But sometimes heresy begins not in a place of head-scratching, frustrating paradox. It simply begins with boredom. It begins when the thrill of orthodoxy is simply not very thrilling to us anymore, when our familiarity with faith breeds contempt, discontentment, and a dangerous restlessness. And so we take it upon ourselves to dress up Christianity, modernize it, reframe and repackage it for a new age.
God opened the door for me to pastor a small country church in the town of Sulphur Springs (population 194). I served four years there before being called to another church Waverly, New York (population 4,444). Though still a small town, this community had a different vibe to it. The neighboring town even had a Walmart.
I’m sure you know it. Amnon, one of David’s sons, violates his own sister and then casts her aside. When her brother Absalom learns what Amnon has done, he tells her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this thing to heart.” Absalom’s shushing and dismissing are certainly vile, but it is David’s reaction that stuns: “When King David heard all this, he was furious” (vv. 20–21).
When we suffer with Jesus, we are standing right smack-dab in the middle of historical Christianity. We are standing with the apostles, who gladly suffered for Jesus’ sake. We’re standing with the Reformers who risked their lives to return gospel-centrality to the Church. We’re standing with those who fought for social justice in an unjust America. We’re standing with the missionaries across the world who today aren’t sure about tomorrow.