The Jude 3 Fellowship began as the vehicle for a book titled Fatal Drift…Is The Church Losing its Anchor? It was designed to be a ministry in which like-minded believers could share their vision and their concerns in these times in which the very notion of truth itself is under assault. Like Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, it is hoped that a fellowship (In the trust sense of that word) will develop over time with its main focal point being the preservation of “The faith once for all delivered to the saints…” (Jude verse 3)
The late entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. used to end his night club routine by lifting up two fingers in a ‘V’ sign and saying “Keep the faith baby….” It was his signature sign off.
I thought, when I heard that remark that I’d love to ask him, “Which one?”
Jude, when he wrote his short epistle, clearly used that phrase “The faith once for all delivered to the saints” to refer to the gospel of Jesus Christ which was purported to be…communicated to be…and accepted for centuries to be…the only true faith. Say something like that in many circles today and you are labeled as a bigot or worse….a hater. The reason for this sea change in attitude about truth is the subject of the aforementioned book, Fatal Drift. You will search your Bibles in vain for any reference or even inference that the task of the people of God was to affirm or even study to understand other religions.
I believe that it is important to affirm the significance of others’ religious beliefs. As a Navy Chaplain, I was comforted by the unofficial (Then…I’m not so sure now) motto of the chaplain corps…. “Cooperation without Compromise.” For me to insist that everyone in my unit become a Christian or to deny them the right to worship as they please in a free republic would be wrong. It is equally wrong however to require that Christians deny the tenets of their faith and to remove any vestiges of that faith from public life in America. The detainees at Guantanamo Bay have more religious freedom than the soldiers who guard them, or for that matter…the Baptist Church member who teaches Social Studies at the local High School.
“How then shall we live….?”
This question was asked by Francis Schaeffer in the 1980’s and it is still the right question to ask. When I write these blogs entries I have in mind those who already name the name of Jesus. I have in mind denominational officials, seminary deans and professors, and pastors and leaders of local churches. A disturbing trend in the last decade or so is evidenced by the efforts to accommodate the culture and to downplay the certainty of the claims of Jesus in favor of a more all-inclusive, homogenized, less offensive, seeker- sensitive approach to engaging the culture around us.
Not a month goes by but that yet another ‘version’ or ‘paraphrase’ of the scripture is marketed under the auspices of being more ‘contemporary.’ On its face, that appears to be a noble enough attempt to reach people. What I find troubling is that the rationale (when explained) seems to always start with the notion that the Bible as is….is not enough.
I have counseled hundreds of people over the years and I noticed a phenomenon in counseling couples. A spouse really begins to resent it when the other spouse interrupts and finishes his or her sentences or says something like
“What he meant was…” or “What she meant was…”
The very clear message that is being communicated by the one spouse is that other spouse is not capable of making his or her thoughts clear. Track with me here. We as Christians are declaring (or we used to) that the Bible is the very Word of Almighty God. Now try and imagine His voice thundering from heaven and then picture someone interrupting and addressing the people of God and saying…”Now let me clarify what the Lord meant to say…” Is it any less of an insult? Does it not convey that God needs us to tweak his message so as not to offend?
As we step off into the year of Our Lord (yes that is how they used to refer to dates in school) 2015, I plan to post a series of excerpts from my book as well as some from other writers who have written on this subject. My plan is to introduce you to authors who have contributed to this discussion and frankly have helped me as I researched my book. I am not interested in debating, or attacking, or defending per se. I am very interested in pushing back against what have become unchallenged fallacies.
Do you have children in public schools? Do you have a loved one with disabilities? Do you have aging parents on Medicare? Does it seem like your church is rapidly changing into something you don’t recognize anymore? Then this site, and this book may be of interest to you.
Os Guinness wrote
The urgent task for followers of Jesus is to be truly relevant to our times…we are twenty first century Christians who must constantly define ourselves by the gospel and remain faithful to Jesus Christ in the twenty first century…we therefore need to examine the modern promise of relevance and reinvention. Could it be the means to advance the good news to a confused, weary, battered world that is hungry for news that is genuinely good? Or is it a Trojan horse that we wheel into the camp at our peril?
Prophetic Untimeliness a Challenge to the Idol of Relevance pp.18-19
He went on to quote C.S Lewis
“It is a way of thinking that balances the pursuit of relevance on the one hand with a tenacious awareness of those elements of the Christian message that don’t fit in with any contemporary age on the other. Emphasize only the natural fit between the gospel and the spirit of the age and we will have an easy, comfortable gospel that is closer to our age than to the gospel—all answers to human aspirations, for example, and no mention of self-denial and sacrifice.” Ibid p. 20
May this be the year that we regain out first love and with that love…. a voracious appetite for the Word of God. May others join the fellowship, and may we encourage one another.
Just a quick reminder… Will you pray about perhaps partnering with us financially this year? This is the year that I will hit the road promoting the book and offering trainings at local churches. Some exciting partnerships are developing. I will have more to say on this subject in future posts. You can use the donate button or mail your tax deductible donation to the Jude 3 Evangelistic Association at the mailing address above.
I’m getting excited