The A-vangelical Movement
While we may agree that these are unprecedented times, the roots beneath our current societal brokenness run deep and are terribly familiar. For many years, we have witnessed an increasing breakdown in societal norms. Some believe thisbreakdown to be progress, while others view it as the path to destruction. In various ways, both are correct, and that shouldn’t surprise us. Sin continually pushes us ever closer to the cliff… and there is a cliff on the right and the left. Most concerning are the fractures that are dividing the Church, particularly those who have been so like-minded for so long (at least seemingly so). While we have our differences, there are dozens of denominations and systems of beliefs that remain well aligned to the truths of the faith we confess routinely. Sadly, societal divisions are wreaking havoc among these groups, and not just at the macro level. It is personal. Friends who came to faith together in ministries like RUF and small group Bible Studies are loudly and angrily declaring their truth about race, sexuality, politics, COVID protocols, you name it! You may have found it within your own family. I’ve heard it said that a church that refuses to plant new churches is destined to fight. It’s interesting to see the parallel that individual believers who are not discipling others have the same destiny. If the evangelical movement was ever about evangelism and discipleship, it has sadly disintegrated into
a-vangelicalism. (The “a” prefix meaning “not,” and that’s as much Greek as you’ll get from me!) I was recently convicted by Romans 14 where Paul rebukes his fellow believers for allowing opinions to destroy the peace they should be finding in Jesus. Certainly there are issues in debate, including in Reformed circles, that rise above “opinions,” but Paul’s reminder that “…we are the Lord’s” in verse 8 should shake us. He is our master, and He has drawn us into the Body of Christ for a purpose. One big purpose is the Great Commission to go and make disciples by sharing the good news of salvation though Jesus Christ. I expect we may find that we don’t have time to quibble over opinions. I bet we also find that any joy of winning an argument pales in comparison to the unified celebration of seeing conversions and spiritual growth take root among our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues. There is a war going on, but our equipment for battle shouldn’t look the same as the world around us. Instead, Ephesians 6 explains that we are to be equipped with the whole armor of God, including a “belt of truth,” a “breastplate of righteousness,” and the “sword of the Spirit.”
Lord, may we who were once lost, set aside our quarrels so that others who remain lost may be found. Make us shepherds who are willing to go after the lost sheep. Please grant that our divisiveness would turn to unity as we celebrate the homecoming of sinners who have found grace in you, and may we reflect that grace in love and obedience. Amen.
Grace and Peace,