Doubtful Faith

 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (I Corinthians 1:23-24) 

"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
GK Chesterton

Its not practical.....

Its not feasible....

Religion is a private matter, that has no bearing on the public sphere...

The Bible was written at a different time and the story it tells is no longer relevant to the complexities of today...

So called Christians have messed up the name of Christianity so badly, that we are embarassed....

These are the statements that I commonly hear from other Christians when I ask why Christians do not press for a Kingdom priorities in the public sphere.  There is a sense in which the church has been thoroughly secularized, whereby our faith pertains to smaller and smaller spheres of our lives.  Faith is seen as having no role in the public forums and discussions in our neighborhoods, cities, regions, or nation.

To be fair, attempts by groups like the moral majority, the Christian Coalition, and numerous conservative Christian advocacy have sought to influence society, mostly politically, but with an alarmingly narrow, and often times, non-Kingdom agendas.  The goals of these movements were not in harmony with what Jesus demonstrated and declared as the Kingdom priorities.  None of these movements advocated on behalf of the poor, sought cultural reconciliation, or promoted economic justice (Shalom).

According to Theologian Miroslav Volf, in  his book, a Public faith, Christianity is to be a prophetic faith, not a mystical faith.  Mystical faiths seek an encounter with the divine for the purpose of individual transformation, whereas, prophetic faith seek encounters with God for the purpose of individual and societal transformation.  In fact, he would argue that the purpose of personal transformation in a prophetic faith is societal advocacy for the common good.

This leads me to the following principles:

1. The Church needs a recovery of the centrality of the Kingdom of God as an alternative to the dominant way of living in the world (power via coercion, violence, wealth, etc).

2. The people of God must return to appreciation (understanding of), appropriation (taking responsibility for), and application (putting into practice) the life and teachings of Jesus.  Many self-identified Christians do not really know, understand, or prioritize what Jesus taught.

3. The people of God must understand that its lack of confidence in the power of the whole gospel (not just the saving of individual souls, but the reconciliation of all creation to God) results in a lack of credibility and validity.  The world will never believe because they know deep down inside, most of us do not either.

4. The Church is really the church when it is authentically following the mission of Christ to demonstrate the presence of Kingdom of God, not through coercion, not through domination, but in Jesus steps (He is the way, the truth, and the life ).  This is the way of love, wraught through sacrifice and service, demanding justice while providing mercy.

I believe a time is coming when the people of God will not be ashamed of the gospel, but truly understand that it is the power for salvation (Romans 1:16).  Salvation is not just individuals being saved from death to life, but all of creation being redeemed, impacting systems and cultures for God's glory.  We have seen evidence that this is not only possible but effective as we celebrated Martin Luther King day last month.

I challenge you today to ask yourself the gospel is power or foolishness:

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. (NLT)

Praying for you today,

Pastor M Traylor

Dr. M TraylorComment