At the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. Romans 11:4.
This week I have heard sermon podcasts and radio broadcasts by leaders of this generation of God’s people. A growing number of these sermons are themed around how to do church. Its a popular topic today, which is holy and right. The household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth (2 Tim.3:15), is a subject of mighty value. These sermons, however, have all been the same song, different verse. All about how the Other Guys are doing it wrong.
The traditional church is too judgmental, too mean-spirited, too narrow-minded, too stuck up & separate from the dominant culture. This church has too much doctrine, too much emphasis on theology, too much teaching, too little heart.
The emergent church (called “postmodern” in a disgusted voice) is too fluffy, too trivial, too flippant with sacred things, too steeped in & engulfed by dominant culture, too anxious to please those from whom God has called us to be set apart. This church has too much singing, too much drama, too many pop-culture trends, too little thought.
Not only are there sermons, but actual books. I have seen (and even read a chapter or two before the bile rises) a few tomes that go on for sixty thousand words proving that one of these churches is totally rad, while the other is on a slippery slope to apostasy. Each Other Guy is taking the church to a never-before-seen level of disintegration and chaos (as if God’s people have ever been more than a remnant within a vanishing world).
I am moved by the utter sincerity and strong virtue of these leaders. They are truly afraid of the impact that the Other Guys will have on the church.
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Romans 3:10-12.
Everybody hates God. That is not the Other Guy’s fault. No one seeks for God; God shows Himself. The church is in the hands of the Living God, not the Other Guy.
Yet I reserved 7,000 for myself in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose lips have not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:18.
God is the God of the remnant. He has always been. The church is a ragtag gang of world-rebels who have abdicated the authority of darkness to step into marvelous light. We are each an immortal soul on a road to glory, a sacred vessel of divine grace. We are all transformed by love, raised to new life, a consecrated vignette in an eternal story that outshouts and outshines us all.
There are no Other Guys amongst God’s redeemed.
Remember that at one time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenant of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. Eph.2:12-14.
We are among those who have refused to bow our knees to Baal. Our mission is not to convert each other, but to shine into the darkness. There is so much darkness. What if we let the Other Guys run their church according to God’s Word and their consciences and spent our gifts and energies expanding and equipping the church beyond preferences, into transcendent orthodoxy?
And, what if you are right about blind spots in your own church? God has always raised up prophets among a group to tilt it back to center. If you see an imbalance in your own church (where you are committed and respected), by all means be a solution. But be a flame of holy redemption, not a smolder of division. And don’t preach a protected sermon from a high pulpit into a part of God’s country where you have no authority. Yuck.
We are in a battle for something that matters, the souls of the lost. Let us remember who we are, God’s remnant, chosen by grace, and let us be strong and kind.
Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hell will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:17-18.
What do y’all think?