"All I need is you, all I need is you Lord". This was a favourite worship song of mine a few years ago, because of the powerful message of total trust, exclusivity, surrender and deep seated love I felt it communicated to the Lord. Shockingly, the worship leader who wrote this song, Marty Sampson, recently recanted his faith, citing what may be described as inclusivity issues, surrender issues and a deep seated distrust of God.
This follows another tragic revelation of the falling away of pastor and husband, Joshua Harris, who wrote a game changing book which stirred a generation to sexual purity, “I kissed dating goodbye”. Sadly, he has now kissed Jesus goodbye too. In the same breath, he apologized for opposing same sex marriage and not affirming LGBT people in the church.
For those looking frantically for the implosion of Christianity - relax. The Kingdom of God and the glory of His Great Name are unscathed by men, and stand eternally strong and impenetrable. There is no need for anxious alarm or a fear filled frenzy, especially in light of biblical truth that in the last days, sadly, many will fall away.
What we witnessed with these prominent believers, is nothing compared to what is coming. Interestingly, taking the step to officially turn their backs on Christ may be the most important step in them finding the Saviour again; as compared to spending years faking it, like many in the church are doing now. Not believing the Bible but leading Bible study, not holding to biblical truth but holding to religious jargon, loving the emotional release that occurs in worship, and the beauty of the music but not actually loving the One the music is for. Sad.
This moment calls for an urgent pause to really examine ourselves. From where I stand, these two former Christian leaders only represent sign posts on the road of a superficial, dry, and spiritually sick version of Western Christianity. We are guilty, and in need of repentance. Our model of the Christian life has left us all the while jumping around happily in a shallow puddle of God, and never actually diving into the ocean that He is.
While Jesus calls to us passionately, to return a passionate cry of love to Him, we muster up just enough strength to say “hello” and feel satisfied for a whole week! Deep calls to deep, but our only response is casual, shallow and curt.
No wonder we are left with dry and thirsty souls that grow weary and ill; spiritually immunocompromised. And we fall to the simplest false arguments that could be answered by a Ravi Zacharias YouTube video or some other biblical scholar; but that’s just a symptom of the real urgent issue. It’s high time we examine ourselves to ensure we are really in the faith and in the love.
It’s a love thing
Now I confess to not knowing anything much about these two gentlemen, but at the base of all this is an issue of love. It always is. Every day we face the question of – “Who/What do you love more?”
The most basic call upon the believer is that we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow hard after Jesus. Even going against our culture, out of love for Him. In green pastures and in the valley of the shadow of death, we cling to the Good Shepherd. He is our ultimate treasure.
Many of our brothers and sisters in the East understand this, because the decision to choose Jesus in this moment could mean being killed for Him in the next! They choose to love the Lord more than their own lives. By contrast, the weak willed selection of Jesus in the West seems to be so easily rivalled by money, fame and the opinions of men. We no longer call on men to forsake the world for the sake of Christ, so Jesus becomes an add-on. And when He doesn’t fit in with the culture of evil and calls us to repent, we discard Him without a care like a partner dumped after a bunch of bad dates.
Concurrently, more believers face physical violence and death for the name of Jesus Christ globally than in any other time in history. What a paradox of fervour! Western believers need to hear Jesus loud and clear. In Luke chapter 14, verse 33, He says “Those of you who do not give up everything you have, cannot be my disciples”.
Paul exemplified this in Philippians chapter 3. He listed all his jaw dropping accomplishments, then emphatically stated they were like faecal matter compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ, for whose sake He has lost all things! This type of total surrender is characteristic of the Christian life.
Theological profundity without love means nothing. Angelic tongues and sacrificial service without love mean nothing. God desires deep seated, passionate and intimate relationships with us that woo our hearts and drive us to pursue Him! That kind of relationship is what will fuel the flame of service that blazes for decades without burning out and certainly without using our fleeting strength and intelligence to throw shade at the Omniscient God.
Rethinking Christian leadership
Sometimes the church is so excited about the success of young believers that they get thrust into leadership roles prematurely. They may have great gifting but little grounding, great struggles but little support, great intentions but little intimacy with the Lord. In a world with a roaring lion seeking how to devour the most people - the quickest, talented, shallow leaders with no accountability are easy targets.
If the foundation upon which we build our lives and our ministries isn’t love for the Lord, we are all in great danger! And many of us are, unless, in love for the Lord, we kiss ourselves goodbye.
Dr. Daniel Thomas is a medical doctor and Christian Advocate who loves the Lord deeply. He currently leads a youth organization called the Love March Movement which is committed to empowering the youth to fight for sexual purity and the family based in Jamaica.
Dr. Daniel Thomas is a medical doctor and Christian Advocate who loves the Lord deeply. He currently leads a youth organization called the Love March Movement which is committed to empowering the youth to fight for sexual purity and the family in Jamaica.