I recently listened to a podcast on Brainwashing and Cults. As I was listening to it, all I could hear were the same guidelines and principles that drive a lot of the typical Christian evangelism styles: the Romans Road, The Way of The Master, etc. Essentially, they described brainwashing as deconstruction and reconstruction: break a person down and then build them back up according to your intended outcome for them. I will admit it’s not surprising that there’s a parallel because if I believe that deep down (though not only deep) everyone is broken and in need of a remedy, it seems inevitable that people would have found a way to abuse that through cults, brainwashing, and abuse.
It’s really made me wonder if I love God, if I really cherish His grace and salvation, or if I just adhere to and appreciate Christianity.
You could call that a false dilemma, I guess, but there is a potential difference: Do I ultimately love the Christian religion with its doctrines and precepts or do I chiefly love the actual and personal Jesus? Though I would without hesitation say where my first affections should be, my actions speak louder than my words. When I think about how Christians – how I – share the Gospel, it seems like hope and joy are found chiefly in doctrines and ideas rather than God Himself. The means by which I’ve learned to share those doctrines and beliefs sound eerily similar to brainwashing sometimes.
We don’t talk about Him except when He becomes a necessary component of some sterile equation for making life good or avoiding hell.
So, what if I were to start with the goal of sharing Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2)? The great thing is that you can’t really dis Jesus. I mean, you can and some people do, but there’s a general reverence for the man, teacher, or whatever else people consider Him to have been.
The world may be continually and increasingly moving away from a Biblical worldview, but I doubt the average joe (at least in the West) would boldly say that Jesus isn’t worth some level of respect or consideration. And this is compounded exponentially in the world around me if I’m following Him, living like Him, and tangibly representing Him to people.
This is so appealing to me because it feels like it has a much more likely default into honesty and transparency. If my hope for a person is something deep down AND on the surface (true faith in Jesus and radical discipleship to Jesus) then I can talk about Him with a greater and freer authenticity. Rather than trying to inconspicuously ease someone into a worldview, I can tell them about God Himself and what it means to know and follow Him for me personally.
The doctrines and precepts are of course essential, but rather than simply being my “Christian” view or perspective, they become the completely natural results of what I know of God and my relationship with Him.
What a cheap message I would carry if my only offering to the people in my life was a set of beliefs. People don’t want to just follow an idea or philosophy, and if they do, it will only be so far. The cost of an idea can certainly be too great for our shaky human fortitude. When it comes to the deepest longings of the human condition, the mind can appreciate a doctrinal system, but the soul needs far more than that.
Jesus is a shepherd for lost sheep, not just another philosophy for “enlightened” people.
Thanks for reading, we would love it if you'd share your thoughts in the comments below Transcend Church Harrisburg Also, come check out the Church behind this site at 1801 State St. Harrisburg.