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(Sermon series beginning September 12)
Hillcrest Baptist Church

Following Christ but Quitting Christianity?
by Tom Goodman
September 15, 2010

In July, Anne Rice broke up with Christianity.  And, like a lot of breakups today, it all happened on Facebook.

Rice was writing novels about vampires long before Team Edward existed, but in the late 90s she surprised everyone by turning her back on 30 years of atheism and becoming a believer in Jesus.  She said that she would "give myself utterly to the task of trying to understand Jesus himself."  That commitment showed up in her writing, as she turned from novels about vampires and witches to writing the Christ the Lord series and her spiritual autobiography, Called Out of Darkness.

Good news.  But in July she wrote in her Facebook status update: "Today I quit being a Christian.  I'm out.  I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity.  It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.  For ten years, I've tried.  I've failed.  I'm an outsider.  My conscience will allow nothing else....  In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian."

Hey, we've all had our moments where we want to keep Christ but break up with Christianity.  Interacting with other people is just inconvenient and time-consuming and sometimes embarrassing and messy.  So, many people have said the same thing Rice said:  "I've got my relationship with Christ, but I don't need a relationship with other Christians."

But one mark of a spiritual uTurn is a commitment to others who love Jesus.  Consider Saul's conversion in Acts 9.  When Saul met Christ, he worked so hard to connect with other Christians.  Why?

I think it was because of what he heard from the risen Jesus on the Damascus road (verse 4):  "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"  Do you think Jesus is asking a similar question of us:  "Why do you ignore me?  Why are you embarrassed about me?  Why do you fail to support me?"  You might want to say, "No, Lord, none of those things are true.  I'm not a big fan of any church but I love you!"  But think about Jesus' question to Saul:  To ignore God's people is to ignore Jesus, and to fail to identify with God's people is to fail to identify with Jesus, and to fail to support God's people is to fail to support Jesus.

Jesus expects you to do your part to make his vision for his church a reality.  Quitting that effort just isn't an option.  Join us this Sunday @ 10 and let's learn more about this from our study of Saul's conversion in Acts 9.


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