Some declarations break me out in a cold sweat. It is not the "hearing" that causes chills to run up and down my spine. It is knowing that I must do the "doing."

"No assembly required" (so why is there more than one piece?). "Simple assembly required" (so why are the instructions five pages of gibberish?). "Anybody can do it" (never met him--could you introduce us?). "Anybody can understand it" (I still haven't met him). "Easy for everybody" (and I still haven't met that first guy!).

Seriously, we create major problems when we convince people that the complex is simple. When people expect the simple and encounter the complex, they are disillusioned. The consequences: they become skeptics and we lose credibility.

Would any of us affirm that it is simple to develop the love that endures? to find the "right person" to marry? to sustain a marriage for a life time? to avoid divorce? to rear children? to help adult children when they struggle? to find job security? to sell or buy property? to arrange financing? to go into business? to have a secure retirement? (You may extend this list by at least 100 additional items.)

The same problems are created when we convince people that the complex is simple spiritually. Would any of us affirm that it is simple to believe without doubt? to repent? to clearly distinguish between good and evil? to identify the specific sources of our personal temptations? to identify the specific causes of our personal temptations? to overcome temptation? to defeat addiction? to be spiritually positive? to avoid discouragement? to build a strong, vibrant faith? to maintain an active faith? to worship from the heart in spirit and truth? to pray?

Would any of us like to affirm that it is simple to understand the Bible? including the Song of Solomon? the Old Testament prophets? the sayings of Jesus? the "difficult sayings" of Paul? the book of Revelation?

The creator God is not simple. The Word who became flesh is not simple. The Spirit of God is not simple. When we over simplify Christianity and the church, we disillusion. Disillusionment gives birth to the skepticism that destroys faith. With those who seek faith, it also destroys our credibility.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 October 1997

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