Did you hear about the guy who complained to his wife about the music at their church? “Honey,” he said, “I’m so tired of the same old music every time we come. It’s either, ‘Away In A Manger’ or ‘Up From The Grave He Arose.’” That’s a funny story, but there’s nothing funny about folks having a casual attitude toward Christ and His church in such critical times.
One Christian leader wrote: When Gideon was through thinning out his frightened and indifferent soldiers, he discovered that only one out of one hundred was brave and really meant business. The unorganized indifference within the ranks of church members is far more destructive to the work of the Lord than all the organized forces of iniquity assailing from the outside.
Dr. Charles Stanley wrote a book several years ago called Confronting Casual Christianity. He wrote, “Apathy and complacency are hydra-headed sins which are an affront to God Almighty ... The severest sin of Christians is a numbing lack of concern, an anesthetized attitude of ‘I don’t care. I’m in the fold. Why should I concern myself? I have a fire insurance policy against hell.’ Apathy, complacency, indifference, spiritual drowsiness and insensitivity are lulling the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to sleep.”1
John Powers said, “Casual Christians are those folks who use the local church when it is beneficial to them. They come to church when it is expected. Weddings, funerals, Easter and Christmas are times when casual Christians appear. Their contributions are criticisms. Their walk with God becomes flippant and relaxed. Like hibernating bears, they are comfortable and do not want to be disturbed. Like calloused skin, their hearts have layers of hardness after years of living tepidly for the Lord. The Laodicean church typifies these church members. Not hot nor cold, they are lukewarm. It’s not that they don’t believe the doctrines of the faith; they are not opposed to evangelizing the world. These members aren’t opponents of the Lord; they are just indifferent to Him and to those things He deems vitally important.”2
I want to issue a challenge to you and every Christian on this planet. Take personal inventory of your walk with the Lord and ask yourself these questions: “Have I become casual in my commitment to Christ and His church? Apathetic in my witness for Christ? Indifferent to spending time alone with God in prayer and study of His Word? Hit or miss in my giving? Complacent in living my faith? Have I allowed the devil to lure me away from the very people and the very things that used to hold my feet to the fire for God?”
As the days get warmer with spring and summer, it’s easy for some to cool off in their commitment to Christ and His church; to take it easy, relax and let down regarding spiritual things. After all, it’s vacation time. However, one of the deadliest things any of us can do is take a vacation from our Bible, our church and most of all, our God.
David Platt in his excellent book, Counter Culture, challenges us that Christ hasn’t called us “to quietly sit and watch evolving cultural trends and not to subtly shift our views amid changing cultural tides, but to courageously share and show our convictions through what we say and how we live, even (or especially) when those convictions contradict the popular positions of our day.”3
We are called to be COURAGEOUS CHRISTIANS not casual ones. He goes on to say, “May we not sin through silence. May we realize that not to speak is to speak. Ultimately, may it be said of us that we not only held firm to the gospel, but that we spoke clearly with the gospel to the most pressing issues of our day.”4
Have you stopped to consider the fact that one of the reasons Christians are facing so much persecution and under attack all over the world, is that God is trying to purify His church? Peter said, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). My prayer is you’re already a courageous Christian.
David Platt ends his book with these words, “Are we going to follow Jesus? Not are we going to bow our heads, say a prayer, read the Bible, go to church, and give a tithe while we get on with the rest of our lives? But, are we going to follow Jesus with all our lives, no matter where he leads us to go, how countercultural the task is, or what the cost may be for us, our families, and our churches? In order to answer that central question, I’m compelled to ask these three corresponding questions: Are we going to choose comfort or the cross? Are we going to settle for maintenance or sacrifice for mission? And finally, will our lives be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts?”5
Let’s make sure our church is always a place where everyone is welcome, but never a place where anyone is allowed to become casual in their walk with the Lord.
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
1 Dr. Charles Stanley, Confronting Casual Christianity (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985) 10-11.
2 John S. Powers, Redefining Church Membership (Nashville: Lifeway Church Resources, 2001) 119-120.
3 David Platt, Counter Culture (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015) xiv.
4 Platt 19.
5 Platt 239.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.