Thursday, July 08, 2010
What IS Our Job?
My personal view is that it is not our job to transform our culture, let alone the world. Our job is to do the specific thing God has called us to do, whether that is evangelizing the neighborhood, working against the sexual slave trade, relieving world hunger, or whatever. Our job is to do that faithfully and well–and to let God take care of transforming the culture.I agree with that statement, but I think it requires some additional analysis. First of all - some of us are called to do things that are culturally transformative. Some are called to politicians and bureaucrats. These people are part of the church and their role is vital.
Transforming culture is an incredibly complex thing that no person or group can possibly grasp. It’s something that happens, but it happens over centuries. The process is so slow that it is indiscernible to us except in hindsight. I think talk about transforming the world usually fills us with dreams and visions of our own power, when really our vision should be on the people we’re are seeking to love in Christ’s name.
Secondly, in a democracy or republic such as ours, sometimes, and only sometimes, the church MUST serve as a resource for those people. A politician needs the demonstrated will of the people behind him or her to get things done. The church can ideally fill that role - on an as needed basis.
In the end I would restate things this way. It is not the church;s job to transform culture. It is the church's job to make disciples. Disciples will change culture - particularly when there are enough of them to constitute a clear majority. The problems arise when the church puts changing culture ahead of making disciples.
Of course, many are concerned that culture stands in the way of making disciples. That simply represents a lack of faith. Jesus Christ is the most winsome human ever to have existed. If we can but mirror that, then we will make disciples - regardless of culture.