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Bo Stern Brady: The Age of Ideology, Hebrews 12:26-29

March 7, 2022

Audio Recording

Church History
Church History
Bo Stern Brady: The Age of Ideology, Hebrews 12:26-29
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Sermon Transcript:

00:00 You're listening to a live recording from Westside church in bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us.

00:06 He was so happy to be here. I'm Bo Brady. I live part-time in Portland and part-time in, in, here this city. What's what do you call it here at bend? I I'm back and forth, which is evidenced by the fact that I have this little routine. When I speak at west, that I always stop at the downtown Starbucks first and get coffee. And guess what happened this morning? There's no downtown Starbucks anymore and I'm, I need to speak to the manager of the city. Anyway. I, don't have icy windshields much in Portland. And so yesterday when I got up and my windshield was all icy, I was scraping it. And of course I hadn't given myself enough time to get to my appointment. And so I'm just scraping as little as I possibly can to be able to see. And then I remembered an article.

00:55 I read a few years back where it said, they're going to start ticketing people for peek-a-boo driving. And because it's not safe, who is it not safe to the driver and everyone else peek-a-boo driving is not safe because you can see the whole road. You can only see what's right in front of you. And this series on church history is a way to try to clear the windshield so that we can see the whole thing. It's not a way to try to say, this is why the church is bad. We love the church. I was raised by a family that loves the church. I am one of those people that was slept on pews all my life. It's just that, I mean, still to this day, I sleep in the front pew, but I love the church. And I believe what Jesus said. It is going to triumph that the church is, is not going to cave or bow to the gates of hell.

01:51 It's going to be victorious where we're in a good thing. We're on a winning team. All those things exist. And yet we're still going to clear the windshield and look at some of the history of the church because it matters. It matters. Pastor Steve said last week, he quoted Christian theology, faces the present and the future by entering a conversation with its own past. And so that's what we wanted to do over the last six weeks. We want to look at what has gone on and how do we build from here? The most authentic version of the heart of Jesus that we can build? How can we do that? I think it's a whole exciting idea. But when I look back, I'm looking at two snapshots of the church. One is about 68 D the apostle Paul is living in the persecuted church. and he is beaten and taken to prison.

02:49 And there are believers praying for him. And then there's a shaking and his chains fell off and he, and the jailer leave and all of the dealer's family gets saved. And then what does do next? He goes back to prison. He goes back to prison and he then says to them, Hey, I'm a Roman citizen. I shouldn't be here anyway. Why didn't he say that before? Because he is willing to lay down his agenda and his time and his body and his life for the gospel. He's doing this under the mission statement, going all the world and make disciples. And so this is Paul, and then about 7 74, Ady Charlemagne marching under the various same mission rides on the Saxons and demands that they convert or lose their lives. And they don't. And he does be head 4,500 people that day under this reading, the same Bible, presuming to follow the same Jesus and the results are entirely different.

03:55 And we have levels of, of, of differences when the church they're, they're not every example of the church doing the wrong thing is that extreme. But all of the examples, all the dark spots on the timeline of the church, all go back to one thing I think. And just one thing it's not very complicated, and it's the word drift. We drift from a clear understanding of the person and purpose of Jesus Christ. We, we, we get something in our heart, something in our ideas about him that isn't true. And then everything begins to domino out from there. And so how do we make sure that we stay away from the enemy that is drift, that we stay, that we don't drift from his presence or from truth or from his word or from peace? I think the, the era that we're living in, especially in the American church is a dangerously drifty one.

04:53 I think we're really at risk right now of picking the wrong ideas and making them center stage. And so we're going to look at today. This is the era we're looking at of the church today. I am a little intimidated by this era because it is, 1960 to present. That's a whole era guys and that's basically my lifespan. So I feel like this is also probably the edge of my existence as well. I was born in 65. And so not knowing what to label this current era. It's a lot easier to label an era when you're looking back on it, not knowing what to label this, I've called this the age of ideology, because I think we're awash in ideas right now. We are, we have lots of ideas about lots of things and our ideas right now are very noisy and very bossy.

05:43 There's a lot going on. And a lot has been going on inside of this whole era. We've seen, the iron curtain fall. We've seen the underground church in China began to gain traction and flourish. We've seen the sexual revolution in America. We've seen almost unbelievable technological advances by evidence by the fact that I can now use my remote control to my television. I know how to do that. we've seen Martin Luther king and Rosa parks, LA launch a revolution in racial equity. We've seen, so many mass fast changes in our world. And in the church, the reformation was like a big rock dropped into the ocean of religious practice. And from that have rippled out so many consequences and so many changes in so many ideas. And we live in the ripples of all that has been taking place in this part of the timeline.

