I recently read an article from Ed Stetzer called Is Radical Christianity A Form of Legalism? The article was a response to Christianity Today’s piece called Here Come The Radicals Both are very good articles and I encourage you to read them both, contrast and compare.
Pastors should be looking at how to lead heir flock to living an authentic, radical faith. I believe men like David Platt, Francis Chan, and Shane Claiborne love the church and want God best for it, to shake it up, but they are men on a spiritual journey of their own. They have chosen a life that makes their faith come alive, forces them to trust God, and in the end, become stronger in their faith.
We as adults, and this generation of teenagers, need examples like this. Radical people with sharp sticks to poke us out of our affluent haze of heart, but these men do not set the bar for what radical is, Jesus sets the bar for radical and it is our indifference to Jesus’ call to be radical that has created a vacuum of life giving examples of what radical faith is and why Platt, Chan, and others take radical, if not extreme (to some) steps to reawaken the believers heart to think “is there more?” As youth pastors, we can show Chan and Platt videos in youth group or or we can just program being radical into all we do.
Jesus did not ask everyone to sell all they had and follow him as he did with the Rich Young Ruler. The Apostle Paul did not make everyone get beaten or stoned for the sake of the gospel nor shamed others for not being beaten or stoned for the sake of the gospel.
When I was younger in my faith, I preached on the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gra through a bull horn. I and some others, thought that was radical and it was. The very act made my faith come alive. My faith became valuable. God’s faithfulness became evident, and life made more sense. I gave God permission to do something radical in me. That is why radical obedience is needed in the life of every believer. If you are bored with your faith, do some radical like :
- forgive someone you hurt you and tell them
- Ask someone to forgive you
- admit your prejudice and set out to make it right.
- give money you don’t have to someone who does not deserve it
- get out of your daily faith routine and serve in a place with people you do not know or understand
- Step up and serve in your churches nursery (Radical x 10)
- Go to a nerd convention and hand out New Testaments
The longer you wait. make excuses, and ignore the level of radical God is calling you to, the more frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled in your faith and with God you will be.
We can cheerlead our radical beliefs
Or we can live radically. It’s our choice.