Is the Church over-confident?


Paul and Silas in Prison, William Hatherell

I am a believer in confidence.  Confidence gives us the inner resources to take those leaps of faith required in Christian discipleship. In the letter to the Hebrews we read, “Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (Heb.10:35).

And yet confidence can be dangerous.  

Churches can be confident their ability to communicate using the best in marketing, politics, and entertainment.  But instead we need confidence in God and His words, as He speaks to us in Holy Scripture. Churches can be confident in their ability to build successful programs.  But instead we need confidence in the work of Christ in us and His means of grace. Christians can be confident in their own good works.  But instead we need confidence in the righteousness of Christ which we have received by faith alone.  

The Bible reminds us that “the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”(2Tim.1:7).  But where do we place or confidence?  In the kingdoms we are building, or in “the Kingdom that cannot be shaken”(Heb.12:28)? 

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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2 Responses to Is the Church over-confident?

  1. Birdie says:

    Yes, I think the church is over-confident, at least here in America. When visiting other countries and even hearing about what some other people go through to even get to a church, or a Christian group, it has made me aware of how much the church is taken for granted here.

  2. Carol H Childers says:

    Now this sounds like a Lutheran pastor!!!!!
    Carol C.

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