Thursday, November 04, 2010

Are you a 'Bonsai Christian' or worse?

bon·sai: (tray-plant) dwarfed by pruning roots and pinching, stifling growth, trained to grow in a shallow pot or container to produce desired shape or effect, stunted, miniature

Why are so many in the church stunted in their spiritual growth? Could the process of American churchianity be a contributing factor? Have the conventions of the modern church pruned the roots of faith and pinched the organic energy that should result from saving life in the soul? Is the construct of most religious institutions training people to grow in a shallow pot? Is this being done to produce a desired effect? Do professional pastors and lay leaders want to contain their parishioners to make them into a particular desired shape in order to fit into the agenda of the philosophy of 'success' of the programs of their church?

While I do not doubt that many godly men are shepherding their flock with tender loving care, I believe that the state of the American church deserves prayerful scrutiny.

As a missionary of 18 years I have noticed a disturbing and growing trend. A goodly portion of the people in churches appear to be living spiritually mediocre lives, at best. They are bonsai Christians. Satisfied with traditions of the church (activities), they seem content with very little. They seem pleased with watered down milk. And, tragically, many more professing Christians we meet at the abortuaries and at college campues are openly debauched and hedonistic. I find it extremely disturbing that over 55% of the sexually immoral women who murder their babies by abortion identify themselves as 'Protestant' (and 18% are Catholic) while women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. Notorious abortionist Randall Whitney (who has been murdering children since before  was recently arrested for slapping an aborting mom across the face) confidently told me: "Patte, we are both Christians. The only difference between you and me is that you are a pre-modern Christian and I am a post-modern Christian." People like Randy Whitney must be lapping up the proverbial kool-aid of the new 'cult' of Christendumb. Surely they are suckling what amounts to non-dairy creamer from their pulpiteers and only consider themselves 'saved' because of what they have been told makes for a 'Christian' & their church affliliation confirms the lie.  Rather than finding their pleasures in God, these false converts are finding them in their religious tradition and in earthly, sensual devilish pleasures for which they are not experiencing power to overcome nor enough guilt to put them away simply because they are shameful. Truly, "There is no fear of God in their eyes." (Romans 3:18)

Have you noticed this problem too? It's nothing new. It's as old as mankind, but it runs in cycles. We are at a very low ebb here in the visible American church. Bonsai Christians abound. And, quasi and pseudo 'christians' are epidemic.

qua·si: –adjective (as if, as though)  resembling; seeming, having some, but not all of the features of

pseu·do: –adjective
1.not actually but having the appearance of; pretended; false or spurious; sham.
2. almost, approaching, or trying to be.

Related words: fake, faker, fraud, imposter, impostor

George Whitefield, a preacher of righteousness of America's Great Awakening of the 1700's, wrote the following about the 'almost Christian':

"An almost Christian is one of the most hurtful creatures in the world; he is a wolf in sheep's clothing: he is one of those false prophets, our blessed Lord bids us beware of in his sermon on the mount, who would persuade men, that the way to heaven is broader than it really is; and thereby, as it was observed before, "enter not into the kingdom of God themselves, and those that are entering in they hinder." These, these are the men that turn the world into a luke-warm Laodicean spirit; that hang out false lights, and so shipwreck unthinking benighted souls in their voyage to the haven of eternity. These are they who are greater enemies to the cross of Christ, than infidels themselves: for of an unbeliever every one will be aware; but an almost Christian, through his subtle hypocrisy, draws away many after him; and therefore must expect to receive the greater damnation."

I believe that the only remedy for the striking decline in holiness and spiritual authority and power in the church today is bold, expositional, reformational public preaching in the pulpit and in the public square. And I am not alone in my assessment. Are you a bonsai Christian? Won't you seek the Lord to free you from the shackles of worldly American Christianity? If you are in a shallow pot church, break free! Come out from among them and be ye separate! Find a solid, gospel preaching, evangelizing church and a spiritual pastor. And, won't you join us in fasting and praying for and laboring towards another Great Awakening?

Suggested Reading:
The Almost Christian
By George Whitefield (1714-1770)

The Almost Christian Discovered; Or, The False Professor Tried
By Matthew Mead, 1661

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
By Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Together for Life & Eternity,
Patte Smith
Sanctuary Ministries

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