Moralise, Christianise or Evangelise

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Moralise, Christianise or Evangelise

18 November 2010 Hits:5326

Many people have completely the wrong idea about Christianity and what it means to be a Christian. The sad fact is often they get this wrong idea from Christians!  Let me explain…

Many people I speak with think that being a Christian is about being a “good” person and living a “good” life.  This message is communicated when the church takes on the role of moral policeman for society – thinking that its main role is to say what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour for everyone – even those who don’t consider themselves to be Christian.

The problem is that this moral message gets in the way of the church’s real message – the gospel, which is good news.  Some Christians are so busy trying to clean up others’ lives by Christianising them that they miss their real mission – that of evangelizing by sharing the true gospel.  The message of the moral police actually drives a wedge between Christians and the world that God loves.

Jesus didn’t behave this way so why has so much of the church bought into the lie that we are here to moralise and Christianise rather than evangelise?  It’s like trying to clean a fish before you’ve caught it.  Jesus hung around with all sorts of people who had been regularly rejected by the religious crowd of his day (see Mark 2:13-17).  The religious right, who did not understand such love and acceptance, scorned him.

God gave the same message to the Hebrews who had been taken into captivity to Babylon in 597 BC (see Jeremiah 29:4-14).  Jeremiah 29 is a letter to the exiles giving instructions on how God’s people are to live when they are foreigners in a strange land.  And what a strange place Babylon was! It was the place where astrology, and other occult practices, was developed. In their worship system, they had 37 supreme gods, and one of these, the god associated with the sun, was supreme over all the other gods. These people believed that numbers in some way had power over the gods they worshiped. They counted their gods and assigned a count number to each of the 36 lesser supreme gods, and then added up all of these numbers (from one to 36) and assigned the sum to the sun god – 666. They also practiced Knot Magic: The belief that tying and untying knots could cure all manner of illnesses.

In light of these and other strange and immoral practices you’d think that God would instruct his people to make banners and hold protest marches down the streets of Babylon – “Down with Knot Magic!” “God hates 666.”  “Astrologers will go to hell!”

But the message from God was very different.  God instructed his people to “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”  “Peace and prosperity” is the Hebrew word “shalom” which includes things like safety, happiness, friendliness, welfare, health, prosperity, peace, contentment, completeness, soundness and restoration.  This was the impact God’s people were to have on Babylon – this is the impact the church is meant to have on the world today!

Christians are not called to live as conspirators banded together against the world that is for the time their home.  Rather Jesus calls his people to live as salt and light “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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7 replies on “Moralise, Christianise or Evangelise”

Martinsays:

Another brilliant and challenging blog! Thank you so so much

TGsays:

So true. It makes society focus on what they are being told they can’t have and what they shouldn’t be doing, rather on the one thing that will determine where they will spend eternity – Jesus. I think the Church has largely got this so wrong. It’s so sad to me that most people have no idea that the church stands for anything more than a bunch of rules and regulations.

Natesays:

Thank God i was just about to join Westboro baptist based on their continual demonstrations of their conviction of other people’s condemnation. All that isnt worthy afterall, who knew?!! I hope they dont picket my funeral.

Daviniasays:

Yes. So good! Brilliant truth. Thanks for insightful article

Lynettesays:

When going to different festivals and in the market place – the church – to many, Jesus people are seen as people to be avoided or now irrelevant to today’s society or rules and regulations. The encounter of Almighty God who wants to connect with them personally and knows them greater than clairvoyants is powerful. See – Steven Bencarz testimony – exposing the new age. God encountered Steven and radically changed his life. God is real, partnering with us and revealing Himself – like to Muslims and new age in dreams and visions. Everyone is searching for truth and when the Holy Spirit touches heart’s God becomes real to them. God is sending Christians to where people are – whatever the lost believe or practice. Evangelizing with love and power.

Ray morelsays:

Thanks for another thought provoking article. I too use to have This passive approach to Christianity and muddied the waters of the calling of some Christians to the the salt and light by standing up and speaking out against some practices in “Babylon”. Recently I did this with the practice of throwing acid over your wife in a domestic dispute. I also speak out against a militant Islamic agenda (Jihad) to impose sharia law. If we all remain passive, and say nothing, then we may end up like Jews on the way to the ghetto. We all know what transpired after that. I respect your right to only evangelise, I do my best at this also, but to prolong life as we know it, to stand up on moral and Christian society influencing is also important. In fact it is the call of some to do this. There is a broad church, why disenfranchise some of it by saying only this box? Just my thoughts. Love you bro.

Tim Durrantsays:

I totally agree Ray.

Rob is quite right to prioritise evangelism and this latest ‘Golden Rule’ thing (which I disagree with him grouping it with other religions but that’s another story), but he seems timid to empower those who are called to be bold.
I don’t really understand his agenda here. He has himself been quite bold speaking out in the media about capital punishment and his disgust with Indonesia.
Apparently other stands on moral issues are simply “extremism” and shouldn’t be part of a Christian’s walk? It’s confusing.

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