Thursday, February 27, 2014
Do The Hustle
North American evangelicalism is represented by two streams, yea, even down unto this day, two streams which come from the First and Second Great Awakenings respectively. Those who are descended from the First Awakening, represented by men like Whitefield and Edwards, know how to hustle, but they also know that all the hustling in the world will not accomplish anything if God decides not to bless it -- which He might not. This is the Calvinist stream, which has widened considerably in the last few decades."To the outside observer, the whole thing looks like a teeming mass of evangelical hustle...." That may be the most important quote I have read in a very long time. I am no proponent of sitting around and waiting on the Spirit. No I believe in hard work and hustle in obedience to the Spirit. But more I believe that out hustle should be aimed a bit differently. We should aim for holiness, not numbers, not conversions, not relevancy.
In the opposite corner, one of the most notable teachers from the Second Great Awakening was Charles Finney, and he is the one who made the fatal move to autonomous self-sufficiency in religious ministry. Finney taught that if you did it right, revival was guaranteed. If you want the blessing of God, you need to whistle it up. It is to this notion that we owe the curious phenomenon, seen across the Bible belt, of churches that have signs out front announcing that there is going to be a "revival" the week of September 7-14. It makes you wonder who the Holy Spirit's booking agent is. And how on earth did the secretary at Antioch Baptist Church get his number?
The former view says that hustle is necessary, but not sufficient. The latter view says that hustle is sufficient. To the outside observer, the whole thing looks like a teeming mass of evangelical hustle, and the disagreement I have described looks to them like a trivial dispute about "words and names and your own law." and so it is that a modern secular Gallio drives us all from his court (Acts 18:17).
But if the Calvinists are right, what happens next is not up to us -- or to Gallio either.
Do you see Wilson's point? Even the guys that are closer to doing it right look like hustlers to the outside world. That's because, at least in large part, they are aiming at the same thing that the pure hustlers are. There should be nothing normal about the church
I have vast theological disagreements with the Roman Catholic church, but in many ways it is doing so many thing right. It is a thing apart. The world sails blithely by and it marches to the beat of its own anachronistic drummer. Thus it survives. While our Protestant world is one of constant roiling seas - the Catholics march ever onward. Yes, they have their crisis' and yes they have changed over the centuries, but they stand - while in our world institutions come and go like the latest fashion.
That is a lesson I think we could benefit from.
aims church constancy