Engaging the culture without losing the gospel

As the culture changes all around us, it is no longer possible to pretend that Christians are a Moral Majority. For the Christadelphian community it was already very clear that Christendom had gone astray and that not many people knew the essence of the Divine Creator and His Plan.

Guestspeaker's 1° article 2014 March 26
Guestspeaker’s 1° article 2014 March 26 on “From Guestwriters”

In certain parts of the world we may find mega churches, like in the United states of America. But what we also see in those countries is that there is a very strange discrepancy between the way of life and the way presented in the Holy Scriptures. In the talks about pro-life issues and arguments at our website From Guestwriters this is made clear in the different reactions where some readers point out at the huge amount of abortions been done every day. Such points of discussion as the abortion debate show how values and attitudes have changed over the years.

Those people who call themselves Christian either are not so much interested in having an active faith or going to worship services or when they want to go to worship services they expect them to be relaxing and entertaining. For many the entertaining factor receives priority. This makes it understandable why certain churches in the States get full house whilst the churches really interested in and giving eye and ear for the Word of God do not have so many people coming to their service.

In general people are very much influenced by the media and television and show business are not the instruments who, today,  bring the people to God. the television church services are full of show elements and short quoting form a few words taken from Scripture but also taken out of context. No time is given to sincerely listen and to sincerely study a full paragraph of a Bible chapter.

Our very fast changing world can do with a sort of new reformation. What’s needed now, in shifting times, is neither a doubling-down on the status quo nor a pullback into isolation. Instead, we need a church that speaks to social and political issues with a bigger vision in mind: that of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christianity seems increasingly strange, and even subversive, to our culture, we have the opportunity to reclaim the freakishness of the gospel, which is what gives it its power in the first place.

We should seek the kingdom of God, before everything else and we should love to bring others to the entrance gate of that Kingdom. We connect that kingdom agenda to the culture around us, both by speaking it to the world and by showing it in our churches. As we do so, we remember our mission to oppose demons, not to demonise opponents. As we advocate for human dignity, for religious liberty, for family stability, let’s do so as those with a prophetic word that turns everything upside down.

Today more than ever those who feel the connection with the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua should connect with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and show their love for each other. Not staying in their small local cocoon, but also connecting to other brethren and sisters from all over. They should be welcoming any visiting brother or sister and when they receive mail from some brother or sister form somewhere in the world they should take time to answer that mail and to show their love to that correspondent by not ignoring him or her but letting those writers be feeling recognised as brothers and sisters of the body of Christ.

Though that Body of Christ may be composed of different nationalities, different cultured races, they should all show that they have union in that body of Christ by the unity of spirit in Christ. Unity should be shown by their willingness to communicate with each other and to be respectful for the different characters and different opinions. Unity does not have to mean that all have to say exactly the same or have to use the same bible translation, read the same books, may not have different ways of civilian life, may not have different tastes. Those differences make the world coloured and not boring. We should be happy with such diversity and the differences between ecclesiae may provide different pastures for bible believers to find themselves at ease in one or the other ecclesia.

Jubilant Joel Osteen Juice Megachurch

In Jesus time the apostles were also of different character and different opinion or used not always the same words. We should neither. In our way of reaching people we should recognise that they should not know Christadelphianisms and may have a religious vocabulary closer to the denomination to which they belonged originally or still belong. By preaching to them we do have to be able to use different words and different Bible translations so that they can come to understand what the Word of God is saying. We are just some intermediaries who want to show them that Jesus is our mediator and the Way to God.

File:MetroManilajf9671 10.JPG
The Lord’s Hall a Christian megachurch in the Philippines that is managed by the Day by Day Christian Ministries DBD since 2005 situated and leased from the CCP, due to numerous concerns at the time though the church is known as DBD’s flagship church, and is known for being a venue for massive Christian gatherings by Rev Gamaliel Alba and Sun Cruises, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd.

Those we want to attract to the Word of God we have to convince that it are not the megachurches or the churches with the most members that are really following the Word of God and would not have false teachings or wrong doctrines. Lots of people may also put their hope in such megachurches because they expect megachurch pastors to have all the answers and that those churches could grow so much because those pastors are personally successful as well as leaders of successful churches because they can offer the best for man.

At conferences such preachers also may attract a lot of attention because many think they have the solution for today’s problem, a diminishing church.

and so we come to see what crumbs of wisdom they might cast our way that will help us and our small churches be”successful” like they are.

writes pastor Jim in his article “Is “Bigger Better” in Churches?“. Like many of us in the Christadelphian community is has seen Abraham and should have gathered enough experience to have some sound opinion. He believes that such leaders of mega churches may deliver good sermons. For sure they probably are good administrators, very good players with words or good speakers having a good deal of charisma. He correctly points out

Their churches offer tons of programs for children and adults—from support groups for people with various problems to children’s ministry and everything in between. But are a variety of programs offered to attract large numbers of people to their church a measure of success as  Jesus defined success?  I’m not so sure of this… {Is “Bigger Better” in Churches?}

He is leading a Home Fellowship Group in a Bible Study of the Gospel of Mark.  At their last session they discussed this question of “supersize” as Jesus seemed to see it.

