It has been a big week in our nation, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
I want you to know that first and foremost Pulpit Rock aims to know Christ and him crucified. That means we can all take a deep breath. Because you see, none of the events of the last week change fundamentally what we are to do as a church.
Every instruction written in the New Testament Christians was written to Christians in the middle of a culture in crisis. So instead of panicking and wringing our hands when we see our culture in crisis, we remember that the message and mission of Jesus was birthed and flourished in such times as these, in the first century.
As members of PRC, we are challenged to address four questions:
1. What kind of Christian do we want to be … ones who are fearful or full of faith?
The early church didn’t say, “Look what the world is coming to!”
They said, “Look what has come into the world!”
—Carl F. H. Henry
Our message is an announcement, not that love wins, but that Jesus wins. No matter the laws, no matter the culture, not matter the circumstance, we have one message: Christ and him crucified, Jesus wins. And as we join him in the fight, not against people, but for them, we win with him.
2. Do we believe law or Gospel brings true change?
I think one that this week has revealed is that many Christians don’t believe the gospel, that only God can change people. Many Christians believe the law, that laws written in stone tablets, or on supreme court briefs can bring change. Nothing changes the heart but Jesus.
That was the point of Colossians. External circumstances, commands, or self-efforts cannot produce the growth and change that Christ IN you can produce.
3. How do we see people?
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26.
Paul says we must be loving, patient, correcting, and gentle to everyone in the hope that God will grant them repentance. Because they are the enemy? No, because the enemy has taken them captive.
People are not the enemy, we are all victims of the enemy. So what do you do with a victim, fight them or rescue them?[tweetthis]People are not the enemy, we are all victims of the enemy. With a victim, do you fight them or rescue them?[/tweetthis]
And that is why we share the gospel. To liberate and rescue captives. Pulpit Rock remains committed to Christ and him crucified. And the belief that laws or even Christians cannot change people. Jesus changes people. We love people.
4. What are we to be about?
Perhaps this decision actually frees us. Instead of focusing our attention on fighting against people, we can renew the call of Jesus in Matthew 25 to fight for people.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.
This does not mean we abandon scripture’s sexual standards. It does mean we reassess if we were championing the wrong cause. We may have been fighting against people instead of for them. Maybe this decision means we can renew our commitment to what God has called us to:
To love all people to Christ and help them journey with God. To fight for The Vulnerable, the Next Generation of leaders, the continuance of The Local Church, and seeking the shalom of The City in which we are placed.
Finally, let me equip you with two cautions:
Caution #1 | Our church is more than a position.
While we stand behind our statement of faith, these are only positions, and neglect to take our posture into account. These are best used in the context of relationship and conversation.
We are more than labels. Labels don’t clarify, and “taking a stand” often puts more emphasis on the issue than the person and mission of Christ. Our posture is to focus on the gospel, Christ and him crucified.
Caution #2 | Social media is the worst place to carry out thoughtful and helpful religious or political discussion.
I would caution you that when you post, you speak not only for yourselves, but for the rest of the family at Pulpit Rock. Weigh carefully before you post. Don’t put the rest of us in the position of defending a position because you were careless.
These are new times, and they require a grace and humility Christians haven’t seen for hundreds of years.[tweetthis]These are new times, and they require a grace and humility Christians haven’t seen for hundreds of years. [/tweetthis] We have conversations yet to come about how we continue to talk and walk together, to help people journey with God in a culture that is more and more like the first century church than ever. And I am joyous at the prospect of navigating these waters with you.
Written by Thomas Thompson