Safe Theology

You may have heard people say that the center of God’s will is the safest place to be, but is it? It’s safe in the sense that the Bible uses words like to “refuge” and “strong tower” to describe what God is like, but to be in God’s will does not eliminate danger. If this were the case the church would not know the meaning of the word martyr. The Book of Hebrews also records the stories of numerous men and women, who we could classify as heroes of the faith. Each of them did God’s will, yet for each of them, danger was a very real part of serving God. Today, however, Christianity in the west seems to have developed a rather misleading theology on what it means to be in God’s will — it’s the safest place to be. One might wonder why or how?

Part of the answer may lie in that we live in a culture obsessed by safety. We work hard to create safe schools for our kids, we develop safe neighborhoods for families, reward responsible motorists with safe driver discounts, and when a loved one hopes on a plan we remind them, “Have a safe flight.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with being safe, but perhaps we’ve imported our cultural understanding of safety into the church and created a theology of safety – a theology that preserves, conserves and maintains, instead of one that creates new expressions of church, one that transforms dead traditions into vibrant spiritual disciplines, and one that views risk-taking as a very natural part of living by faith.

Perhaps safe things attract people because they eliminate the risk factor. We like the idea of a money-back guarantee if we’re not fully satisfied with the product. Sadly, much of Christianity has made “giving your life to Christ” more about escaping the fires of hell than it has about becoming a dangerous component for advancing the Kingdom of God. The call to follow Jesus is not a guarantee for safety, it’s an invitation to pick up our cross and become deadly.

The truth of the matter is that the center of God’s will is not a safe place, but the most dangerous place in the world. However, it’s where our faith comes fully alive and where we begin to live with total abandon for the cause of Christ. A safe theology keeps Christians on a ventilator and will ultimately rob them of the fullness of God’s plan for their lives. Only dead men and women can follow the God of the cross and that’s why the choice to live in the center of God’s will is the choice to become dangerous.

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