06:45 And what's a bigger idea. I think for us to get our minds around this morning is that we are right now, the ones making the splash and 20 or 30 or 300 years from now, they're going to live with some of the effects of what we do or do not believe in do or do not practice. Now inside the church, my husband and I had a new grand baby a week ago, and he is the most beautiful thing. And I just held him and thought, what am, what are we handing to you? What will it look like? What will your life span look like? If, if Liam's life is played out over here, what does the church look like for him? What is holiness look like? What does worship look like? What, what, what does, what will be his relationship with his country and his church, all of these things that we're doing right now matter.

07:36 And so one of the things we see happen in this era of the church was the development of many, many denominations, many, many groups decided I feel so strongly about this one piece that I believe whether it's, I think the church should own buildings and the denominations shouldn't, or I think divorce people should be able to be in leadership, or I think they shouldn't, or I think women should be able to preach, or I think they should have so many people built whole groups, churches around their ideology, that it created a lot of denominations. I'm going to show you something here. That's just a little bit of a chart. If you wonder why it's hard to find a church, there you go. There are lots of denominations, and this only represents umbrellas under those umbrellas. There's a million other churches. You can, we're a Foursquare church and you could go into any Foursquare church and it will feel a little different.

08:37 There'll be a little bit of different ideology. my background is very conservative and they're in, in the, the, the root system of my faith. You wouldn't put a person on a big screen because putting, giving some woman that amount of size and believe me that big strain adds like 50 pounds. but giving someone that amount of size is authority. She doesn't deserve not just a woman, anyone, and there wouldn't be standing on a stage because that would violate the scripture that says that every believer is a king and a priest. And that's a firmly held ideology. some, some churches firmly hold on to, to passivism or activism or social justice. I worked for a church that was, do you remember when at a lot of you're way too young, but I'm an era. So every church used to have an Oregon and Lindsey, is there a way we could maybe just consider adding it?

09:42 So I worked for a church that was ready to make the big change of letting go of the Oregon. And they were so worried what is going to happen? Well, some people are going to probably leave the church because churches have organs and he got to have an Oregon. And so, but we decided we're going to make the brave move to launch out and get rid of the Oregon. And we put it like up in an ad for free and someone called and said, Hey, we want it. And the pastor said, okay, great. Just come pick it up. It's there. And you can just take it. I won't be there, but just pick it up. So he came back the next day and the Oregon was still there and he called the people and said, Hey, where are you going to pick up the Oregon? And they said, we, we did. And he was like, no, no, the Oregon is still here. And they were like, oh my word, what church are you? And they had gone to a different church and just taken their Oregon. And so they called that pastor and they said, I'm so sorry. We took your organ. And he goes, you know what? We've been thinking of making the change for a while. He could just keep it.

10:45 And all the churches I presume that gave up their organs are still standing. Even though it was a big idea or a small idea that someone built a thing around. So all of these denominations, most of them are built under bigger, around bigger principles and whether or not they have an Oregon, but we all pretty whole, we hold pretty tightly to our ideology. And sometimes we even call our ideology theology. And when we're wrong, we're really wrong. When we're wrong, we're looking through a key hole and it's trouble. And so what event that I want to point out on this chart is the charismatic renewal that launched in the sixties, early sixties. It started a couple of places and it was built around the revelation that the holy spirit wasn't doing nothing for a long time. The holy spirit had, was kind of the invisible part of the Trinity.

11:36 In fact, for a long time, I think maybe you've heard people say the father, son and holy scriptures, that some denominations believed that the Bible was enough. We didn't need the gifts of the holy spirit. We didn't need things like prophecy or, or, wisdom and knowledge and Charles Parham, and then William Seymour after him experience this beautiful thing, this relationship with the alive awake holy spirit, and began to build their church around it. And so William Seymour launches out 2, 3, 12 Azusa street. You've probably heard of the Azusa street revival. And it sounds very glamorous and wonderful actually Azusa street. The building, there was 2,400 square feet. It had eight foot ceilings and no air conditioning. It had been a stable. So it was full of flies. And every day between three and 1500 people packed into that building to experience what was going on during that time, they had no stage, they had no pulpit, they had no sound system and they had no advertising.

