Last year at about this time, I was devouring the book of Luke. As I got to the last 1/3 of the book, I started to ponder deeply about how Jesus' principles would correspond today. I was somewhat shocked by some of the conclusions I was reaching - yet I could not shake them. Every time I thought "This can't be what it means today" the words reinforced what I was trying to deny. It is my current belief that Jesus would be directing some of his harshest words and even some condemnation toward the institutional church. Pharisaism lives!
Jesus warned that he came to bring "fire" and "division" with his purpose (12:49-53). He also stated (to those who considered themselves as spiritually upright) that many will attempt to enter the "narrow door...and will not be able to." He told them that "people will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last." (13:29 & 30). He proclaimed earlier (chapter 11 in reference to the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba) that those deemed as outside the fold would be in on the final judgment of all humanity.
I've said many times and it applies: "You can't read the words of Jesus as if you were reading Shakespeare!" It's not mere poetry and prose. They must (as Simeon prophesied to Mary and Joseph) reveal our hearts and pierce our souls.
Jesus Christ is not only the Savior, the Messiah, the Prophet, the Priest, and the King. He is also the Revolutionary. Yet few Christians know Him as such."Intention" is the banner over this whole book. I trust the authors' sincere concern and passion that the Body of Christ will function as God intended. The present form does very little to model revolutionary intention.
...In Jesus, we have a man who refused to bow to the pressures of religious conformity. A man who preached a revolution. A man who would not tolerate hypocrisy. A man who was not afraid to provoke those who suppressed the liberating gospel He brought to set men free.
...For most Christians, this is a side of Jesus Christ they have never known before. Yet we believe it explains why exposing what is wrong with the contemporary church so that Christ's body can fulfill God's ultimate intention is so critical. It is simply an expression of our Lord's revolutionary nature. The dominating aim of that nature is to put you and me at the center of the beating heart for God.
We believe this is God's vision for every church. In fact, we have written this book for one reason: to make room for the absolute centrality, supremacy, and headship of Christ in His church. Fortunately, more and more Revolutionaries today are catching that vision. They recognize that what is needed is a revolution within the Christian faith - a complete upheaval of those Christian practices that are contrary to biblical principle. We must begin all over again, on the right foundation. Anything less will prove defective.