About Brian Frick

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06/02/2011

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Brian, the whole point of the Jesus forming the community of disciples was not to set up an Ur-Peace Corps, or to try to turn them into inveterate do-gooders. The reason? Those behaviors exhaust themselves, usually very quickly, because there is only so much outflow of concern most people can handle before they turn away, exhausted, discouraged or disgusted, and move on to other things.

Our task in the church is to be led by the Spirit in leading people to Christ, and to set the conditions that encourage them to be become, be and make disciples. We Presbyterians are among the worst at lifting up the parts of the process of disciple-making that we find most agreeable, and making them into ends, rather than means. Even worse, we often skip completely the complex of disciplines, behaviors and attitudes that constitute discipleship, and simply encourage people to do good things for their own sake, with a thin veneer of spirituality laid over them.

Our people don't know the Scriptures, have little idea of how to pray, have little knowledge of doctrine, apologetics, spiritual disciplines or what makes for a full and balanced Christian life, and it is getting worse every day. We do all manner of things "in the name of Jesus", without any real knowledge of what Jesus asks of us, except in the narrow areas of interest that our various offices and programs promote.

Kenda Creasy Dean nails it when she says that a national study of church youth confirms that the mainline churches suffer, uniformly, not from lack of peace-making programs, or public policy advocacy education, but from a christianity so attenuated by the culture and the "lifestyle" choices of its adherents, that it has become no better than a functional deism, basically directed toward therapeutic ends. The more we assume that people know what discipleship is, and what the Scriptures say, and give stress the outcomes of discipleship rather than its origins, we will simply continue to manufacture more deists for the culture to capture.

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