Sunday, October 30, 2022

We're not promised a friendly surrounding culture.

I've made comments like this on Facebook many times, so I thought it would be good to post it here.

We're not promised a friendly culture surrounding us. The scriptural norm is more like 'those who wish to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted'.  I think part of our problem in western culture is that the church (in various forms) has taken having a surrounding culture that is friendly to us for granted, and regarded it as a right.

The only part of the New Testament that seems to me to even hint at having a friendly surrounding culture is 1 Tim 2:1-8(in the sense of 'so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity'), and there it is only implied that it might come as a result of us praying for all people (and not just praying for those in authority, as we sometimes pull out of it). I sometimes wonder if we're losing the 'culture war' because we've been trying to recover a friendly-to-us surrounding culture without having laid a foundation of praying for all people, including those who would oppose and persecute us. We've tried to battle a 'culture war' without laying the foundation needed to have the outcome we want. It's not exactly surprising that, in the world outside the church, we're losing. And we're seeing that world infiltrate the church.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

On why we go to church

 Just came up to 1 Cor 14 in my reading, and I have the following note attached to the chapter: 

Just read I Cor 14 in my regular Bible reading, and it struck me that underlying the whole chapter is the assumption that in coming to church, you should not be coming for what you can be getting spiritually, but for what you can be giving spiritually.

The person who comes to church and just sits there speaking in tongues, Paul indicates, is contributing to his own spiritual life well enough, but is not contributing to the spiritual life of the rest of the church in any way that couldn't be accomplished just as well by himself.  But that's not what church is for.  We come together to build up each other, not just to get ourselves built up.

And it strikes me that this is in some ways opposite to the way we often think about church.  The idea is often that each of us comes in order to get his spiritual tank "filled up"for the week - we come to get something for ourselves to help us make it.  The picture Paul gives here, though, is that we should come to build up the spiritual life of the rest of the church with whatever of the diverse spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us.

This difference in our motivation for gathering as a church seems to me to be at least worth trying to wrap our heads around.