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Monday, October 7, 2013

Warn the Wicked

Yesterday I shared some thinking, frustration really, with what I perceive as a systemic failure of the Church to have a meaningful and lasting impact on the cultures with which it interacts.  I shared bewilderment with the notion that we are doing well as a Body when there are so many segments of our culture which the Church has essentially abandoned to the evil one.
If it is true that the Church is not engaging well with the cultures, what should we do?  Thoughts at DTTB.
As I was thinking and praying through this the Lord took me to Psalm 92:6 – 7 – by the way I have been using an old copy of the Book of Common prayer for the past several years as a source for devotional times in the Bible, it is uncanny how often the verses for the day deal with either the challenges I am facing or issues with which I am struggling.  It was that way this morning.

Psalm 92:6 – 7 forced me to think through the reality of the sovereignty of God over the impact of the Church on the cultures with which it interacts.  Further it reminded me that as an apprentice of Christ my responsibility is to warn the wicked that are marginalizing or persecuting the Church.  Twice, in Ezekiel 3:16 – 21 and Ezekiel 33:7 – 9, the prophet, and by extension we, are admonished to warn the wicked to turn from wickedness toward God.

Regardless of what we perceive as how effective we are as a Body, that assignment stands.

2 comments:

  1. While not at all disagreeing with Mike's post here (God DID say it), I might add an angle. 1 Peter 2:11,12 Peter lays down an incisive prescription for cultural impact: "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation."

    We might take this in tandem with with what the Lord Jesus gave His disciples of all ages in Matt.5:13-16. We are salt, we are light. We are to live that way in our world: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

    Of course this must all be followed by extensive discussion and study on what the Spirit is telling us in these (and countless other passages). One thing most of us would agree on it that our "words" must match our "works," and of course vice versa. The loss of that link is called hypocrisy and not warmly viewed in Scripture.

    Dr. Amy Sherman, in a powerfully thoughtful book, "Kingdom Calling" (IVP Books, 2011) explores in considerable detail the concept of what it means to be biblically "the righteous" (see, e.g. Proverbs 11:10) and how that should impact our culture. She begins her Introduction quoting from careful research by Michael Lindsay in "Faith in the Halls of Power:How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite" (Oxford U. Press, 2007). In interviewing 360 Evangelical believers successful and with substantive positions in several fields in America over three years. His goal was to determine how these successful leaders integrated their faith and work. His conclusion is in very inadequate summary (p.226 of his book) was that "Yes, the leaders I interviewed fall into the same pits as their secular peers. They are susceptible to materialism and overweening pride. Yet on the whole, they remain very different...and the reason is their faith."

    Perhaps this helps to identify one of likely many other reasons for our puny impact where we (including I) live and work. We need much more Biblical study dialogue....

    I recommend Dr. Sherman's for stimulation and study.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly - Your quote of Lindsay, "His conclusion is in very inadequate summary (p.226 of his book) was that 'Yes, the leaders I interviewed fall into the same pits as their secular peers. They are susceptible to materialism and overweening pride. Yet on the whole, they remain very different...and the reason is their faith.'" Captures the point well. The bottom line they were not much different.

      Salt that has lost its savor should be thrown out. People were tearing the roofs off of houses to get to Christ. He was different. The disciples were "turning the world upside down." We, on the other hand, walk on egg shells and work at not offending.

      When we look the same, act the same, struggle the same, and the only difference is that we go to a different building for two or three hours once a week, what is the attraction in that?

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