Winning a revolution can be dangerous. A victorious revolution faces the prospect of becoming a lifeless institution. No better example of this exists than when Constantine began mandating national baptisms. Christianity changed from a movement to an institution, from a global revolution to a world religion. You could now become a Christian without ever having met Jesus Christ personally. This was a bad thing-like keeping the shell and tossing the egg.
The irony in this is that the force of Christianity first changed the Roman world and then relinquished its power in the name of accommodation. It’s easy to see the difference between Christianity as a religion and Christianity as a revolution when we look back to the days of Constantine and the Dark Ages that followed. It’s more difficult to see that difference in our contemporary environment because we are standing in the middle of it. Our great awakenings were born through men and women who could see that the church had lost her way. They led the church back to the third day: from death to resurrection. They called God’s people out of the apathetic to the passionate.
Real, sustainable change occurs when actions are in response to values. For too long we have focused on making sure people believe the right things and have left their concerns alone. I know it may sound like heresy, but it is more important to change what people care about than to change what they believe! You can believe without caring, but you can’t care without believing. We cannot afford to fill our churches with members who have biblical beliefs and worldly concerns. When we awaken the apostolic ethos, the heart of God begins to pulsate throughout the church of Jesus Christ. The Christian faith is to be a moving experience!