I believe that foundation has led my friend, who is very logically minded, to struggle with what it means to be a Christian. It not only places roadblocks in his walk of faith. But it exalts what amounts to spiritual infancy.

The sad part is that growing up we looked to my friend’s family member as a warrior. Because we thought they were mature (based on our flawed understanding of maturity) we thought they were also capable contenders for the faith (Jude 4).

It is now apparent, however, that what we did (and were allowed to do by our “elders” at he time) was put a sword in the hands of the most ridiculous and infantile among us and provoke the darkness with theirs and our own ignorance.

When my children get old enough to wrestle with these faith issues, one mistake I hope to avoid is providing them with both a false view of maturity and, from that, false heroes to look up to.

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One response to “False maturity and its impact on the Christian church

  1. I grew up the same way. In the area I live in, the most popular Christianity is of the charismatic/Word of Faith/Pentecostal flavors; so a person's "spiritual" level is based on: one's praise during song service (jumping, weeping, etc.), evidence of tongues/gifts, and experiential "God things." Gee, I thought spiritual growth was measured by bearing of spiritual fruit, i.e., God changing your character through mediation on scripture (studying the Bible) and prayer. Yeah, so I grew up in the pentecostal/charismatic environment and the only thing that done for me was push me away from Christianity and into agnosticism. I could see God creating the universe, but I didn't think it really mattered or that we could know for sure. In college, a friend told me about Walter Martin. I bought Martin's book the Kingdom of the Cults and that book taught me Christian doctrine which is something I had never read before or even really heard about. So, after reading that book, I realized that Christianity also involves the mind. I'm so thankful for my friend pointing me to Walter Martin.

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