stevengworld

Are Our Efforts in Vain?

September 1, 2017
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I used to attend and serve in a church that is predominantly White. I now attend and serve in a church that is predominantly White with a twist. This new church is led by a Black pastor. One whom I have known for over 15 years. Both churches are considered evangelical, orthodox, reformed and Gospel centered. The main difference between the two is the church’s converging approach of justification and justice.

My old church definitely preached, proclaimed, and protected the doctrine of justification at every turn. There were even special sermon series dedicated to doing so. When it came to justice this church left much to be desired. My current church doubles down on justice since its inception. It also preaches, proclaims, and protects justification.

Is there an overall difference? Are our efforts in vain?

In the fight for making the gospel known with all of its implications brought front and center, the difference can be described as the body of an iceberg that’s not on top of the water. It’s most times never seen while also being pointed at by visitors or those who’ve remained on the sidelines watching the fight through pay-per-view lenses. And oddly enough this local body is predominantly White when counting members instead of attendees.

But the efforts given are valiant, not in vain. It’s not easy balancing the stigma of the gospel alongside the uncharitable label of liberalism often attached to social issues. And it could be several years until a local church situated in a diverse city is no longer predominantly White. But the fight must go on…especially when the Lord has called you to it. Engage. Encourage. Educate. Evangelize. Exalt Jesus and the plan of God.

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Well Everybody’s Doing It

March 27, 2013
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Passion Week. Holy Week. Easter Weekend. Palm Sunday. Good Friday. He is Risen Day. Everybody’s doing it….well not everybody. What picture are we painting for our culture?

The lost, pagan, unchurched, and down right wicked people of the world all know what’s coming down the pike. Churches make the Lord’s Day message about the risen Jesus Christ. Yet their focus mainly seems to be set on visitors. What picture are we painting for our culture?

Who are you going to invite to church this Sunday? I hear this being proclaimed quite often around this time every year. I call it transit evangelism. It’s where Christians give directions to their unsaved friends to the church or pick them up so that someone besides them can share the gospel and run the risk of being the bad guy. Well everybody’s doing it, right?

Jesus has risen and we ought to point people to the one that once hung on a bloody cross, was pierced, buried, and then raised. If they refuse to look, then you have done your duty in obeying the Great Commission. But that’s rarely the testimony we hear from members.

Wonder what the expected culture would say if we didn’t put so much focus on the passion week? Wonder how they’d react if the church wasn’t so interested in who showed up as they were in who rose up?

Ask yourself, what picture are you painting for our culture as you become a calendar Christian so wound up to what’s being celebrated at Lifeway and other retail stores?

I ask us this question because I for one don’t believe Christians think the death and resurrection of Jesus should be preached, proclaimed, and made a big deal of on one day out of the year! And yet that’s exactly what I see everybody doing. This has become a pattern of inertia in the Western Church and no one questions the motives behind it.

When are we going to wake up and consider our motives? How long will the Church go along with this? Folks, we are painting a picture for our culture and maybe it’s time we ask the culture what picture they see…

 


Too Christian For The Culture?

August 8, 2012
1 Comment

Shout, shout, let it all out, these are the things I can do without…so come on, I’m talking to you…” These words seem to be the underlying message purported by those pleading with believers to appeal to the culture of the world today. Or at least it is to me. So many attempt to ignore the ‘us vs them’ paradigm that is ever so present today, which happens to be 100% biblical, all for the sake of being culturally relevant. I even hear some throw out 1 Corinthians 9:22 as their one-size-fits-all verse.

Oh for shame.

Is there such a thing as being too christian for the culture? Please understand what this question is getting at. The culture is something that’s at odds with the Christ of human history. While the christians are those in reconciled relationships with the Christ of human history as their Lord, Messiah, Savior, and God. So is there such a thing? NO! It’s impossible. How do I know that? Because the very first people who God chose to be his people were given the task of standing out from the culture and being distinct.

Yeah, but hasn’t that changed? I mean God dealt with Israel differently we all know that, but now God wants to save everybody so obviously Christians are to obey the great commission by going to those worldly people in the culture. And not just going to them, but adapting to their ways, talking like them, living like them, dressing like them, and speaking like them solely to be relevant, to be missional, and to be effective. That’s the thinking of some believers. And it sounds like a winsome way, doesn’t it? So what’s the problem? That’s never been the way God has gone about providing means so as to save people.

Ever, ever? That’s right…never ever ever. That thought flies in the face of being “called out ones” that assemble together to serve the risen Lord. It also crucially contradicts another passage that Jesus speaks during his sermon on the mount.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Mt 5:14-16).

How are we to be salt and light set on a hill for all to see as our being separate and living in a manner that’s separate from the world while being immersed in the culture? God doesn’t need us to invent some new creative  method to advance God’s kingdom. Being missional is biblical if and only if we’re getting our cues from the text, and not from some current seeker-sensitive  approach that sometimes extends from a declining number of yearly baptisms. Being something different to the culture that will hate us is actually biblical, and Jesus already warned us of that. No need to intentionally set out to be ‘offensive’ to the lost, nor are we to be so willing to not tell someone about Jesus just so we can get in good with the lost. We don’t need them; they need Jesus! Let us not forget that.