The title is not mine but comes from a series of articles I recently discovered. While reading through the “Letters to Stagnant Christians,” I found them both convicting and insightful. The author, David De Bruyn, is a Reformed Baptist pastor in South Africa. Though the context in which he ministers might seem a world away, his “letters” prove that the same spiritual struggles stymie Christian growth and maturity across ethnic, national, and cultural boundaries. I will be posting a new “letter” a few times each until we catch up in the series.
Here is a sample of the fifth, followed by a link to the original article:
I sometimes feel like the doctor with the lab report that doesn’t have good news. I know people are not always going to like the diagnosis when they ask, as you have, to explain the stilted and limited growth in their lives.
I don’t know how to say this without provoking your ire. Your problem is worldliness. By even the broadest, loosest, most tolerant definition of worldly, you are that. The values, loves, and ambitions of this world are yours, and you smile, admire, and cheer for what the world does.
Now all Christians must battle with worldliness, for as John tells us, it is primarily a matter of desires, and so it begins in the heart, not in some external environment (1 John 2:16). But your worldliness is of a particularly spiritually debilitating kind. Yours is what I call amphibian worldliness.
An amphibian creature can successfully live in two environments: water and land. Most Christians become very uncomfortable when worldliness begins to suffocate their spirituality, and they come to church convicted and ashamed. They sense their need to forsake lukewarmness, and to be either hot or cold.