Written by David Smith
Are you a “porch without a house?”
Let me explain.
YouTube sensations Rhett McLaughlin, 43, and Link Neal, 42, host the Good Mythical Morning channel and Ear Biscuits podcast, having earned more than $30 million dollars. After being missionaries and Campus Crusade (now Cru) staff members, they have walked away from their faith.Best-selling Christian author and megachurch pastor Josh Harris, 46, renounced his faith, marriage, and ministry less than two years ago, finally “getting honest with myself about God.”
Last year, Jonathan Steingard, 37, frontman for the Christian band Hawk Nelson,posted on Instagram the reasons why he no longer believes in God. He went from a pastor’s kid raised in a religious home to a Christian music icon while his beliefs were unraveling at the core.
By their own accounts, their Christian faith was based upon:
- Apologetic arguments
- How they were raised
- Church culture and peer pressure
- Logic and reason about the meaning of life
- A personal sense of right and wrong
Notice what’s missing here. None of them mention anything about a personal encounter with Jesus.
What does that look like? Here’s how the prophet Isaiah experienced it (Isaiah 6:1-8):
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
We have our own unique experience of encountering God. However, beyond the smoke and angels, a personal encounter with God’s holy love invariably involves 1) a radical undoing with a deep awareness of sin and brokenness, and 2) an experience of profound personal Love.
The force of this encounter launches us into the world like a slingshot: “True repentance spends less time looking at the past and saying, “I’m sorry,” than to the future and saying, “Wow!” (Frederick Buechner)
It’s hard to imagine men and women anchored in a life-altering personal encounter with Jesus regularly renouncing their faith.
Apologetics, Christian upbringing, church peer pressure, logic and reason, and moral conviction are simply a porch—an approach to a relationship with Jesus.
Instead, we are invited to an intimate way of belonging described as a house: “Make your home in Me, and I will make My home in you.” (John 15:4)
Don’t settle for life on the front porch. It will not shelter us from the thunderous storms of life.
Walk with us in community, taste and see what can be in Christ! We’re committed to God’s possibilities in your life!