Just a couple of generations ago, as I was growing up, the Church was viewed as a foundational pillar of our culture and society. Today that is certainly not the case. At best we’ve been marginalized, relegated to the children’s table at the family feasts. Unfortunately, that’s at best. More and more we are being seen as a threat to society and culture, and in some cases even a threat to the survival of the human species. We need to be eliminated for the good of humanity. To fit in we need to shed the “nonsense and superstition.” How do we deal with that? What hope do we have? Our command from the Word of God is not to give in, but to “Speak the truth in love.” Paul says that in Ephesians 4 :14-15. Pontius Pilate asked “What is truth.” Jesus says “I am the way the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) He also prays for his disciples and us saying; “sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is truth.” (John 17:17) Sanctify means to be set apart, called out of the world to be different, to belong to God and be obedient to His precepts. We have this great gift of the Word of the Lord, the Law, the Gospel, the Bible! It has stood the test of time and trial for over 1900 years. It’s not something that we’ve made up, or sprung upon the world in this postmodern culture. The Word of God is the foundation on which we must and will stand, but how we apply this Word of truth in our cultural context will be ever changing, with the climate.
God tells us to speak His truth, stand for it and stand up for it in the face of attack, but to do so with His intentions in mind…love. He wants us to engage the culture, get involved in the culture, and to shine His light, the light of Christ, into all of its dark places. Always through the motivation of love, wanting what’s eternally best for our neighbors, whether they look, think, act and believe like us or not. What is eternally best for everyone is the forgiveness and salvation that come through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus wants us to bring everyone to Him, so that He can save them and He can bring about whatever change in their lives (attitudes and actions) that He deems necessary. Clobbering folks with our doctrine is not evangelism, it not outreach, it’s not love. Don’t get me wrong, doctrine is important…it’s vital that we are worshiping the only true God, but our first priority should always be the Gospel, the good news of salvation by faith in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul also says; “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)