What we want to see are communities of people that are reflecting the character of God, and by so doing, being distinct from the world around them. So many evangelical churches today seem to be trying to break the code of how do we look as much like the culture as possible and yet keep the Gospel, assuming that will maximize evangelistic impulse. I’m not sure that is true. I think there is a lot of peril in that. It seems to be that even from the earliest chapters of Acts it is not that, “Hey, they speak Hebrew too,” but, “Hey, look at how they love one another in a way that’s different from the way we’re loving or being loved.” So, I think that God’s character, as it is reproduced in a group of people, has to be one of the most powerful witnesses to the truth of the Gospel, both for evangelism and the edification of those already converted, that we can imagine.Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation (I Pet 2:11-12).
I would like to see evangelical churches, not become unsophisticated on how they interact with culture, but keep that in perspective and realize that the life-blood of your church continuing is not your contextualization, is not your similarity to the culture, it is how you are blessedly distinct from the culture. Because when you are saved, you are born again, you are made a new creation, and a church is a church full of people like that. So, our distinctives are what we want to hold and trust that God will make them attractive and commend the Gospel to other people through them.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Another gem from Mark Dever on life and ministry: