There was a post on Internet Monk the other day on “The Evangelical Myth of Transformation”.
Articles like this have a tendency to annoy me for many reasons.
I guess I would be considered somewhat of an evangelical, so I am a bit defensive when I perceive an attack against something I hold to be true. I can understand why the people at IM are put off of the evangelical movement. The evangelicals were basically started when people were moving past the need for liturgy and wanting to experience God on a more personal level. Churches popped up everywhere supporting these Christians who were searching for more. As with any quick growth movement, leaders appeared who did not have a solid biblical background. Accusations have been made that the evangelicals are more interested in the pursuit of experiencing God over being grounded in religious tradition and biblical truths. I will agree with this in part. I have seen many evangelical churches were the people are more interested in trying to feel good about themselves than pursuing God. I have also seen many liturgy churches where the people are more interested in holding to religious tradition rather than pursuing God. I do not think either side is 100% correct in their views.
Transformation can be a buzz word that churches use to draw people in. People are unhappy and wanting a change. They want a new life. They want to be transformed into something else. I whole heartedly believe in the transformation process and that it is possible today, but it is not just a changing of thinking or actions. The transformation is the old person dying and the new person living. Reading Watchman Nee helped in my understanding of this process.
One problem we have as Christians, is our thinking that salvation is done on an individual level. We ask Jesus into our heart and He makes us a new creation. When we are saved, we are baptized into Jesus. All that God did was done in Jesus and the only way we are transformed and made new is by being in Jesus. The individual that we were died and we live in Jesus only. If we abide in Jesus, we are transformed. If we try to remain our individual self, we are not transformed. This is why the church is not seeing people’s lives transformed.
Can transformation be immediate or even a quick process? Sure. If the person can fully let go of the old person and operate wholly within Jesus, their life will resemble that of Jesus. The problem is we all struggle with the process of reckoning ourselves dead. We act out of old behaviors and instincts and the dead individual is seen rather than Jesus. We are not fully submitting to Jesus as Lord but rather struggle to keep the individual alive.
So I can see why people doubt the validity of transformation. If you do not see the process then it must not be real, right? It must be some hype to make people feel good rather than an actuality. That is the same argument atheist make about God and Christianity though.
One day they will understand the process and realized that they two have been transformed by Christ. I am just sad they have to struggle trying to live as the old person instead of working to reckon themselves unto the new creation in Christ.