Guest Commentary on:
OPEN LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
In response to the Open Letter to the Christian Community, I do not have definitive answers to the question of why we do not witness greater works by the followers of Christ when He Himself promised that it would happen. Some Christians of the "fundamental" persuasion explain that the working of miracles was given only for the apostolic times, not for now. I personally believe that Jesus meant these works would continue without time limits.
The Open Letter pointed out that our churches should be powerhouses with incredible events occurring. Yet, that isn't the case for the most part. Christian writer Stanley Jones may offer some ideas as to why, based on our inner conflicts.
1. We do our religious acts with divided and opposed motives: We give to God but we also want "to be seen of men." (Matthew 6:1-4.)
2. We pray in opposed directions: To be heard by God and to be overheard by people. (Mt. 6:5-15.)
3. We fast with opposed purposes: To present ourselves to God and yet having the hope that people will give us respect or honor for being self-denying and "spiritual". (Mt. 6:16-18.)
4. We labor to store treasure in two opposing directions: worldly and heavenly. (Mt. 6:19-21.)
5. We try to balance split loyalties: Attempting to serve God and mammon (the world), simultaneously. (Mt. 6:24.)
6. Even our critique of one another is unbalanced: We take it easy on ourselves with rationalizations but lay it on heavy on our brothers and sisters.
7. Even preaching can have two faces: Being bold in being the "voice of God" but also secretly hoping for and feeling good about the compliments of people.
Eucken insightfully observes that the greatest danger to spirituality is that the carnal self, which is to be crucified with the Christ through repentance and renunciation, only comes back in the disguise of religion: It is still performing the new forms in the service of its old self.
All of this amounts to putting on a good performance. Chances are that's part of the answer to the question of why we can't "do greater works than He."
John Hilkevich, Sr.
Weekly Reflections © November, 1998
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