Guest Blogger – Bill Lewis – apostle and leader, Bellville, Ohio
In his book, Call to Resurgence, Mark Driscoll makes the statement that the battle against legalized homosexual marriages is lost. He says the tide has turned and soon it will become a national law. He says the religious right has lost this battle already, it is only a matter of time.
So, where does that leave us? If all our energies in fighting the tide have come to naught, where are we? The truth is that we are exactly where the early church was in its culture. Homosexuality was practiced openly and with cultural acceptance. Did the early church focus on the political issues and moral issues of their day? To the best of my knowledge from that which is reported historically, it seems the church had a better message. While I am sure they faced all of the immorality of the day; the abortions, the sex trade, the abandoned children, the occult worship, and the violence of war, local persecutions, and domestic problems, the church was not known for being a right wing, political entity. They were not known as the religious right.
What they were known for was believing that some guy named Jesus had risen from the dead and was supposedly their God. They were known for being a tight group of people who worshiped in houses, caves, and open fields. They were known as people who believed that this Jesus guy was going to come and rule the earth, that the final judgement was by fire. (Nero’s excuse). They were known for celebrating a meal that supposedly was the blood and body of this Jesus guy. They were known to really care for one another, a tight community. It seemed they treated their women as equals in the faith. They were known for baptizing people in rivers, ponds, fountains, and wherever they could find enough water to immerse the initiates. They were known for having some miracles take place which were very dramatic. They were known for powerful prayer and praying in languages. They were known for being so committed to this Jesus guy that they would even die rather than compromise with the system and other religious tolerance groups. They were known to believe that they were going to live forever and be raised from the dead.
Huh, pretty novel. Believe in Jesus. Preach Christ crucified. Preach the resurrection. Live in powerful community. Sell out to Jesus.
It is hard to have a powerful community when we are now consumer based. With churches growing and diminishing based on the ever moving crowd of Christian consumers, we never know if the kingdom of God is growing or the churches are growing by migration of consumers.
It is hard to have a unique message when, again, we are trying to draw the world to a place of comfortability, suspended somewhere between a pleasant Jesus and a rock concert. To draw the world, we have produced a psycho therapeutic social message where self esteem, feel good, success orientation, and personal improvement sprinkled with large doses of unbalanced grace predominate the presentations. Or, we have the other extreme where political or moral issues rule the pulpit. Every Sunday is a lecture in the social ills and how all are going to hell.
It is hard to sell out to Jesus when no one wants to commit to anything. Commitment is a fast, vanishing character trait. Marriages, business, relationships, all are viewed as temporary and pragmatic.
We still have a relevant message if we will find it. It is there. This Jesus guy is still the most amazing person of eternity. If he gets lifted up, well, who knows what could happen…