Monday, April 30, 2012
Why Must It Be Either/Or?
God Commands Compassion, Not EvangelismReading a little further he comes to the heart of the matter as he sees it:
Christianity is not about praying in a certain way, or believing a certain thing, or making converts, or building a nice cabin at church camp.
Recently, I attended a Southern Baptist church in America's heartland. The service was typical: about half an hour of praise music, a lengthy sermon, an altar call, and an offertory. The choir and musicians were skilled and enthusiastic. The sermon, drawn from Psalms, centered on our call to praise God at all times, not just on Sunday morning. During the hour and a half service, a charitable appeal was made in connection with the 200-bed vacation cabin the church wants to build at the state youth camp. The price tag for this state of the art facility, I was informed, was seven million dollars, cheap for a building that will help bring youth to Christ.
The larger message of the Bible is about participating in the reality that God wants to bring into being to replace the sinful mess we have made, and a large part of that participation is about reaching out to those who are in need.OOOOOOH, So close. Christianity is indeed about much more than evangelism, it is indeed about being transformed out of our sinful mess, but that "large part" quip is just substituting one bandwagon for another. It is assuming a "zero sum" game when if we are truly transformed in Christ we can draw upon the infinite resources of the Creator and do BOTH, and much more.
I really do not like this competition for dollars in the church - it's unseemly. Now, a word of caution here. I resigned a ruling board over a "faith budget" one that did not recognize the financial limitations of projected revenue and just spent like a sailor on shore leave. That church is till paying the price for that one year. No, reality is reality and we live in reality.
What I am talking about is using rhetoric in our stewardship of those resources that forces us to battle about what God ordains. The fact of the matter is, God ordains all of it - we create the limitations, not Him. Our rhetoric should reflect that.