In these urgent times, the Christian Church cannot keep avoiding what Jesus actually emphasized and mandated. Practical, practice-based Christianity can no longer be ignored by Christians who were never told Christianity was anything more than a denominational belonging or belief system. The stakes are too great. “It is the very love of Christ that now compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Quaker pastor Philip Gulley superbly summarizes how we must rebuild our view of Christianity from the bottom up in his book, If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus. This list is adapted from his chapter titles and offers a rather thought provoking description of what he believes must emerge in Christianity today if we are not to just simply worship Jesus, but to really follow Him as well.
- Jesus is a model for living more than an object of worship.
- Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
- The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.
- Gracious behavior is more important than right belief.
- Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
- Encouraging the personal search is more important than group uniformity.
- Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
- Peacemaking is more important than power.
- We should care more about love and less about sex.
- Life in this world is important, maybe more than the afterlife (Eternity is God’s work anyway).
If this makes sense to you, then you may already be participating in a more “Jesus values” approach to Christianity. For further reflection, take note of what phrase stands out to you the most. Come back to that phrase throughout the day, being prayerful and present to its deeper invitation.
Posted on December 3, 2019