Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I Am Not A Committed Christian

One of my staff pastors forwarded me an online article by Bob Butler writing for Discipleship Journal. The title was Why I am Not a Committed Christian. Butler recalls a meeting between the late Adrian Rogers (the great former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church) and Josef Tson. Dr.Tson is a former Romanian pastor who endured years of persecution and exile under a Communist regime. He went on to become the President of the Romanian Missionary Society. In their meeting, Dr. Rogers asked Dr. Tson what was his impression of American Christianity. His response was both telling and convicting. As I read Butler’s retelling of Tson’s response, I thought, “YES, that’s it. He nailed it.” Tson was so on target I wanted to share his words again here on this blog.

Said Josef Tson on American Christianity, “Well, Adrian, since you have asked me, I’ll tell you. The key word in American Christianity is commitment.”

Tson believed that the word commitment was an inferior concept compared to an earlier Christian teaching of another concept, surrender.

Continued Tson, “When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, or to commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to. But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don’t tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told. . . . Americans love commitment because they are still in control. But the key word is surrender. We are to be slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And that is what separates Christianity from all other religions. Consider that the word Islam literally means “submission to Allah.” A Muslim is one who adheres to Islam, or in other words, one who submits to Allah. In America, where the term Christian has lost virtually all meaning in terms of orthodox theology and praxology, we need something more. We need a qualifier. And a great option, I think, is the word surrender. The Bible calls for something that goes further than commitment or even submission, it calls for surrender, surrender to Jesus. Why stop at being a committed Christian when you can be a surrendered Christian?

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