BUFF SCOTT, JR.
Special Notes On What Follows
Some of you probably remember an author and Christian columnist by the name of Edward Fudge
. He passed on to eternal glory three years ago. During his stay on earth, he published a book in 1982 under the title, “The Fire That Consumes,”
wherein he advocated that eternal punishment is not and never will be endless torture.
I bought a copy of that book when it first became available, and it turned out to be a “change agent” for me on the subject of conscious
endless torture. In one of Edward’s weekly columns, he authored one in particular that captured my attention. I want to share it with you today. Please do me a favor and not only read it, but evaluate it prudently.—Buff
We Have Turned Things Backwards It has been said that somewhere around A. D. 300, demon hordes gathered in emergency meeting to discuss how to hinder the Gospel’s spread and to impede Christ’s kingdom. Satan presided and received proposals. “Let’s persecute these Christians,” one demon suggested. “It won’t help,” another replied. “The more we persecute them, the more they increase.”
Other suggestions followed—discouragement, false doctrine, internal strife. Each suggestion was discarded as being ineffective. Finally an enterprising demon spoke up. “Let’s make the Christian movement popular and wealthy,” he said. “Entice these Christians to abandon the catacombs, houses and marketplaces. Encourage them to build fine church buildings. When they have all gone inside, lock the doors and their progress will fade into oblivion.”
This make-believe story is reality in its truest form. Jesus charged his followers to “go make disciples,” adding the promise, “I am with you always.” But somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten his words, or to have become confused. “Come to us,” we now say, from the safe security of our church buildings.
What has happened to turn things backwards? Has the institutional church obscured the spiritual kingdom? Has maintenance replaced mission? Has head knowledge become disconnected from heart passion? Has Christ’s commission given way to church culture and comfort? Do our congregational budgets and church calendars provide any clues? Why is most of our money and time as church now spent in seeking and serving the saved?
<><><> MY OBSERVATIONS
— We are overly organized, needlessly ritualistic, excessively formalistic, and unduly mechanical. The activities, movements, and efforts of the first believers were unskilled, ordinary, unsophisticated, and informal—although serious and edifying. Our contemporary arrangement is perplexing, rehearsed, organized to the brim, ritualistic, formalistic, boring, and mechanical.
The world keeps hanging, if only by a thread, waiting for “Christians” to toss it the lifejacket of salvation. But no!
Institutional religion is too busy keeping her churches and organizations afloat to bother with the Great Commission
. Millions are waiting for someone to bring them the message of salvation, but she sits around creating more organizations to implement the ones that have already become dormant and stale. Until the modern church becomes more interested in more people, she will remain out of the people business.—Buff