12:42 In fact, William Seymour used to sit behind two big shoe boxes. And while he wasn't speaking, he would keep a shoe box over his head because he was so worried about becoming the main attraction. So all of this is happening and, and inside, if you read about Azusa street and all that's going on there, especially the relationship between Seymour and Parham, you'll see that there was a lot of split. And there was a lot of division in that, but in it, something was being built out of that human fleshy stuff, still something of the divine was happening. And from that movement launched the Jesus people movement. And from that movement launched much of what we experienced today in our, in our churches, in terms of worship, many of the way that we sing, the way we worship was formed during that time, the vineyard denomination and Calvary chapel, and four square are all a part of the charismatic renewal, a part of this belief that the holy spirit is in our life and an active and matters and can help lead and guide us.

13:44 And I'm so, so thankful that I'm thankful that we live in the ripples of that change. We live in this space where people made the way for us, and they were brave and they were willing to lay down their agendas to see God's kingdom, come in a little building, fly field in a hot place so that we could no life, greater life with Jesus. And I know it can feel dark to examine our past and to understand how we got here. But I think it's so, so important. We are made up of ideas. Ideas are everything. Ideas are these very general models about reality. These assumptions, we make about reality, their patterns of interpretation, their ways of looking at and deciding what we feel about things first, our mind is filled with images and then those images become ideas. And if an idea becomes embedded in our belief system long enough, it becomes an ideology.

14:46 It becomes a system around which we frame our lives and our faith and our love and our money and our time and our work and our relationships. Ideology is everywhere. And, and most of it is invisible to us. Most of it, we really can't see with the naked eye, but we know it when we stop to think, what do I believe about say freedom? What do I believe about education or happiness or the American dream or science or progress or death or religion or democracy or justice or church? How many people in this room, every one of you, if I say, tell me what your F, what what's true about church, we would get this many different words because it's coming through all of our ideology when our ID cause you know, who else's mind is filled with, filled with ideas. God, God has lots of ideas about things.

15:44 And when our ideas match his ideas, then that's the geology. When our ideas don't match his ideas and our agenda still bows to our own ideology, that's idolatry. And that destroys always it's like driving through a keyhole. It always leads to trouble. I think, we are pride ourselves, I think in being a Christian nation and I love our country and love the church. And, but I read recently that in terms of percentage of Christians in a nation, America is not even in the top 10. In fact, we are not even in the, we're just in the middle, 195 countries. We're about number a hundred. And so what does, what we believe about that ripples into what we believe about God and his favor and his goodness. And what does he think about us? It's all of those things, but here's a bigger number in the last decade.

16:47 People who say that they identify as Christians in America has dropped to 12 percentage points, 12 percentage points. That is incredible. We are in an ideological free fall in America. Our views about Christianity and church, I think also somewhat about God, but I think mostly this is, this is about church. And so people, we, I think what do we do when we feel that everything's shaking people aren't believing anymore. People are abandoning. The faith. People are deconstructing. I think for my money, we say, okay, people probably are not deconstructing God. Even if they try, they can't agree. Candace deconstruct him. He's okay. Is he safe? I think people are deconstructing fallen ideologies that have long been held by the church. And so when that happens, I think it's worth saying, bring it. Let's let's look at what we truly believe in. Make sure we're representing Jesus.

17:53 Well, Ecclesiastes. He says it's better to go to funerals than feast because funerals help us understand that one day people are going to be looking back on our lives. This series might feel to you like an autopsy of the church, but it isn't. The church of Jesus is alive and well, this series is an autopsy of some of the ideology of the church. And we have to be strong enough to let go. Of some of the things we thought were true in order to let Jesus speak real truth. We have to let go of ideas that do not align with the ideas of God. So what do we do when we feel like our ideas are being shaken? Because that's happened in the last couple of years, our ideas have been shaken about, do you have to meet on a Sunday to be at church?

18:40 Do you have to, you know, what, what does that look like? Is it still church? If, if I just give money online, is it still true? You know, we, our ideas have been shaken. And so what do we do when that happens again? I think we maybe welcome it. I think it's a painful gift. Hebrew says everything that can be shaken will be shaken. In fact, let's look at, it says at that time, his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised once more, I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens the words, once more indicate the removing of what can be shaken. That is what created things. The removing of created things. Where are these things created in the mind of man? So all the ideologies that have gotten collected up in our head that we have called theology, Jesus is gonna shake.

