The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
It's not enough to hear the message; you have to act on it.
No female athlete has achieved as much as Holland's FANNY BLANKERS- KOEN. In the 1948 London Olympics, she won the gold medal in the 100 metres and 200 metres, the 80 metres hurdles and the 4x100 metres.
The British weren't very pleased that a “foreigner” had taken the majority of the medals, so someone wrote of her: “The fastest woman in the world is only an expert cook”. Fanny was married with two children, and their worst accusation was a source of pride to her.
You can't just say you're good, you've got to prove it. That was what the British journalists thought back then, and it's still true today. That's the spectator's problem: he always knows just what the athlete should do.
“He should have done this”, or, “What a bad throw,he's out of shape”, or, “If I went down there, I bet I could do better!” You've heard the sort of thing a hundred times; the speaker always seems to know just what to do, as if he were the all-round world champion.
We have the same trouble with our spiritual lives. Did you realise there's a new spiritual gift - spectator? Unfortunately, many are practising it; sometimes I think the greater part of our congregations have signed up.
Some modern Christians seem to think they are at a basketball game: ten people (at most) do all the work while the rest watch, criticise, etc.
We've lost sight of the fact that God doesn't allow spectators. It's not enough to hear the message; you have to act on it.
The greatest problem is not only that the spectators don't participate. All spectators are also critics by nature. They think they're specialists in everything: music, preaching, poetry, evangelism, leading, counselling - they know it all!
But maybe they miss the most important point. God says criticising and murmuring are sin. Satan is the father of all criticism! He may have more children in the churches than God does…