How balanced has the Church been?
Is there such a thing as Church unplugged?
And what are the danger signs? They have to be in our actions. If, in our desire for acceptance and relevance, we show no distinction in our actions from those who surround us, then are we really following Jesus’ command here?
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Are we allowing the light that shines in our heart to break out and be visible … through our deeds? And, talking about Jesus …
Yes, I’ve finally got there – the Jesus mindset!
Jesus had a certain way of thinking and it makes perfect sense that we should want to know about this and, if possible, to emulate it. This may not be as impossible as it seems if we accept that Jesus was (and still is, of course) a Jew and that he lived at a certain point in history and shared a way of thinking with most of his contemporaries and those who came before him and who inhabited the pages of the Old Testament.
His way of thinking I have called the Jesus mindset but, in reality, it can also be called the Hebraic mindset and even – believe it or not – the Biblical mindset. Of course every Christian believes they have a Biblical mindset, so it is certainly contentious of me to insist that, what I am describing here is the Biblical mindset. Yet I’m not allowing that to stop me, because of the following statement:
Since the 2nd Century, the insinuation of Greek thinking into the Church has been so effective that Christians today, in common with everyone else in Western society, have inherited a Greek mindset that has mostly replaced the Biblical mindset of Jesus, his apostles and the prophets and teachers who inhabit the pages of the Old and the New Testament.
This Greek mindset has, as I mentioned earlier, put man at the centre of our lives rather than God and has given priority to the Greek analytic nature over the faith-driven Hebraic, Biblical nature. To further illustrate the difference we can say the following: the Greek mind says that the things of God must be deduced from our logical minds; the Hebraic mind says that the things of God can only be understood by faith and revelation. Also, the Greek mind says that we should strive for knowledge about God; the Hebraic mind says that we should know God.
The Bible is not a book to analyse and argue over; it is the living word of God that we should believe as a consequence of our faith in God and, very importantly, should inform our actions. The Hebraic mindset is all about doing stuff, the Greek way is to constantly think, re-think, analyse and argue, but rarely to allow our thoughts to flow into our deeds.
We must show the World through our actions inspired by the good wisdom that God freely gives us through faith in Him, that there really is something different about us.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)
Let’s start today to purge ourselves of the darkness that has entered our thinking from the Greek world. Easier said than done, of course, but that is why I have written the book To Life! to help you get started in understanding the Jesus mindset.
Returning to the incident at the head of this chapter in the TV debate, where the Anglican publicly stated that he felt closer to the atheist scientist than to the Christian brother with whom he differed, doctrinally. We should now see this as an example of our inherited Greek mindset, with its emphasis on analysing and thinking, of doctrine over practice. But we can personalise this and ask ourselves if, in our disagreements over doctrine with other Christians, we are more interested in proving our point, or remaining in fellowship? Greek thinking is focussed on being right, Hebraic thinking concentrates on being in right relationships. This is a sadly neglected truth.
We are reminded of Jesus’ proclamation on how Christians should demonstrate a good witness to the World around them.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)
This is surely the heart of the Jesus mindset. It’s serious stuff. It’s time to take our faith seriously.
Now, as you work your way through the twenty chapters of this book, let’s approach each scenario as if a 1st Century Christian was looking through your eyes and processing the 21st Century data-stream using the mindset that he would have shared with Jesus and his Jewish contemporaries.
It’s the Jesus Mindset. It could also be called Jesus, unplugged or Christianity zero. We are talking about our precious faith, as originally received, before the World infiltrated through the traditions of man and Greek thinking.
It’s time to reclaim …
For the previous article in this series, click here.
For the next article in this series, click here.
To find out what is my favourite book of the Bible, click here.
You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.