Thursday, July 2, 2009

Challenges to True Christianity

My wife is an online teacher for several Universities. While we were enjoying a cup of coffee this morning out by the pool, she was reading me some of her instructional literature. Right away it sounded like something that might preach well. Or at least lend itself as a good analogy for the church in America today. What’s a blogger to do? Let’s see if my thoughts work with this. Please play along....

It’s no secret that the educational system in the U.S. could use some improvements across a wide variety of areas. Take for example some facts that my wife was telling me about concerning the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL)—something that is a main focus in schools especially in areas like the southwest.

Experts suggest that there are three environmental components that are crucial to second language learning. The first component involves learners who recognize their need to learn the English language and who are motivated to do so. The second component requires that the role models of English (teachers, aids etc.) be fluent enough to provide learners with access to the language and assistance in language transitions. Third, a social setting is necessary to bring English language learners and English language models in contact with enough frequency to enable language learning. The experts also argue that an environment that is missing any one of these components will render language learning difficult, if not impossible.

Here are some of the problems that short circuit the above components. First, ESL teachers that are not fluent in the language they are teaching and in fact often use Spanish to communicate lessons. Secondly, social settings include homes and families that speak Spanish only, watch only Spanish language T.V. channels as well as friends and work places that are predominantly Spanish speaking. This leaves a young student’s motivation as their only means of overcoming the above obstacles. Parents and teachers of teens and young adult students can tell you that this is often times a tough prospect.

So, what does all this have to do with Evangelism, Christianity and the church? I’ll try to put the same spin on Christianity?

What are the essential components of a healthy church or Christian? I will suggest three:

First, a correct understanding of who we are and who God is. Our nature is depraved, fallen and without hope apart from God. God is Holy, just, and sovereign. We exist to glorify and worship Him alone and we need to figure out how that happens.

Secondly, God is so kind in that He has shown His grace and kindness in the person of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. He has provided a legal means for us to be acquitted of sinning against him and escaping eternal punishment.

Thirdly, we must have knowledge of God’s Word. This means reading it regularly in order to learn about God and his nature as well as to learn how to live and grow our lives and families for His glory. This happens when we sit under solid preaching and teaching in a Church truly seeking God in truth and spirit.

As far as I can tell, everything else is just details. Or maybe I'm wrong and could use some input from someone more mature than me.

What kind of things do you see in our churches, lives and culture that are short circuiting our true knowledge of God? I would love to hear your comments.