Judas 3:3 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
So Judas is believed to have been one of Jesus’ brothers who was also a key leader in the early church. He’s writing this letter because “certain intruders” were leading the believers astray by encouraging immoral behavior among the faithful. It’s important to remember that Christianity was young and the boundaries of Christianity were still being set. So it was common for people to accept some of the teaching of Christianity – but not all of it. I’m guessing the persons Judas is describing partly embraced the teaching of the church, but kept hold of some of their prior practices as well. We might call it a “hybrid” religion as one that attempted to have one foot in pre-Jesus life and one in the new life with Jesus. Judas is clearly rejecting this approach.
We are over 2,000 years later but I still see people attempting this hybrid approach – embracing some of Christianity, but not all of it. For instance, we are told to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us (Mark 5:44), but we’re far more likely to attack our enemy and protect ourselves. More frequently I see Christians embracing the paradigms of secular culture by demonizing those with whom we disagree – whether from the right or the left. As Christians we have the opportunity to differentiate ourselves in an increasingly divided culture. I’m praying about this today, asking the Lord to show me places where I’m still trying to live a hybrid faith and set me on the right path. Lord let it be so. Amen.
One thought on “Living a hybrid faith…”
I think the ‘corporate’ Church is full of intruders. We are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves, so we are afraid that they are going to offend somebody that they give up the principles of Christianity. We forget that Jesus told the disciples (that is what we are supposed to be), to wipe the dust off of their feet when people don’t want to listen. Instead we let the ‘intruders’ in as leaders so that we can better understand their position. In the Old Testament God warned (and warned is putting it nicely) about letting the intruders in. We can see what happens over and over again.
We need to get back to principles. People need to have a personal relationship with Jesus. The Church needs to equip people to do that. We need to read the whole Bible instead of cherry picked lessons that can easily be taken out of context. True Christian Church leaders need to step up and say when something is immoral instead of letting their flock slide into the abyss because they are afraid they are going to offend somebody. When we can no longer define morality because we are trying to reason with the dark side, even though morality clearly defined in the bible by the words of God and the words of His son (the apostles spoke to culture – I have other comments about that), then the Church has lost its’ way. Even in the ELCA. We’ve even seen it recently with the Pope not even willing to condemn abortion. What is the point of having ‘leaders’ like this?