He accepted the large crowds he attracted—some so large along the Sea of Galilee that he acquired a boat to get in so he would not be crushed by the crowds seeking to touch him and be healed. But Jesus tends to see those crowds as no reason for gratification. He feels that many of them are there for the wrong reason, to be healed of their infirmities and to see the miraculous. Jesus heals them and has compassion for them, but proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God is his main mission. That proclamation is his main mission because it  has the power to transform people’s lives, and sometimes people who are only seeking physical healing and entertainment can get in the way of that proclamation. {Is “Bigger Better” in Churches?}

In those days Jesus also had to get listening ears. In that age people were much more willing to listen and to go into discussion about religious and spiritual matters. There was much more interest in God than today. But Jesus knew that from the many that came around to hear him speak, there were also many who came out of curiosity or wanted to see miracles or hear controversial talks.

Jesus saw the crowds to whom he sought to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God in the same way as a sower.

Only a small portion of the crowd would actually be transformed by the good news of the Kingdom of God.  The rest would let other things choke it out of their lives and die unchanged. Thus I feel Jesus was not impressed with numbers but with changes in the lives of people who heard him. {Is “Bigger Better” in Churches?} {Please do read also Mark 4: 1-9}

Too often people think it our the numbers that make it to be good. Perhaps the numbers show the popularity, but for sure they do not always show the integrity or the good value of a product or group.

The pastor thinks the answer to his and our question “Is Bigger Better?” as it pertains to churches is this:

it is not size alone that leads to success of any church, large or small, but it is  its ability to follow Jesus and in doing so  transform the lives of those who are a part of that church and those who that church reaches out to.   The measure of a church’s success is the number of lives that have been changed and transformed due to its proclamation both in word and in deed of the Kingdom of God.   The successful church  is the “good soil” in the Parable of the Sower” that brings forth transformation  of people’s lives and nurtures their growth in relationship to God and God’s Kingdom.

A successful church, regardless of the names on the roster, changes people into devoted followers of Jesus and his teachings as they live their lives each day.   Small churches can be just as successful as large churches in changing people’s lives as they live the great commandment to love God and neighbor as yourself.”   Sometimes because small churches are more personal, they are able to live this better than those with thousands on their membership roster. {Is “Bigger Better” in Churches?}

The Christadelphians are a very tiny community. We only can hope that all people in this small community bear their hearts on the right place. God knows the heart and it is for him that we should work and go out in the world getting people to know the Master works of God.

We may not forget that by being such a small community we have the advantage that we can get together in small cosy groups and feel much more the unity of the small group than in such mega churches were everybody can sit next to each other without knowing the other. When sitting in a stadium, arena or in such a huge church were there are hundreds or thousands of people it can well be that the individual may be drowning in the numbers.

We should be ready to throw out the lifeline and to pull those people who are looking for the Truth, to get to our meetings and let them feel that we are real followers of Jesus, keeping to his teachings and not adoring human doctrines, but keeping to Biblical doctrines, studying the infallible Word of God daily.

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Preceding:

Personal thoughts, communication, establishing ecclesia and guest writings

The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation follow up

Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism

The Right One to follow and to worship

Wanting to live in Christ’s city

A participation in the body of Christ

Positive Preaching Day 2015

Doubting and going astray

Ecclesia to exist, grow and communities to have people communicating with each other

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Additional reading:

  1. Who are the Christadelphians
  2. What are Brothers in Christ
  3. Christadelphian people
  4. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  5. Strange Fire conference 2013
  6. Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace
  7. Being Missional
  8. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  9. Atonement And Fellowship 5/8
  10. Good or bad preacher
  11. Quibbling siblings united or allied children of an organisation or a church
  12. Reflection for today: hating your brother

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Further reading:

  1. Lessons Learned at Strange Fire
  2. A Vision of Holiness
  3. Praying in Circles
  4. In this Moment
  5. Wanting to be Heard
  6. truth nugget #66
  7. Unite against their corruption, not our church’s
  8. Prosperity Gospel – The Bane of The True Gospel
  9. The Conference Every Mega-Church Pastor Should Attend
  10. Millennials And Christianity!
  11. In Delight of the Deca-Church
  12. [TL;DR] In Defense of the Mega-Church
  13. Agree to Disagree
  14. Kingdom Building: The Large Church and the Small Church Working Together
  15. Mega Churches: What’s the big deal?
  16. 3 Reasons Why You Should Go To A Small Church
  17. Missed Opportunities
  18. Pastoral Environment and the Fight for Holiness
  19. Welcome to the Club
  20. 365 Day Photo Challenge 167/365 “Church on the Hill”
  21. Extravaganza City
  22. Instructed In God’s Ways
  23. Why Black Mega Church Pastors Catch Such Heat
  24. Book Review: The Blessed Church
  25. My Two Cents… conderning a famous mega-church preacher
  26. I don’t believe in mega churches
  27. American Christian Idol

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13 thoughts on “Engaging the culture without losing the gospel

  1. This is so true. “The measure of a church’s success is the number of lives that have been changed and transformed due to its proclamation both in word and in deed of the Kingdom of God.” And at the end of the day we all endure the test of times, to the glory of Yahwehl in Jesus’ name.

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