Why has Christianity fallen? It’s fallen from power, political influence, social influence, and, most importantly, personal influence. In short, it’s lost its relevance. I’ve been kicking around some ideas for a decade or so now. But I will defer to Dallas Willard’s experience and words to tell us, at least in part, what happened to the message of Jesus.
Willard writes the following in his study guide to The Divine Conspiracy:
While there is a lot of teaching about Jesus among Christian people, it is often an attempt to make some theological or problem-solving system work. The reality of Jesus as a dominating presence in one’s real life is not taught. People privately see Jesus’ teaching as admirable but too hard for anyone to really do. So instead of becoming disciples of Jesus [students of Jesus], individuals substitute trying to achieve correctness of doctrine or of practices as defined by some tradition, resulting in a gap – even a conflict – between the way Christians behave and what Jesus taught.
Jesus’ message was powerful. It was simple. It was not a list of rules or regulations to follow. It was an invitation to be with God – to live and work with God – to be in relationship with God.
This is the good news, still.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson