Monday, December 20, 2010

What We've Been Doing

"That's what we've been doing all these years."
                                    - Toni Thorson
The Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Connections magazine came to us recently as a gift from WordAlone.  Toni made the above comment while reading what Jaynan Clark wrote based on 2 Timothy 2:8-13 about the "re-evangelization of the church."

"Re-evangelization" is needed whenever we forget the basics of "law and gospel" which convicts us of sin and releases us through faith in Jesus Christ.  (Some have been led astray by a So-Called "Gospel" of Inclusion, where the message ends up being mainly about who the church includes or excludes.)  "Re-evangelization" means to bring people back to the truth of Jesus.  When Toni read the reference to this in Jaynan's article, she said that's what we've been doing for a long time. 

I think she's right.  At least in recent years we have indeed been standing against the dominant culture of our country and many in the church.  I can't say that I've always been effective in "doing" what the Jaynan writes of in her article, but part of what we've experienced has been a rejection of the "law and gospel" message we have been called to proclaim.

Here's part of Jaynan Clark's article from Connections:
...To stand in the midst of the present chaos, confusion, conflict and change and announce that God will not be mocked, that He sent His only Son Jesus to release us from our chains of sin and death--and in exchange we chained and killed Him for it--this is not a "popular" story.  It never has been.

We are living in a time that publicly despises such a proclamation.  We have denied our sinful state to the point of not even wanting to talk about "sin" anymore because it is such a "downer."  Our refusal to acknowledge its dominion over us has resulted in a context that inhales and exhales as hedonistic, narcissistic, defiant spoiled children.  Some of these "children" are in their sixties and seventies, and have never put the lessons of the 1960s into perspective.  The free love, self-gratification, "I'm OK--you're OK", so get out of my face, who are you to tell me how to live, slaves to the self and the pursuit of personal happiness folks are running the show.  They are in positions of leadership in government, business and denominational churches.  The "me" generation has not yet accepted that their "me-ness" is the ultimate First Commandment violation.  Putting oneself in the place of God has dire consequences for all.

This celebration of the self--belief in the divine spark of goodness within, rejection of absolute truth claims, belief in the Gospel without the law, refined freedom that applauds action without consequences, redefined love that is a tepid tolerance, and blind acceptance of everyone and everything--has led to this place and time when reevangelization is our primary calling.  It must begin in the very churches that pass out this other religion of "selfism"...

The greatest story ever told is the story of a God who is our Heavenly Father, who knows and loves His disobedient sinful children who just keep returning to the tree and listening to the whispers of the snake.  The story of our God--who will not disown himself, and so gives us Himself over to save us from ourselves for Himself--is a story at odds with the very fabric of our society.  It defies the cascading, current flow.  That which the world most needs to hear is what is being stifled, rejected, ridiculed, not tolerated or accepted, and even hated by this politically-correct, tolerant, accepting, loving world groaning in travail.  Jesus is the problem everywhere for everyone at all times--especially now, it seems.  He is also the answer--the One nobody wants or is able to "accept" on his or her own terms.
Let me know if you want to read the rest of the article and I'll give or send you a copy.  Or go to the Connections Magazine website.

I believe our call to "re-evangelize" the church continues... as we also turn our attention to the those who have never known Jesus or his amazing love.  As Jaynan says at the conclusion of her article:
We know that it is impossible for us--but nothing is impossible for God when He finds a few fools for Christ's sake.  We are willing to have our faces set forward with our hands on the plow, refusing to shrink back or fear failure.  To not engage in our primary calling to preach, teach and confess our Savior according to God's Word is to renounce our discipleship. 

When all is said and done, whether anyone notices or cares, though we may die despised and hated, He will recognize the good fruit that comes from His own hand.
Please continue to pray that Toni and I will soon know where we are to serve next. We truly want to do God's will and serve God's Word alone.

1 comment:

  1. Bless you, Steve, for your faithful ministry!