And on top of that, our culture is increasingly cynical, individual, fearful and stressful.
Our churches are in freefall decline. Commitment, belonging, discipleship, accountability, relationship, authority, respect …… swept aside in a post-modern wave of indifference.
I don’t blame anyone for longing for the Good Ol’ Days. But guess what: They’ve gone for good. And getting them back wouldn’t work anyway!
Of course, Covid isn’t the problem. But it is a very disproportionately large cherry on a very bitter cake, and it has accelerated the decimation of Western Culture. Sweeping up as it has done, a Church in decline, trying to stay afloat, wondering what’s gone wrong.
If ever the verse was true it is now: New wine needs new wine skins! (Mk. 2:22)
The Generals of WW1 used strategy that belonged in a pre-industrial War Age. And millions upon millions were slaughtered. The old strategies and assumptions didn’t hold.
I have no doubt 1000’s of churches will close for good. Just as our culture that values Freedom of Speech as an ultimate virtue; Is now closing down debate and discussion, and becoming anti-free speech (authoritarian); We live in a world where companies now re-educate employees on the presumption of being racist. It’s called: Unconscious Bias Training. It is accusatory: No wonder Satan is called The Accuser! It is a modern day Baal: A hungry ravenous accusation of guilt without the possibility of innocence. It is a forgiveness-less culture. One “wrong” word/thought can lose you your job. You can be cancelled, while people applaud their self-righteousness as you pack your bags. Political/cultural correctness has gone into warp-speed.
And here’s the Church. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be anxious.
But do read and understand the times we live.
What do we need to do? Be the Church! Be who God in Christ has called you to be! Live and speak and act like sinners turned into saints. Live your life under the banner of the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God. Never, ever, be ignorant of that or afraid/indifferent in the world.
Our culture is so Woke but it is blind. Our culture is so tech-smart but it is God-dumb. Our culture is so advanced, it is backwards in so many ways: Scientism replaces science; Ideology replaces truth; Feelings replace facts. Authoritarian conformity is replacing freedom of speech.
You and me – we have been made for God, and we belong to Christ. Each one of us have unique gifts for serving the great Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is, first, apostles, then prophets then teachers!
- Well come on then – let’s be having you!
Then there are miracles and gifts of healing, helping, administration and divine languages.
- Come on then – let’s be having you.
Every pastor is to oversee a flourishing church; And to evangelise the culture. That is my job in general and it is your job (in general too)! But note the end of chapter 12… all done in the more excellent way … the way of LOVE. This is Paul’s way of saying the gifts are noncompetitive & complimentary gifts of God.
Every pastor is to do what Christ has called me to do among you and this town. It’s not to make nice people with hearts of gold or good intentions. But it is to produce people of heroic faith and heroic virtue. Despite what we feel or experience or whatever, a Christian is called to the impossible higher life! Not one of us is called to spiritual mediocrity, but spiritual greatness. And don’t let your humility get in the way: All the heroes of faith are de-facto greatly-humble!
That is why we have what our culture has lost sight of: FORGIVENESS. Of each other and of God towards us. In a secular society moving into ‘Cancel-Culture’ that has forgotten God; We have a message of Good Forgiving News to proclaim: Jesus has cancelled our sin.
So, Lead by your gifts. New wineskins for new wine. And a Gospel that brings to Cancel-Culture the cancelled debt of sin. Be the Church and resist the toxic cancel culture wars of our day. The rise and fall of empires; Plagues, invasions and wars; Compassion fatigue & failed states Economic, environmental and moral collapse. Hysterically alarmist Media; Gross inequality sustained by generational state dependence. Pornography, sex-trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Brexit, Covid and toxic cancel culture.
And here we are: The Church – doing evangelism and being missional.
Jesus said, “I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
We don’t have to worry about crossing every ‘T’ and dotting every ‘i’……when Jesus is the Alpha and Omega! He’s got it covered!! The Church is not going away.
The Gospel has cancelled Cancel Culture and we’ve got work to do.
All glory to Jesus Christ.