19:30 That is created thing so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we have, if that gives you any amount of peace today, take it. This kingdom cannot be shaken. We don't have to guard it. It can't be shaken. So it cannot be shaken. Let us be thankful. And so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire. And he burns up what doesn't reflect his goodness. So everything that can be shaken will be shaken so that what can't be shaken will remain. the tendency will always be to want to fix the church or fix the world or fix the systems. But our primary role as believers I think is to make sure we're in relationship with the real Jesus. We really can only fix our own misconceptions and our own mindsets.

20:28 And that's our first position. So what do we do to make sure we don't drift first thing, be vigilantly focused on the way of Jesus. I say, I just think every day, read something. Even if you just say for the next month, I'm going to read something from the gospel. I'm going to look at the life of Jesus. And I'm going to say, what does that tell me about his way, about the way he loves the poor or the hungry or the hurting or his enemies or the Pharisees or, or the, his friends? Well, I'm going to say, what does this tell me about the life of Jesus? And then I'm going to hold that truth up and say, what does my view of you match? What's true of you? Do I believe this about you? And am I living this out? Do I love my enemies the same way this week?

21:16 I was praying for Ukraine and praying and praying and feeling like that's one thing we can do as the church. Those are our brothers and sisters. And, and, and we felt like our church was shaken from us over the two years. We don't have a clue what it feels like to wake up and literal rebel. And I was praying for them and I felt the holy spirit say, what about Russia? What are you praying for? What you, for who you perceive to be the enemy. So I want my view of him to match. What's true of him. And God has an opinion about that. God knows that we get distracted by other things that we, we get stuck thinking that we know him when we don't. one more you guys, I'm still learning to use the clicker. Look at this out of John, all this I have told you so that you will not fall away, fall away from what fall away from your true picture of who Jesus is.

22:15 All of this I've told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue. In fact, the time is coming. When anyone who kills, you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the father or me. They have drifted, and they're going to think they're right. They're gonna think they're doing the right thing. They're going to think they're all there. They're working in the name of God, but there, you're going to know that someone has missed the truth of who God is. And then another thing we do other than staying focused on Jesus is just be aware of group. Think we start to think like each other, instead of Jesus, it's so easy and so tempting and sometimes even fun because it's like joining churches, like joining a little co club where everyone believes like you and things like you.

23:09 And you can just, you listen to somebody, stand on the stage and be on a big screen and tell you what to believe. But it's your responsibility to know the real Jesus. We can't just adopt everybody else's ideas and everyone else's opinions. I have to go to him and say, who are you? And how do I become like you, you know, one of the biggest places, I think you learn discipleship. I think bigger than somebody like me standing up here and talking, I think we learned discipleship in worship because the things that we set to music are encoded in our belief system, because how do you spell bologna BOL? Logix right. It's when you said something to music, it sticks in you. It becomes a part of you. So when I was, I grew up in the seventies and Keith Green was that very cool Christian musician, one of the first, such a trailblazer.

24:05 And he had a song, that had a line in it that said to obey is better than sacrifice. I don't need your money. I want your life. And if you can't, oh, I want more than Sundays and Wednesday nights. And if you can't come to me every day, don't bother coming out. All me, it's a little harsh. It's a little, like, I don't think my mom would say that to me. If you can't come to me every day, I don't even want to see your face at all. and so that was a little thing. And even as I thought he was cool, I was like, I hope that's not God. But then, in the nineties I went to a renewal conference and I had a brand new baby baby tests, and I was holding her at this conference. And, I, I, just was so in love with her.

24:52 She was like two weeks old. And they started singing a song I hadn't heard before. And it was, you're all I want your all I've ever needed. You're all I want. Help me know you were here. And I was watching everyone singing it and tears, streaming and passionate. And I stood there thinking, but I also want this baby. I really love her. And you're supposed to be all I want. And I looked around and I thought, maybe I don't fit inside of this, but they're all saying it. They're all saying he needs to be all that I want at all I've ever needed. And later on in life, I, I ran into, again, the best worship, brighter, David. And he said, as the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you. And I thought, that's what I like. I like that idea.

