I came across an interesting quote from Phil Vischer, creator of the popular series Veggietales.

In 2003 Vischer declared bankruptcy, sold the Veggietales franchise and pursued other ventures.

I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . . .

And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god. So I had to peel that apart. I realized I’m not supposed to be pursuing impact, I’m supposed to be pursuing God. And when I pursue God I will have exactly as much impact as He wants me to have.

My biggest concern for not only my children but even for me, is that I fall into believing that my behavior determines God’s love for me.

I remember being taught in Sunday School that God hates people who steal, lie and cheat. And when you’re 8 years old, that’s a pretty harsh reality. So trying to please God I did my best to not do anything that would cause Him to get angry and hate me, or at the very least strike me with a lightning bolt.

Fortunately, God’s truth shined through all of that crap and I learned that God loves me in spite of my sin. If He truly hated liars, thieves, and cheats He wouldn’t have sent His Son to the cross for all of us. One of my favorite verses that reminds me of this is Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (NASB)

Christ not only died for my past sin, but also my present and even future sin!

One of the most heartbreaking things that I have experienced while serving here in North Carolina, are the people who have been brought up and still believe that God hates them when they sin.  They believe they will go to hell because they worked on Sunday instead of going to church, that because they “slipped up” and said a word they shouldn’t have then they’re really not saved. I have had elderly people confide in me that they hope that when they die they will get to heaven because although they’ve messed up in their life they’ve tried to be the best person they could be. And these are people who have been in church they’re whole life!

I cannot imagine living my whole life in fear like that. And what really makes me burn hot with anger, is not that they believe that morality is the only way to Jesus but the fact that the church is the one who taught them that.

Consider Phil’s  quote:

We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore.

Help spread the Good News that Christ died for our sin and our salvation so we don’t have to work for it. Let the good behavior flow out of a life lived in Him!

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About Chuck Mullis

I am the husband of Valerie and the father of Russell & Hannah. I am a self-employed contractor living in rural North Carolina as well as an ordained Southern Baptist Minister serving Living Water Baptist Church.

5 responses »

  1. Beth Anderson says:

    Chuck, my heart senses the same burn you have expressed. That’s why I take our ministry to children through Church Renewal Journey with such passion–to teach them that God loves them so much that He sent His Son Jesus to take on and forgive their sins so they will be fit for heaven some day. The stuff you mentioned concerning “learning” from the church is the stuff we seek to dispel through CRJ. Man, god has been so patient with us!. Keep preaching the Word!

    • Chuck Mullis says:

      Thank you so much for what you do Mrs. Beth! I hope more churches will see the need to align they’re practices with Christ instead of tradition or personal opinion.

  2. cemullis says:

    Welcome Back
    CEM

  3. mentalsoup says:

    Quite timely, Chuck. I’ve just started reading David Platt’s “Radical” which is speaking much to the same ideas… what does it really mean to be a follower of Jesus the Christ? Do you still have my cowbag?

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