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Radical Mainstream

...I will show you my faith by my deeds. – James 2:18

Dad was an excellent conservative preacher. In his prime he spoke without notes and drove his points home with an unmatched clarity and directness. He apparently prepared for and gave his medical lectures in a similar way. But apart from acknowledging his passion for salvation and eschatology, I cannot recall details of specific sermons. No doubt what he taught has made an indelible impression on my life, but even more so his actions that reflected accurately — or otherwise — what he taught. He is a human who faced challenges we all face; sometimes he succeeded, occasionally he failed. Anyone who listened to him and then put him on a pedestal would do him, themselves, and most of all God, a grave disservice.

It is imperative that God’s Word is our sole gold standard. What is taught from Scripture is the Truth whether we like it or not; whether we feel we can obey it or not; whether we practise what we preach  or not. Being a hypocrite does not invalidate the reality of God and Jesus Christ; it doesn’t negate the dependability of Scripture; it doesn’t render ineffectual the sustaining and outworking power of the Holy Spirit.

When someone’s walk is consistent with Scripture, we must thank God for His grace. When a believer strays, we must pray for repentance and restoration — and thank God for His grace which allows such reconciliation through Christ’s redemption. With our eyes focussed on what the Bible teaches — and not on the teacher, even a Graham or a Spurgeon — will ensure that we know when the expression of faith is true and right, and when it needs correction, nurturing, guidance and realignment with God’s purpose.

What this world needs is a return to accurate biblical truth. The gospel message is just as relevant now as in the days of the early church. We have similar basic 'faulty core' problems like rebellion, selfishness and pride. Just  a century ago, Western people would still routinely go to church and send their kids to Sunday School, even if they were otherwise not too Christian in their behaviour, or doubted God or Christianity themselves. To the general public nowadays, mainstream Christianity is relegated  to ‘one of many religions, whatever floats your boat' at best, and a source of rejection, ridicule (with or without a veneer of political correctness), ostracism, and even persecution at worst.

Christians need to be radical in terms of making our collective voice heard when it counts. We cannot afford to be a 'silent majority' or even a 'significant minority'. Preaching the gospel is crucial; however, so is standing up and speaking out against abortion, euthanasia, racism, sexism, ageism, evolution (as fact),  sexual immorality and ‘Safe Schools’.

A community is radical when it is seen by society as bucking the trend, demanding change and doing things differently — swimming against  the current of accepted cultural norms. But our actions are not to be knee-jerk reactions or some immature response to just be ‘different’. This is no publicity stunt; we want change because we want a society which puts God and His principles and values first. We should say “Jesus did not die in vain — what’s more, He’s alive! — and we want others to experience the new life that we have which comes through Christ, even on this Earth right now. We want people to experience the joy of ‘second chances’, of forgiveness, mercy and grace — not only from God's bountiful love  but welling up from the revitalised hearts of Spirit-transformed men and women.”

Editorial by Andrew Chan



 

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