25:43 I must have water. I'll die without water. It is essential. I crave water, but in no time in my life, have I ever said water is all I want water is all I need it. Isn't essential. I will die without it. But God himself has created me for many things. In fact, I mean, isn't it kind of the original lie in the garden that Satan comes to Eve and says, hasn't God said you can't have any of these things. I mean, this is how easy it is to drift in your idea. And so why does it matter? It matters because if someone stands and sings something, that God is a really asking of us, oh, they can then do, is say I don't belong here, or I need to pretend to fit in. And so deconstructing it, ideology starts with being willing to not just think like the group.

26:38 And also I'm so blessed to have a worship team that checks out the theology of our songs. I'm really thankful for it. So avoid group think, and then finally be a display or more than a defender, be a displayer of the love of God, rather than a defender of smaller things. We have good ideas and bad ideas, right? Ideas and wrong ideas. But there are also big ideas and small ideas. And over the last couple of years, I have watched the church dismember each other over small ideas and I it's okay to disagree, but we need to disagree with the big idea in mind that I still love you. And I still know your father loves you. And we are still siblings in this whole thing. And we're going to be spending a whole lot of time together in eternity.

27:27 I read a thing on Twitter where this, these two Christians were fighting over the expansiveness of the love of God. And one person finally kind of shut the argument down with the tweet. I just can tell that you're one of those people who just wants everyone to get into heaven. Shoot, we're a mess. You guys. I mean, sign me up as being one of those people who just wants everyone to get in heaven. If we're anything at all. Aren't we, that if we're anything at all, aren't we, people who say I would lay down my life and my time and my agenda and my political ideology and my financial stuff. In order to see someone experience the overwhelming redemptive love of Jesus. Wouldn't that be who we should be? Wouldn't that be a big idea? I don't want to lose the big idea inside all of the small ones, because we see it happen all the time in the Bible.

28:34 Jesus heals a guy who was, who was blind his whole life. And he does it on a Sabbath day. And he would have walked by that guy every day, that guy sat at the temple every day, Jesus had every opportunity to do it on a Tuesday and he didn't. He does it on the Sabbath and the Pharisees don't come after Jesus. They come after the healed guy and what do they do? They kick him out because he was hailed on the wrong day. And it is hilarious to us now, but we do it all the time, pick up small ideas and use them as rocks to throw at people. When in fact, I just want to be known, and this is all personal. This does not reflect the views of west side church necessarily, but I get to wrap up this series. So ongoing my personal belief system is that if there's only one thing I do, if, if we, if we take this whole Christianity thing down to the studs, if we say we've got a rebuild and a husband, and I redid our kitchen in LA during the pandemic, it was stupid.

29:36 But, and in fact, I was thinking it was the longest six months of my life. And when I looked back, it only took eight weeks. but I was a baby about it. And I was really excited because we have 10 kids and 24 people in our family and we love to entertain and we love to have them over. That's where relationship happens. That's the place where everyone belongs and we needed a bigger kitchen to do it in. And so we were so excited for demo day. And then they came in and did a demo. And then we didn't see them for a long time. I was like, oh, we don't have a kitchen sink. This kind of take it down to the steads. This thing of shaking, everything that can be shaken. So that only what can, can remain is no joke in the process.

30:21 We lose things that are dear to us so that something better can come so that we can become the kind of people who say the main thing in my life. The one thing, the primary thing, at least for me is that I don't build walls with my ideology that keep people out. But I build a theology that always, always welcomes people into the grace of Jesus Christ, always in this era, in which we live during the age of ideology, you are going to have a front row seat to churches that are willing to stand on the ground of their ideology. You're going to have a front row seat to people around your dinner table, who are willing to, to, to give up the big idea with you in order to stand on the small idea. I am begging you. Let's be people who stand and stand again in the love of God, love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

31:31 Love your neighbor as yourself. That is church, and we can do this. We can do this in our city. We can do this in our world. I know it. So Jesus together, we bring our hurts from the church and our hopes for the church. And we ask God that you would use our suffering to build something more beautiful than we could have had without it. We ask that you would be teach. You would teach us to be people whose view of you matches. What's true of you. We ask for your help to live inside a really stormy season and God together. As the church, we pray for the people of Ukraine. We send prayers and hope and health in the power of the holy spirit to protect and save and deliver and comfort and God together. As a church, we pray for the people of Russia. We ask that you would let your love bring change that nothing else, God, we ask that you would love us all back to life. It feels now being human in your world. Like everything is chaos, but God we know that you are the God who shows up in the storm. And so let us keep our eyes fixed on you always. And only we love and worship you in your name. We pray. Amen.