Pardon the Cliche

I hate church signs.

Admit it, so do you.

We all do.  Well, all of us except the guy at the church in charge of coming up with something to put on the church sign.

The reason why we all hate church signs is that the clever sayings on them are almost always cheesy, rarely reflect authentic Christianity and likely never produce life change.

When’s the last time you heard someone say the following?

“I had been up for six straight days on a meth binge and I was on my way to kidnap the mayor’s daughter when I noticed a church sign that said, ‘CH CH.  What’s missing?  UR.’ and it stopped me in my tracks.  I’ve been doing missions work ever since.”

This is where Christian Piatt comes in.  Piatt is an author and pastor and he hates Christian cliche’s too.  So much so that he recently wrote an article entitled Ten Cliche’s Christians Should Never Use.  But there’s a problem with Piatt’s list.  It iisn’t so much the cliche’s he includes but the reason why he includes them.

Number two on Piatt’s list is the famous evangelical question, “If you died today do you know where you’d spend eternity?”  Piatt tells us to, “stop asking such a presumptuous question as this that implies you have some insider knowledge that the rest of us don’t.”

This may be a worn out saying that has often been used at the wrong time but it’s shocking to hear a so-called Christian pastor imply that one cannot be sure about eternal life.  Is Paul being presumptuous to the Philippians when he writes, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:21-23 ESV)?  Paul sounds pretty sure to me but maybe he was just, “peddling propaganda.”

At number seven, Piatt includes, “Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?” He includes this because he tells us that it makes no appearances in the Bible.  True, but neither does the Trinity but still, in both cases, the concept is clearly present.  In the most disturbing portion of his post, Piatt shares why he thinks that the idea of a savior and lord goes against everything that Jesus was about.  “People tried to elevate Jesus to the status of Lord, but he rejected it. So why do we keep trying?”

Wait a minute.  Let me get this straight.  Jesus rejected the idea of being Savior and Lord?  I’m sure that Thomas would beg to differ.

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  (John 20:28-29 ESV)

There’s a lesson to be learned here.  For many of us that grew up in the church it’s easy to get disenfranchised, especially if we grew up being taught fundamentals that are nowhere to be found in Scripture.  But if we are not careful, we may find ourselves throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Pardon the cliche.