This is a very important program that ministers, leaders, counselors, and pastors in the church should take the time to listen to. The White Horse Inn radio program recently did a show entitled The Foolishness of God in which a discussion took place on the relationship of the church to culture. There are a thousand different “approaches” out there. But more and more, it seems many within evangelicalism are bent on the idea that the primary role of the church is to address the various needs of the culture in various temporal ways, instead of primarily ministering the Gospel to its own people. This isn’t just in the emerging church now either, it’s in many average evangelical congregations and fellowships. The question is which approach is Biblical?
It seems many have folded now to the approach of “Deeds versus Creeds”. And it’s not that these agenda’s in the church to aid culture are bad in themselves, it’s that slowly (or quickly in some cases) the Gospel itself gets sidelined as a priority, put on the back burner, and in its place, programs and agenda’s to address the cultures’ various problems fill the vacuum. However, Scripture (God’s Word) and church history (the experience of the church over time since the ascension of Christ) shows that this is not the church’s primary role in the world. Rather it’s primary role is to minister the Gospel to its own people who then cannot help but take this message out into their world, having been transformed by this Gospel-preaching, befriending their neighbors and friends who don’t believe and sharing the Gospel with them.
In church history, particularly in the Reformation, when the church returned to this primary calling, it is during this activity that culture was impacted the most (contrary to how the world would advise us), hence, the foolishness of God as the true means for true change. Oddly enough though, when the church has made cultural transformation it’s primary agenda, culture became even more worldly (the Anabaptists departure from Reformational teaching, particularly as it relates to this point).
This episode of the White Horse Inn discusses Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:25 in which he says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men,” and how this relates to the Gospel, the church and culture. Any leaders or pastors in the ministry should take the time to consider what is being said in this discussion and see if its own agenda’s or programs are sidelining the Gospel message that Christ alone saves sinners. This is not always an intentional thing that occurs, on the part of leaders in the ministry, but it’s a subtle thing that can slip in amongst us. It is very easy to get distracted in our primary duty as priests before our God and ministers of the Gospel to our people. And what a better way for Satan to distract us from that duty by getting us busy with a thousand “other” duties that sometimes have little to do with the Gospel that saves alone.