Paul said it thousands of years ago, and it's still just as true today: we have a spiritual milk problem.
We have a problem where the church is stuck in this perpetual infancy, where we're simply rehashing the same basic truths over and over again every Sunday, every Tuesday night in small group, every Thursday at men's breakfast. We are, it seems, always talking about the very same things - Jesus loves you. He died for you. If it were only you, He still would have done it. Therefore, be baptized in the name of Jesus.
A lot of this, we must confess, comes out of what we've called the "seeker-sensitive" movement. This is the idea that we are constantly trying to draw new folks into our midst, always looking for those outside of the church to bring in and so, we have to keep preaching the very basics because our target audience is those who have never heard these truths before. The Gospel really is new to them, so we want to make it as basic and simple as possible.
We can talk about that. And we should. And we have. And maybe we will again - who really knows where this week will take us?
But that's not where we're going to start.
We're going to start with a much greater epidemic in our church, and that is the number of churched folk - the ones we count among our flock, our brothers and sisters that we're used to seeing every Sunday, those who have become a constant presence in our lives - who don't want to know more about God. They don't want solid food. They are completely satisfied (but not really) with spiritual milk.
This is important. Because for so many of us, the truth about God makes us want to know Him more. It makes us want to dive deeper. It makes us want to crack open our Bible and see what kind of new, amazing thing we can discover about grace. It makes us want to worship more, learn more, pray more, read more, serve more, love more.
And yet, we cannot deny, nor can we ignore, that there are those among us for whom this isn't true. What they know about God is good, but they don't want to know any more. They don't open their Bible except maybe rarely on a Sunday morning. They don't sing praise songs throughout the week. They don't pray regularly or even, in many cases, at all. They don't sign up to serve their community. They might not be giving to their local congregation or to any mission.
And they don't want to.
Over the years, we have said many things about this sort of Christian. We have called them "nominal" Christians - Christians in name only. We have called them fake Christians, those who are just pretending. We have called them uncommitted. We have called them posers.
But what if none of that is true? What if that's not what's going on here? What if, in trying to just write these persons off, we are ignoring a harsher reality? What if...we're missing something?
I think we are. And this week, we'll talk about what that something is.