Sunday, August 26, 2007

We Would See Jesus

It was in the fall of 1966. I was a freshman at LIFE Bible College. A friend of mine and I decided to take a peek inside of the first church of the Foursquare Gospel, Angelus Temple. Upon entering the foyer there was a huge display behind glass windows full of canes, wheelchairs, glasses, braces etc. from people who were healed back when ‘Sister’ Aimee McPherson was holding meetings in Los Angeles.
Walking past the foyer we entered the church auditorium which seemed massive to me with its 5,300 seats and domed roof.
The pipe organ console and pulpit sat much as they did when they were installed. My friend is an organ aficionado so he went there and began playing. I walked down front onto the platform. I sat in a chair where some great men and women of God sat. Then I noticed an inscription, hand carved into the back of the pulpit that only someone standing behind it might see.

The inscription came from John 12:21 and simply but boldly said,


Now I don’t know what you think about Aimee McPherson. She was a controversial figure in her day but today the fruit of her labor has been multiplied the world over. Anyway she’s not the subject I’m talking about. That subject would be Jesus.
I’ve attended many churches from many denominations, and even spoke in a few. I’m familiar with many of the essential differences that divide them. I’ve served on the boards of churches from two different denominations and have attended two bible colleges, one Trinitarian and one non-Trinitarian. The one thing that I see universally is that on Sunday morning you're likely to be addressed by someone who has not recently considered those words. You're more likely to get advice on how to live your life.


Turn on any ‘Christian’ program on radio, TV or the internet and you’re liable to hear how God wants to bless you, give you health, wealth and prosperity. You will be taught how to have a successful marriage, how to live, tithe, and what to eat and lately, what the Moslems are doing. I'm not trying to minimize the importance of those issues and certainly they have their place in the believers world today. Though they may be helpful to encapsulate tips on the how to's of believers, they are not the Gospel. What you may not see or hear from the books or tv churches today is anything about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now this will turn some of you off. We all like to hear all that success and how to stuff but just watch how many times Jesus is spoken of directly. Some Christian TV shows are nothing but entertainment and some interview only those who have a new book out. I suggest that this comes at a great peril. The peril is the neglect of God’s Book and becoming familiar with the Jesus of the Bible.


In my first years as a Christian, everything was about Jesus; His love, deity and blood. Songs talked of the Lord, Jesus or God many times more than it mentioned me, my and I. Today you can go to church…and I’m talking about solid Evangelical churches and you’re likely to hear a song that never mentions God, the Lord or Jesus and many that do so insert me, my and I more often. I once sat through a youth/music service at an Assembly of God church and heard several such songs. At the end of the service the Pastor greeted me and asked me how I liked the service. I said that the kids seemed to get blessed but some of those songs could have been sung to a boy or girlfriend. My bluntness left him speechless and my wife embarrased. Thank God for wives who will pinch, kick or grab you before you really make a scene. I was literally dragged by my shirtsleeve out of there.


In today’s Christian world the Gospel is still as powerful as it was the day Jesus rose from the grave, but that message isn’t getting out. I’m speaking mostly of America since the Gospel is being more clearly preached in other parts of the world, but here in the US…well…may I say that we are the lukewarm Laodicean Church. Like those Greeks of old, let us remind ourselves often that this world needs to see Jesus! Anything less will fail.

Gospel is "Good News." The Good News is that "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."...God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." - Romans 5:8; John 3:16-17 It's good news to me because I'm a sinner included in the 'whoever' of John 3:16. (and so are you).


postcard photo


Least said...

Are you a trinitarian?

R. Hoeppner said...

Yes, I am there another scriptural viewpoint that is consistent throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? Thanks for the question.

"But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."
Acts 7:55 NIV

Least said...

You mentioned in your blog that you attended a non-Trinitarian Bible College as well as a Trinitarian one. I'm glad that you are a Trinitarian. I was worried that your response would be no.