Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Vocation, Vocation, Vocation - Part 3 Let church be church

Emerging christians, multitudes of evangelicals and I dare say some Reformed folk are confused about the role of church in society. Again, it's down to a misunderstanding related to the two kingdoms.

Rick Warren for instance, wishes to tackle the world's 5 big giants. They are 1. Spiritual darkness; 2. lack of servant leaders around the world; 3. poverty; 4. disease; 5. ignorance, manifesting itself in illiteracy. At first glance, these look like noble goals for a church leader of Warren's influence. Yet how do these goals square with Paul's priorities conveyed to young church leaders in the pastoral epistles?

I read of Paul charging Timothy to "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preahed in my gospel" (2 Tim 2:28). I read of the pastor "correcting his opponents" (2 Tim 2:25). The pastor is to "continue in what he has learned" (2 Tim 3:14). He is to "teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness." (2 Tim 3:16). He is to "preach the Word, in season and out of season." (2 Tim 4:2). He is to do more rebuking (2 Tim 4:2). He is to teach sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). He is to do some more rebuking, this time with complete authority. (Titus 2:15). He is to remind the church to be submissive and full of good works. (Titus 3:1)

I don't read Paul saying, "Timothy and Titus, you really need to start attacking injustice in this world ruled by Rome. Fight global poverty, tackle disease, start backing liberal emperors." His priorities for church pastors is their complete immersion in God's Word - period.

Who knows, maybe some members of the congregation will decide to do the best job they can for the glory of God and change society as a result? Maybe a christian doctor will work so resolutely to find cures for various ills that he makes great breakthroughs? Maybe a soldier will stop roughing up prisoners and treat them with a little dignity? Maybe slave masters will treat their slaves with respect? Maybe a toilet cleaner will do such a good job of cleaning the latrine that you could eat your dinner off of it? Mabye a young William Wilberforce will use his political influence to abolish slavery? Maybe they'll have the energy to do this because they're being fed by Christ every Lord's Day? That's a world away from church based initiatives where the zealous pastor fights every cause he can but forgets the gospel.


Danny said...

Enjoying the blog... especially the random outbreaks of cynicism when I least expect it :-)

Never got my head around Rick Warren anyway... just the title of his 'Purpose Driven...' series/franchise makes me feel inadequate...

Nick Mackison said...

Danny, thanks for the encouragement! Great to see a fellow Scot in the blogosphere!

God bless.