Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Silver Bullet

One of the implications of the grace of God being at work in His church is that we need to give up our search for a silver bullet. What the current church seems to be consumed with is the search for the right formula to restore Christianity to its rightful place of respectability and dominance in western culture. Rather than trusting God's promise that He will accomplish His purposes in His church (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:6,7; Colossians 2:19), we want to take everything on our shoulders and try to find a quick, simple way to fix things. So we come up with all manner of plans and programs to accomplish this, rather than trusting in God (Psalms 127:1,2; Proverbs 3:5; Isaiah 31:1). Now I am not suggesting we sit passively by and do nothing. I am convinced that God calls us through His power to carry out His purposes in the world (Colossians 1:28,29; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16). What I do want to avoid is the panicked search for panaceas that results from feeling the whole thing depends on us.

Part of the problem here is expectations. The nominal, cultural Christianity that once dominated western civilization has led us to expect to have our views respected. But is this really something we can really count on as a matter of course? Scripture says we should not be surprised if the culture around is hostile toward Christianity (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; Matthew 10:17-25). We are also told that conforming to the world around us is dangerous to our spiritual health (1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1,2; James 4:4). Now I do not want to advocate sitting in a corner, afraid to come out for fear of those who are not Christians. Christ is victorious over this world and has promised we will ultimately overcome with Him (John 16:33; Romans 8:35-39; 2 Corinthians 2:14). But I do want to suggest that we, as Christians, should not take for granted that we will always be comfortable in society, or feel we have a right to expect this. One of the results of this expectation is that we can react in anger when it is not met. Further, we can run around frantically looking for that silver bullet that will bring us back to where we used to be. Now I do not want to minimize the power of God, but I know of no promise that God will always cause us to honored by those around us. Rather, there are the statements mentioned above that say the opposite.

What I suggest then is that we let go of the past and, trusting in God's power, rebuild from there. That we put aside the gimmicks and quick fixes and, rather, engage in faithfully and persistently carrying out the basic things God requires of us (1 Corinthians 4:1,2; 2 Timothy 2:3,4; Hebrews 12:1,2). For the shortcuts will not really lead us to our destination.   

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