Calvary Pastors This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors

Have you noticed that everyone is an expert nowadays about something? It used to be that in order to become an expert you had to be fully engaged in your “area of expertise” but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Before the internet and the proliferation of mass media someone had to actually immerse themselves in a culture to become an expert on it. Now we have endearing titles for people who become experts without ever leaving the comfort of their own homes. If you watch C-Span all day, you are a “political junkie”. If you watch the Food Network all day we call you a “foodie”. If you watch the football all day Sunday, we call you an “armchair quarterback”.

Let me explore the mindset of the armchair quarterback for a minute. I have many friends who love football and many of them are not content with being a mere fan. No, they want to be a General Manager (GM) of their own franchise! And what better way to be a GM then to join a fantasy football league, where you can draft your own team and make trades with impunity. Yes, fantasy football is real and it is hugely popular. Fans are now experts on almost every facet of statistical analysis, so when they scream at the TV screen they are more educated than ever before. “His completion rate was only 47% against the pass rush today!”. By the way, screaming at a TV screen while people play sports is a right of passage for most men, we are passionate about these things.

The key to armchair quarterbacking though is to never get delusional about it. A fan has to realize he is merely a fan and leave it at that. Just because a man is a GM in his fantasy league, it doesn’t make him a real GM. It is called a fantasy league for a reason. 99.99% of the fans are not experts at moneyball, salary cap restrictions, or union negotiations. A football fan can’t run the 40 very fast, can’t take a hit from a 300 pound lineman, and he can’t read an offense without the aid of an instant replay. These are important factors to remember when you are yelling at the screen. If you don’t, there is a big disconnect in your life and you need help. Get some help man!

In the church, we also have our fair share of armchair quarterbacks.

The church in America has more access to information today than in any other. If the adage is true that a person doesn’t even have to leave his armchair to become an expert on something, then it is true for the Christian. We have access to more online Bible commentaries, podcasts, and video teaching than ever before. We can download the newest Christian book on Kindle without ever leaving our house. We can watch our favorite Bible teacher online and then hit their “like” button on Facebook (becoming a fan) all within an hour. If that is not enough we can follow them on Twitter. You can see why, for some in the church today, that the height of spiritual warfare is a slow internet connection.

Never has there been a time when being a Christian “expert” is more in our reach. Never have we held the Christian consumer in higher regard. Never has the Christian pallette been more sophisticated. The Apostle Paul alludes to this issue in 1st Corinthians 8:1 when he says “knowledge (for the sake of knowledge) puffs up but love builds up”. The motive behind why we know what we know makes all the difference in the world.

When consumerism becomes the mindset of the church it can begin to resemble an episode of Siskel and Ebert…You know the old program where two film critics sat in a balcony of a cinema and argued over whether a movie should get a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Whenever I watched that show, I always wanted to state the obvious “If you guys are such experts on filmmaking, why don’t you direct your own movies?” Siskel and Ebert were classic armchair quarterbacks. We do the same when we walk away from church judging the quality of what we have received rather than taking hold of it and allowing it to transform us.

Here is the problem with being a Christian armchair quarterback…Unless all of our knowledge has an outlet in personal service (and genuine fruitfulness) for the Lord, it will always morph into something that resembles two men arguing in the balcony. It will lead you to critique ministry rather than receive it. James the Apostle addressed this issue in James 1:22 when He said “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”. Real faith and character requires Spirit filled action. James knew that unless each person continually acts upon what they know to be true…the church would become overpopulated with opinionated people who merely judge the quality of ministry while taking no personal responsibility for it. When that happens in the church it can begin to look like a fantasy football league more than anything else and that is why James calls it a deception.

There is only one remedy for the armchair quarterback. Repent. Get out of your armchair. Renounce your expert status. Go serve somebody with the love of Jesus Christ. I will unpack this idea further in my next post entitled “The Original Amateur Hour”, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I am rooting for my undefeated Oregon Ducks to become National Champions in football!! Go Ducks!

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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