Thursday, May 17, 2012

I REALLY Didn't Want to Say Anything About This...

but it is astounding how quickly and easily the church can become distracted from its mission. Instead of reaching a dying world with a message of hope and love, the answer that every single person—suffering sinners that we all are—need to find true purpose and fulfillment in life, we get caught up in a debate over what is and what is not sin. We fall into the trap of appearing to be hateful and judgmental when we are called to be love.

If your worldview dictates that every single person in the history of the world save one is a sinner. If you also believe that, as sinners, we are incapable of recognizing our problem without the help of God. If you agree with the Bible that there is nothing a person can do on their own to overcome their sinful nature… How does it make sense to single out one particular sin, requiring people to change that behavior before they are allowed to hear the message of hope?

That may not be the approach people in the church would even consciously embrace, but it is in effect what we are shouting out at full volume into the cultural stream of communication. Instead of declaring the wonderful truth that God loves everyone so much that He has provided the ultimate sacrifice to save those who will trust Him, we are making a pet issue out of the most extreme examples of those Christ came to save.

You don’t see many suggesting secular laws to prevent something like gossip, even though that is something the Bible condemns. Too many “Christians” struggle with that sin to harp on it. Somewhere along the way, the American church quit trying to change the hearts of people in the culture and began to try to secularly impose their standards of behavior on the world through legislation.

You would be just as effective trying to pass a law imposing Christian faith upon the population. There are countries that legislate religion but trust me; you don’t really want to live there. Even the Bible teaches that faith is a matter of individual responsibility.

The Church was never called to force change upon the world through compulsion, it is called to bear witness to the only story that can change people from the inside out.

4 comments:

  1. I think I know what specific issue you are addressing and by in large I would agree with you, with exception, and this is assuming you are talking about the issue I think you are talking about since you didn't out right say it i am just assuming, but if certain law makers in the world quoted a belief in Jesus as one of the reasons they are striving to institute such a law that clearly opposes What the bible teaches then they church has a responsibility to voice the biblical contradiction! In many of the letters to the churches in the new testament we see Paul speak of the gospel, Gods love just as you speak of! But we also see him speak to those who claim to be Christians and address them very directly and correct them when the are beginning to stray from Gods truth. I agree with you that judging the world and singling out one sin over another isn't the right way to address things. However when adrressing other self proclaimed Christians we are called to keep eachother acountable and to strive to bear the name of Christ with truth as a church. I would turn your argument around and ask when addressing the church if we are going to ignore one sin or say that it is off limits to talk about it or address it then we in essence single out every other sin. So in the argument of love and equality should we then just stop addressing sin all togeather and just preach love and forgiveness? In efforts to not offend we should address sin or holiness all togeather? The seeker driven movement tried that and while they gained thousands quickly in membership they failed epically at discipleship! Willow Creeks "reveal" study opened their eyes so much that the abandoned this philosophy and have gone back to discipling and addressing fundamentals of the faith.

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    1. There are certain hot button issues today, but I don't really have just one in mind. The issues that believers are trying to force cultural change on through political rather than spiritual means is incredibly long: gambling, drinking, work and commerce hours of operation, gay marriage... official state sponsored religion even!

      Don't get me wrong, I agree that the Bible addresses the issue of sin frequently, and Paul did talk to individuals and churches about specific issues. I am not generally against this. (Although there are times when religious people go overboard with the judging. Jesus had more to say against the religious leaders of His day than just about anything else. And I have been judged about some of the silliest things, like taking a bite of a meal before it has been "blessed.") The fact is, however, that it generally was addressed internally in the Body or between individuals through discipleship.

      What I am really trying to address here is the way the Church behaves in public discourse. I think public perception of the Body of Christ is that we are a people of hate rather than people of the cross. We really need to change this, not just as an issue of public relations, but because we have erred and are missing our purpose.

      Sin is a huge problem, but the Bible says there is only one solution and it is not going to be fixed by a forceful takeover of the world's political system by the people of God. Attempting that approach is nothing more than a distraction for the Church, and a way of clouding the message we have been entrusted with delivering.

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  2. Interesting...read this on Gary Miller's blog:
    http://gmillerlight4u.blogspot.com/

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    1. Wow. That is really good stuff. Thanks, Becky!

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