Stolen Goods

(Bedford County (Pa.) District Attorney's Office)

Ill-gotten treasures are of no value,
but righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 10:2, NIV

How about we go from Church unity to a potentially controversial topic?! Okay!

Stealing things can be fun. I do not deny that. The rush of exhilaration and the excitement of getting something you may or may not want.

Of course, there is usually the issue of not being able to use stolen money since it could be traced. There is the issue of not being able to drive a stolen car around since it would take too much extra work to make sure the VIN could not be traced … let alone if you get caught with a car that is not yours. There is the issue of serial numbers or storage or fingerprints not properly wiped or a myriad of other things that can make having the stolen property so … inconvenient.

It is the same with faith.

You cannot skate into salvation on your parents’ or friends’ or spouse’s faith. You cannot skate into salvation by simply going to church or doing good deeds.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29) It can be argued that this can mean not only physically leaving things and family and friends but growing up. It can mean “I have left behind letting others tell me how to believe and have made my faith my own!”

Jesus did say (to a specific woman, in context, but I assure you that it is applicable) “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

It is the same with churches.

What is the number factor of church-growth in the United States today? Church migrants, those who leave one church for another.

I am not saying that all churches steal people from other churches. Obviously, some churches die out. I am not saying all those who get most if not all of their new congregants from other churches are doing it on purpose. However, there are some who are only playing the numbers game. These churches tend to not care too much about growing new believers. Quite honestly, the biggest reason there are so many disputes today about and between different churches over theology, philosophy, and practices is because as a whole we have neglected raising new believers in understanding. We have been happy to get converts and baptisms to say “See! We have this many new people/converts this year!”

Way to spread plenty of seed on rocky soil. Go us. We are robbing God and people by not providing fertile ground or cultivating and watering after seeding.

In effect, we are working with stolen goods.

Fortunately, I am beginning to see people begin to wake up to this problem.

Fortunately, possession still tends to be nine-tenths of the law with God. He knows who belong to Him. He has the power to redeem whatever and whomever He wishes.

How about we not stand in His way? Instead, how about we move with Him?

What say you? How are we faring as the Church? Do you see people getting it right?

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “we have neglected raising new believers in understanding. We have been happy to get converts and baptisms to say “See! We have this many new people/converts this year!”

    There seems to a renewed vigor amongst believers when it comes to addressing the importance of discipleship. Now I’m not sure if the church has gotten that memo yet, but I’m praying earnestly for that great-awakening! I have mention on several other blogs, and perhaps even this one, that I think the church’s downfall is/was that they started treating parishioners like business clients. From there the church got into the entertainment business- because you have to make your clients happy. Trying to entertain instead of disciple creates a whole new breed of Christian that is addicted to mere emotional aspects of Christianity. This type of Christian is basically useless and cannot function effectively in this world.

    You cannot skate into salvation on your parents’ or friends’ or spouse’s faith. You cannot skate into salvation by simply going to church or doing good deeds.

    Very good point here too! You have to accept Jesus Christ, and grow up in the Christian faith on your own- regardless of how tall your father is, or how much he has done! If we could “steal” our way into salvation and into heaven, some people far more wily than you or I would have figured it out and wrote a book about it:->

    Great post Daniel!

    • I have been praying for years for the Church to wake up to the need for discipleship. It took me a few years, but a few years ago I decided (was convicted!) to “be the change you want to see in the world”, as the saying goes, and set the example. I have gotten more and more into teaching and discipling/mentoring. This not only helps raise awareness for personal accountability and need of Christ but also the need to learn and share the life in Christ.

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