Here we stand, 500 years since Martin Luther's prophetic voice shook the Church and what have we learnt?
Senior Pastors have Personal Assistants and the ministry of preaching has become an idol. We even have people clambering over themselves to be so esteemed as to hold the office of Preacher!
The call to sacrifice has become an inconsistent string of reluctant tithes, and love for the poor has become the office of an organisation we might donate toâif we are feeling generous.
Are you not starving during the week?
Martin Luther saw the damage caused by a people who were not swimming in the richness of the scriptures. The people of his time couldn't read Latin, and so were blind to the heresies being practiced and preached by the Church Papacy. The evil one knows how to rob the Church of her God-given authority and power: starve her.
Today the Bible is in our common language, but in our laziness we have idolised the Preacher so we can only sacrifice enough time to be spoon-fed once a week.
Where are the Jacobs who wrestle with God? Where are the people who wrestle with the scriptures that they might hear His voice rather than turn to scholars past and Preachers present?
I long for our lukewarm blood to once again burn with passion. Never was there a man alive who swam freely in the deepest waters of the Word of God, who drank feverishly of the presence of God, and did not return from the high place without the contagious fire seen in the hearts of prophets and saints past.
These men and women deeply understood their standing before God, and gave their lives into the humble and thankless service of God and others in response. They sat with the homeless, not as representatives of humanitarian organisations, but as ambassadors of Christ! They sat with prostitutes; they sat with homosexuals, and did so without an agenda other than to pour out love!
The ordained are servants of the detestable
They did not spend all of their time having their deedless faith coddled by the passionless. No, they copped slander from the masses so they might spur some on to a legitimate experience of God!
Their example confronts us with the truth of our Godâa God who is concerned for the case of the orphan, the foreigner, the poor, the whore, the faggot, the child abuser, the filthy bane of the world's existenceâand challenge us to be true servants!
How can we call the protestant reformation a success? We don't sell indulgences anymore, so what? (Indulgences were certificates given for a price granting people less time in purgatory, where they would supposedly pay for their unconfessed sins).
No, instead we presume to award ordinations and doctorates to the esteemed leaders of the Church, forgetting that we are all ordained! We are all 'a chosen people, a royal priesthood' (1 Peter, chapter 2, verse 9).
God is not interested in favouritism! He does not only ask the ordained minister to search the scriptures and feed the sheep, He asks you! He does not only ask the Personal Assistant to serve, He asks you to serve the Personal Assistant!
God compels every believer to celebrate together before spilling out into the world, carrying the fire of the saints and igniting the world in flames of glory for Christ! Christianity is not a one-day-a-week affair.
Will you be found where Christ would be?
Allow me to challenge you on this point: are you ready to wash the feet of the homeless, or are you too busy saving for a Hawaiian getaway? Are you taking in the gay teenager who has been ostracised by his family, or are you too busy deciding how to prevent him from marrying?
All of these things ought to be a product of love. They ought to be the fruit of your passion and your faith. Those who truly seek God cannot help but find themselves in the dark and arid places.
If you are not with the poor you are not a worshipping soul. If you are not with needy you are not a worshipping soul. If you are not building up the next generation of believers you are not a worshipping soul. If you are not sitting with people in their grief without trying to fix it and dissipate discomfort you are not a worshipping soul!
To those of you who might dare to come to terms with the reality of your evaporating faith, and grieve the state of your comfortable hearts I give this charge: that you might know God's love so totally, His holiness so rightly, and His truth so sharply that you become undone.
Become undone so you might become meek, poor in spirit, and ravenously hungry for righteousness. Then you will see His kingdom. A kingdom filled with the most unlikely people. Not the self-professed holy men of ages past, but of tortured saints and reformed sinners. It is with the least of these that His presence and heart is found.
I challenge you from Jeremiah, chapter 30, verse 21:
'...for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?'
Benjamin James is 24 years old and madly in love with Jesus! He is a Youth Worker and also currently studying a Bachelor of Christian Studies at Melbourne School of Theology. He is passionate and opinionated and will take every opportunity to see positive change in the world.
Benjamin James' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/benjamin-james.html