What is the mission of the Church? Some would have you believe that the Church’s mission is to champion the cause of social justice. Those who believe this are fundamentally flawed in their thinking, but they are not alone. God did not become incarnate man to bring about a “fair” distribution of wealth, a universal healthcare system, or fix any of these other social issues. Even so, folks falling on the other side of this heated debate would do well to realize that neither did He did suffer and die on the cross to make you a shiny new Republican. Until a political party exists that stands solely on the platform of the Cross of Christ, you will not find any human political agenda that stands on equal footing with the mission given to the bride from the Bridegroom.
The Church as a relational embodiment of the human connection to our Holy God does not exist to champion the escalating catastrophes of political pandering. Social Justice, when you boil it down to its barest essence means “getting what you’re due.” In other words, it is the idea that all people should get what we deserve, or have a right to.
The basest thoughts of social justice are an attempt to offer up this ruse in a positive light, but, at the core, is the thought that all men are deserved of something. Indeed we are, for since that day in the Garden when Eve was deceived and Adam followed her unto willful rebellion all we have been owed was all that our race had bought into.
I’m glad God loves me too much to give me what I deserve. In terms of theological thinking (thinking about God) receiving what we deserve would be a nightmare. Salvation itself is God providing for us undeserved—unobtainable grace. Freely.
Some would squabble that I am dodging the issue, but I would argue that this is actually the issue in its truest form. God created. God said it was good. Man ruined it. What do we think that we deserve?
Paul wrote that the only good religion was taking care of widows and orphans. I wholeheartedly agree, Christians should uphold the finest examples of selflessness and love, but the purpose of the Church is not good religion. The purpose, indeed the mission, of the Church is to go to the entire world, preaching the gospel, and making disciples.
Go everywhere. Preach the gospel. Make disciples.
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” — Luke 14: 7-11
The average Joe would more than likely agree with the idea that many people who find themselves in leadership positions in this day and age arrive to their position not due in any part to merit or worthiness. Sure there are some, but they are far and away outnumbered by those who have climbed the ranks due to charisma, personality, and their willingness to appease others in authority.
News flash! Self-centered personality driven leadership is old and ineffective. Take a look at the political arena today. People squabble over stupidity and the media jumps on it like a basset hound on a pork chop. People have lost faith in leaders of all kinds.
Politicians are constantly the source of jokes and bitter stories, and for good reason. Ask almost any common man or woman a few simple questions and it will not take you long to realize that most look on this nation’s leadership with a skewed perception. We are almost numb to the idea that our leaders are self serving. That mentality has penetrated almost every walk of life we endeavor ourselves to.
However, there is a reason that these positions often harbor the moniker “public servant”. Isn’t it time people in places of leadership started truly serving those under their authority.
This might speak to more than just folks in the political arena.
Bill Hybels said this to a group of church leaders:
“If you went to the airport, and there were no airplanes landing, and there were no airplanes taking off, you’d say, ‘There’s a problem!’ If you went to the train station, and there were no trains coming and no trains leaving, you’d say, ‘There’s a problem!’
So why is it that we can be a part of churches that go on year after year with almost no truly unchurched people coming to faith in Christ and with very few people really becoming more Christlike, and yet think there’s no problem. Friends, if that describes your church, ‘There’s a problem!'”
By it’s very nature and purpose, the church ought to be a contagious place that is spreading the Christian faith to more and more outsiders. In fact, there ought to be an epidemic of people trusting in Christ. Why isn’t this happening?
“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.” — Page 134; Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
|Happy B-day Kirk!|
There is a permeating stigma upon the nature of Christianity. Some are only now starting to realize this. Some will forever refuse to accept this notion. Further more, a great deal are all too happily oblivious to the existence of this stigma. It is with this notorious lot that the problem lies. Every day now we hear more and more about how much society disdains our Christ (in a nation where the majority of the populous still claim to serve him.) Every day we hear about new laws being charged up the judicial ladder. Atheism, humanism, occult, sexual perversion, and idolatry seem to be the order of the day.
Because many of the people who attach the name of Christ to their lives have no idea what they are saying. They are buying into a cultural idea of our nation as a Christian nation. It once was, but that day has long since passed. This cultural Christianity in America is the same sort of nonsense that sparked one of the greatest travesties in human history, The Crusades.
Cultural Christianity teaches us that it is acceptable to conduct yourself in whatever manner you deem appropriate. Cultural Christianity is based on loose rules, or in many cases no rules whatsoever. Cultural Christianity is a false precept that disillusions people into believing they are bound for heaven simply because they are a “good person” or they went to church one time.
Cultural Christianity is an empty, hollow, defunct, maniacal, and preposterous shadow of the truth that God intends for his people. It creates strife, greed, and malcontent in our churches; and breeds bitterness and condemnation upon those we are called to reach out to. It abandons the truth for emotion, discipline for comfort, holiness for relativism, and love for selfishness.
Real Christianity demands love, produces righteousness, and alters lives forever. It is not something that can be earned, won, or lived up to. It is a sovereign gift. Real Christianity involves usurping an individual from the throne of their life and kneeling at the feet of the waiting King.
Cultural Christians are all too happy to serve superficially while they are “blessed” and it coincides with their goals. There will be a complete lack of the spiritual disciplines.
Real Christians happily serve and are therefore blessed, all the while serving goals far exceeding their own meager imaginings. Theirs’ will be a life full of divine guidance. For God is not content to change us into the kind of people we wish to be. He has always longed to return us to himself in a way that is much closer to the original design. Only the truth of Jesus Christ and a genuine relationship with him will lead you down the path of Real Christianity.
A day will come when those who are content to strive for the middle of the road will find that it did not lead where they thought it would.