A Sermon Given by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
The next series featured on No Longer I will be a sermon given by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt titled “The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church.” This sermon is one of the best sermons that I have ever heard and I believe it touches on something that has plagued many, especially in cultures that may have a dominant Christian influence or where a majority of the culture are self-professing Christians. You probably know someone who has been broken by the church in some way or another. Please be sure that they see this. You may have been broken by the church. I pray that this will be a salve on your wounds and that you will leave here in the arms of Christ. One of the greatest gifts from God is fellowship with others who are a part of the Forever Family of the Church. Posting this was not to push you away from going to a Church, but to raise the flag that your suffering is known, that you are not alone and that you are loved by God. I encourage you to seek other bruised reeds and smoldering wicks out there and who knows? Maybe a congregation close by or amongst yourselves will provide the sanctuary that you need. Will it be perfect? No. But I pray that it will be a place where the cross of Jesus Christ is preached. At the end of the series I will provide a link to a video and audio of the sermon as well. I was able to access the transcript of Dr. Rosenbladt’s sermon from White Horse, Inc, which gave permission to share and I will provide links to the original source on their site in each post of this series.
The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church
by Dr. Rod Rosenbladt
This evening I want to address a particular problem: What a Christian might be able to say in conversation with people who see themselves as “alumni” of the Christian faith.
And, of course, I am not referring to those who have been translated by death from what Christians call the “church militant” into the “church triumphant!” I mean people we meet or know who say that they once believed that Christ and His shed blood, freely justified them before God, freely forgave their sin, freely gave them eternal life — but who add that they no longer believe these things.
It seems to me that in the four Gospels [roughly, the biographies of Jesus authored by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John], virtually every person who rejected Jesus’ claims to be God and Messiah, the Savior of the world, went away either sad or mad.
First, I’m going to try to deal with today’s “sad ones,” the longing, the “having-given-up-on-Christianity” ones. Second, I want to talk a little about the Gospel of Christ for today’s “mad” ones, the angry ones.
I can’t tell you how much it bugs me that there exists such a group as the one called “Fundamentalists Anonymous!” But there is such a “self-help group.” If there is any kind of “Christian recovery group,” I want it to be “Liberal Protestants Anonymous” or “Recovering Neo-Orthodox Protestants” or “Liberation Theology Advocates Anonymous” or “Open Theism Recovery Group.” (You get the idea.) For all of its faults, American fundamentalism at least is Christianity of a sort. Still, to be perfectly honest, I really can understand why such a group as “Fundamentalists Anonymous” exists. Maybe you can, too. Many of these people about whom or to whom I am going to speak tonight are casualties of Bible-believing churches. Some 2 seem to be able to remain in this form of Christianity for years and years. But certainly not all. For some reasons (reasons which, I think, are very specifiable), more people than we would like to think leave fundamentalist Christianity. I think the same dynamic is often the case with people who belong to what are called “the holiness bodies” (Wesleyan Christianity). Some are sad about it. Some are angry about it.
You might say, “Well, my church is certainly not ‘fundamentalist.’” I think mine is part of what Newsweek and Time call “mainline churches.” If that is the case, probably not much that I have to say tonight will be very helpful to you. I am not going to be talking much about “mainline Protestant” churches — liberal Lutheran, liberal Presbyterian, Episcopal — for the simple reason that for most of them there isn’t enough theology left to make people really “sad” or “mad,” make them convinced that they have to leave or their hearts will break. Or makes them leave because if they don’t, they fear they will “uncork” on some Shepherd or sheep and get arrested for it. The reason for this is, I think, a relatively simple one: there just isn’t enough substantial theology in most “mainline” Protestant churches to upset anybody. There isn’t much of anything left in mainline Protestant sermons or curricula – except maybe lessons in ethics, and perhaps new opportunities for social service. As one wag put it, “The trouble with theology today is that there isn’t any!”
Many of us have met and talked with the sad alumni of Christianity. And many of us have also met and talked with some of the mad alumni of Christianity. The venue may vary, but most of us know or have met men and women who tell us that Christianity was a part of their life in years past, but that they no longer consciously identify with Jesus Christ in His claim to be God and Savior. They perhaps earlier identified themselves with some form of Christianity, but no longer. Every pastor runs into these people. So do lay people. It seems to “go with the territory” these days. You and I know them, meet them. You might be one of them. I have run into it in decades of working on the college campus — first with the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, later as a professor. In these roles, it has been (for whatever reasons) easier for students to tell me the truth. I think they have said things to me that they were afraid to tell their 3 pastors or priests. It is perhaps easier to tell a professor that you once believed that Jesus was your sin-bearing Savior, but that you no longer believe that. Or that you wish you could still believe in Jesus, but you just can’t. If you are a Christian pastor or layman, you have probably more than once heard the same thing from friends or acquaintances. In our day, there are so many of these people that it is hard not to come into contact with them. There are thousands of them.
The Home of the Lecture and Permissions Can be Found at 1517 The Legacy Project
The Citation link to White Horse Inn, Inc. blog mentioned above where I first obtained the transcript and other media for Dr. Rosenbladt’s sermon “The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church” – Dad Rod Thursdays – The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church