Zombies in the Church by Dr. Scott Hadden

Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

This post is a little out there, over the edge, one pint short of a gallon, two points short of a 3 point sermon, one brain short of a committee, whatever. Here’s the backstory. A few years ago I was traveling through a city with a fantastic college football team (hint: the first name of mascot is Harry). I had met with a pastor and as I was leaving he gave me a new book that had just been released by John Eldredge. I glanced at the cover. It read “Walking the Dead.” I thought to myself “interesting title – I look forward to reading it.” I was driving back to my home country (Iowa) and thinking about what Mr. Eldredge could possibly be saying about WALKING the dead. Later I pulled out the book and reread the title “WAKING the Dead.” The damage had already been done. My mind had explored what he meant by WALKING. The next Sunday in church I jotted out an outline on “Walking the Dead.” (Please don’t share this with my pastor.)

What is a Zombie? I really don’t understand the whole Zombie fascination. People that are “dead” but can walk and seek out those who are alive. So here’s the definition according to Webster’s Dictionary: “a corpse supposedly brought to a state of trancelike animationation and made to obey the commands of the person exercising the power,” or “an iced drink made with fruit juices, various kinds of rum, and, often apricot brandy.” Unfortunately I will primarily be using the first definition.

In the midst of “deep” meditation I discovered some Zombie truths:

Zombies are dead and don’t know it.
Zombies look like and act like they are alive.
Zombies seek after life, to take life.
Zombies are unnatural and passionless in regards to living life but very passionate about taking life.
Zombies are relentless.

Now for an unsettling observation: These Zombie descriptors characterize some church people and some church programs. What do I mean?

Some leaders have discovered that “live” people are more difficult to lead than “dead” people (zombies). Some churches seem to have a vested interest in suppressing excitement or passion. They don’t want the people to become dissatisfied with the program or to do wild and crazy things (like Jesus did).

Some leaders can emphasize authority structure (over Holy Spirit-leadership) in order to control.
They want people alive to their programs and not to His program. Of course, it is thought that the two are the same.
They can perpetuate the belief that life comes through service (which can be a counterfeit source of life).
At the first sign of life, jobs are heaped on the new believer. Eventually this burns out the new believer.
Programs can be used to keep people so busy that they won’t realize they are the walking dead.
In summary some ministries become activity centers to try to breathe life into the body of Christ.
How do you de-zombie-ise someone (besides decapitation)? (I made that term up. Don’t tell my pastor.)

The question is really what are we dead to? We are dead to the world, the flesh, and the enemy. We are alive to God through Christ Jesus.
New life animates the believer.
Christ is the head of the church which is His body. He determines what His body does.
His Holy Spirit lives in His children.
We are not white washed tombs (outside only), but are cleansed through and through (inside and out).
The world believes that True Believers are zombies “brought to a state of trancelike animationation and made to obey the commands of the person exercising the power.” The world believes that we don’t use our minds to think through decisions. The world believes that we are stunted in our growth and our expedition for the truth.

Some well meaning believers would agree with the definition of a good church member as a person “brought to a state of trancelike animation (emotionless faithful attendance) and made to obey the commands (blind obedience to a perception God’s word) of the person exercising the power (God).” In other words a mindless following of a distant, yet loving God.

The reality: His children have a passion for life, for Him, and His children. They desire for all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. They are animated by His life and His love. They seek after the dead and dying to share with them the life and grace that comes through the power of His strength. They are lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. What a privilege to be His child!

Have you been de-zombie-ized?