Friday, August 2, 2019

When measurements are irrelevant

This week I was sad to read the news of Josh Harris' divorce and abandoning of the Christian faith.

In the latter announcement, Josh makes a comment that indirectly, and maybe unintentionally, is also a comment on Christianity. He wrote, “By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.”

The thing is, Being a Christian is not defined by something we measure.

Being a Christian is one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and is saved (Acts 16:31). If Josh still believes that, then he is still a Christian even if he feels he doesn't “measure up.” If Josh has always believed that being a Christian is about attaining certain measurements, then maybe he never fully understood and believed the unconditional simplicity of the Gospel.

Clarity in the Gospel message is of paramount importance, and a lack of clarity in the Gospel can have far-reaching consequences. Lance Latham was once stirred to Gospel clarity even after having worked in evangelistic crusades when he read “even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).

I was once at a Do Hard Things conference put on by Josh's younger twin brothers. Their father, Gregg Harris, spoke and he shared that he had wanted to be an evangelist. He made that session itself evangelistic. In Christian circles, Gospel invitations are often given “with every head bowed and every eye closed,” and Gregg did the opposite of that. When he gave an invitation, he specifically explained he wanted “nobody's head bowed, and every eye open.” As everyone was seated, he called on those believing the Gospel message to stand and say, “Jesus is Lord!” He wanted people to make a public profession of faith, even if that might surprise other members of their youth group. Many people did that day, and it was very exciting. I've not forgotten that.

At that time, Josh had already taken over as pastor of Covenant Life Church. There were a lot of problems under the surface there that have since come to light. The changes we're seeing for Josh began soon after that. One can expect the ripples of this story to continue.

I close with a question Paul asked the Romans: “what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?” (Romans 3:3). No. God is still faithful even if others turn away. God is still trustworthy, His Word is still true, and we do well to believe it even if anyone or an angel from heaven preaches any other gospel.

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