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Misquote: Confronting Hollow Phrases with God-filled Truth, Part 3

August 26, 2009

Untitled-1.001.jpgIs life only about the destination? The emergent hipsters in the house don’t jump, jump for this Kris Kross jam. For some life is all about the journey–the over-caffinated, post-everything, chocolate covered trail mix journey. Aside from this obscure disregard for direction and purpose, many in “evangelicaldom” would affirm that destination has value; perhaps we are even too focused on the destination. Lurking within the secluded confines of casual Christian conversation, a problematic phrase has gained traction–“the end justifies the means.”

Perhaps this idea has not specifically captured the eloquence of Shakespearian diction, but the idea remains a snare nevetheless. Many Christians believe that the only thing that really matters is heaven. One may begrudgingly wonder why Christians are treated like their heads are in the clouds…well often its because they are. This is not meant to be a combative critique, but (prayerfully) a wake-up call. Though the destination of heaven and unmitigated fellowship with Jesus await the faithful, we are not without interim responsibilities and purpose.

Have you ever wondered why when someone becomes a Christian they do not go immediately to heaven? If the purpose of Christianity is to glorify God and enjoy him forever (see the Westminster Shorter Catechism) and the best place to do this is heaven, then why not go straight there when we become believers? I submit that the wonder of God is that he chooses to use humans to communicate the gospel message and live the gospel mission while they are on earth–this is a part of the journey.

In this vain our evangelistic tendencies are not justified simply because all we care about is getting people into heaven. The end does not justify the means. So please put down your bull horns, extend libraries beyond LaHaye and Jenkins, and sit down with someone who does not know Jesus and love them. Or, in the words of Bill Hybles book, “just walk across the room.” If we truly believe that the end justifies the means we will continue to succumb to any harsh and spiritless tactic to exchange information with someone about heaven, yet we will never show them heaven on earth.

In behaving Christianly the end does not justify the means, rather the means points the way to the end.

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