Phillip Cary “Why You Don’t Have to Keep Getting Transformed All the Time”

“In consumerist spirituality, the new stuff on offer is mostly new experiences, ‘transformative‘ experiences that you’re supposed to get if you don’t want to miss out on something special in your spiritual life…  Which means… that if you’ve never had the experience they’re selling, they’ll do their best to make you wonder what’s wrong with you…  You’ll be told that without you’re just an ordinary, plain Christian, lacking the extraordinary power and blessing that God wants you to have in your life… Whereas what we have, if we are nothing but ordinary Christians, is greater than all the experiences in the world.  We have Christ himself… Everything else is inessential.” Continue reading

The Preacher’s Job

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“The preacher’s job is not making Christ relevant to us but helping us to see his beauty–so that we may know what is glorious, wonderful, and joyous about our Beloved”

“The kind of sermon that gives us real help living the Christian life is not about us but about Christ.  It does not tell us what to do, but what Christ does.  It tells the story of who he is and what he has done for us and our salvation: he is the eternal Son of God who came down from heaven, the baby born of the virgin Mary, the rabbi from Galilee who taught in parables and went to Jerusalem where he died on the cross under Pontius Pilate, then rose from the dead on the third day and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, where he now intercedes for us and pours out his Spirit upon his Body, and who will come again in glory as judge of all nations and king of creation.  That’s the gospel.”

Phillip Cary “Good News For Anxious Christian

tired of the hype…

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“Awesome…”  “Passion…”  “Unique…”  “Radical…”  “Relevant…” “Missional…” “Life Changing…”  “Transforming…”  “Growing…”  “Life-equipping…”  “Living-Your-Purpose…”

Is anyone else tired of Church hype?  Above are a scattering of words picked out from some church websites.  Judging from each page you’d think that these churches are individually ushering in the second coming of Christ.  Is anyone else growing weary? Continue reading

Other Highlights from Phillip Cary’s Book

Just thought I’d share some more tidbits from Cary’s “Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Thing You Don’t Have to Do.”  The purpose of his book is to present the Gospel in contrast to some of the not-so-recent trends in popular evangelical Christianity.

“The new evangelical theology [i.e. consumerist theology] is essentially a set of practical ideals or techniques for living the Christian life.  They ‘work,’ but in a peculiar and not very Christian way.  They make you anxious when you don’t use them, which makes you use them.  That’s their real success: they reproduce themselves like a virus, until everybody has the virus–until everybody is using the techniques, saying the same things, participating in the same programs” Continue reading

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The Application Trap

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“The ‘application’ part of the sermon works by making people anxious about whether they’re living the way ‘we as Christians’ are supposed to: faithful, loving, caring, experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and so on.  It’s a trap  Either you believe that stuff about yourself, which makes you self-righteous, or you don’t, which makes you anxious.  Either way you’re stuck.  You can try to convince yourself you’re oh-so loving (so much more loving than your neighbors–now isn’t that nice!) or you can worry about how shabby your Christian life is (haunted by that feeling, ‘what’s wrong with me?’).  There’s no escaping the trap unless you believe that Christ came to save sinners and that includes you… Continue reading