It is easy, so easy, to mix up the true goal of Christian discipleship. If the goal is missed, apparent success is worthless. I speak of Cookie Cutter Christians. Perhaps every group in Christianity struggles here, and Independent Baptists are, perhaps, masters of the art.
Perhaps you have taken part in a cookie making event. As a father of six, I have had at least a few Christmas opportunities (though I could in no way walk in the kitchen at this moment and make a batch of cookies). The first thing you will notice is how much they all look alike as you use you little cookie cutter.
Strangely, that is how some view disciplining new Christians. The great doctrines that define Christianity are mentioned to some degree, but no more than how we ought to look, exactly how a worship service should look, and what we are allowed to do or not do. Some of those discipled are shocked to learn later, if they actually become Bible students, that the emphasis does not match what the pages of Scripture show. If they never do, they will more likely become what their trainers hope they will.
It is not if they have a theological grasp on salvation by grace, but that they commit to memory all standards and never slip on any of them. It is not if they have the big picture comprehended, but if they have the rules down. If you doubt this to be the case, just let the Christian in question miss the doctrinal point (real doctrine) or miss the standard. Watch what happens, and you will see for yourself.
The other thing about making cookies is that if I remove the cookie cutter and some part of the little snowman falls off, I grab it and roll it back into the batter. That cookie doesn’t make it.
So it is for some new Christians. They get a little time to conform, but then they better get with the program; or else. I have seen more than one broke little Christian thrown back into the batter.
Perhaps if we saw the goal as Christians being conformed into the image of Christ, we would not be so concerned if they were not conformed into the image of us!
21 thoughts on “Cookie Cutter Christians (IBTR #55)”
I think you met to say. “Get with the program.”
I did. Just fixed it. In editing the eye so often sees what is meant rather than what is there! Thanks!
“Meant” to say….So much for typing at such a late hour. 🙂
Standards, rules, regulations, opinions, theories, numerical nonsense, cliques, camps and club membership always trumps doctrine in most IFB churches.
Sadly, often true!
That is their doctrine…or so I have been told by some of them.
Spot on. My husband and I have had conversations about these issues. He says it is because it is easier for the leaders to control the “masses” than allow them to become mature believers. Because the maturing part is not easy, comfortable, or pretty. As parents, we know this to be true. How many times have we been embarrassed or inconvenienced because our children were immature? But with prayers, great effort on our part, prayers, some training, prayers, lots of love and grace, prayers, time (years to be exact) (if we or they:) live to see it), we can witness a mature adult who loves God(hopefully). While physically, they strongly resemble family because genes are a powerful force; spiritually and “their own way”, you will see some similarities but differences as well. So the same it is with those we are discipling. Yes, controlling is way easier, but the results seem to fall short.
So well said! Thanks!
The problem with cookie cutter Christians is that they think they are conforming to the image of Christ, while merely conforming to previous cookies. This post reminded me of your “fake it ’til you make it” post. (I don’t remember the whole post, just that expression which, at the time shocked me to hear that Christians actually “teach” that–oh, and was one of the first posts of yours I read.) When the Holy Spirit and God’s grace are lacking, you have to replace it with the FITYMI philosophy…
Not only do they look like previous cookies , but sadly, everyone is satisfied with it.
Have you ever cut a board using another board of the correct size as a guide? The second board will end up very slightly shorter. If you use the second as a guide then the third will be shorter yet. I think this ends up as a good analogy for this entry. Creating Christians off of christians just makes for shorter christians.
Yes, I have had that very thing happen cutting boards. Great analogy.
JHB- I like the analogy of a photocopy. If you photocopy something, it loses something, but when you keep taking photocopies of photocopies, things go downhill really fast. 🙂
Another great analogy!
I think part of the issue is the whole matrix of spiritual growth really just happening in response to Sunday preaching. IF a fundamental baptist church is lucky enough to get an actual new convert and not just a church hopper from another church or someone who just moved there from another area, they only care so much as to give them the quick run-down of what a Christian should look like, and then the rest of their growth via the church happens in response to the pastor’s preaching. There is no structure anywhere in the IFB world that actually disciples or trains anyone. Why? Because the E-Free churches were the first ones to really incorporate small group bible studies and one-one-one coffee shop bible studies, so they must be liberal ideas that lead into wickedness and worldliness. We need to keep to old-fashioned, pulpit-pounding preaching and the people just need to repent or get out. I know that is a very broad generalization, but the point is, real, enduring discipleship from the actual Bible AND about the things the Bible is actually talking about is a foreign idea in today’s IFB church. There is always a bible tag to our standard-push, but chances are our standard has nothing to do with what those passages are actually talking about. You can cover any opinion with “be not conformed to the world,” or “do all to the glory of God” and any standard can be backed by them. Anyway, I don’t want to ramble. This really is quite an open-door conversation into many problems.
Yes, it does open into many problems!
This is a good article, but I’m not sure it applies to Fundamental Baptists because they typically don’t disciple anyone. I digress. The Biblical reality is that you become who you allow to be your master.
“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (Luke 6:40).
The scary thought is that the foundation of nearly everything Baptists do is based on a mold from someone. Instead of being conformed into the image of Christ, many Christians are being fitted into an image of corruptible man. Because these Christians don’t take the time to study the Scriptures for themselves, they allow their pastor (master) to fix them into his image and not into Christ’s.
Sadder still is that these pastors have been living in the mold of someone else for so long that they don’t even know that what they are doing isn’t Biblical.
It is true that many perpetrating such things first had it done to them.
Another Great read my friend! Hope you are well…
Thanks! Yes, I am! How are you?
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That great work you have done .