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Preaching in the wilderness

May 3, 2012

For good or for ill, the church has lost its grip on society.

No longer is the church respected. Several newspapers are carrying the story of a doctor who has been fired from the hospital in which he worked. the doctor simply shared a prayer with colleagues. The judge hearing the case said “there is no place for religion at work.” I am not going to debate the rights and wrongs of his sacking or defend the Christians’ right to public expressions of faith, but what this does show is that the church of Jesus Christ no longer has influence in the world in which we live.

But despite the securlisation of our world, people still want something more. It may not be Jesus Christ, but they want something. They don’t know it, yet, but they need Jesus Christ. How then are they to find Him?

By the witness of the church! But how has the church reacted to securlisation? I think the simple answer is badly!

Churches, when faced with securlisation do one of four things:

  1. Pretend it isn’t happening – carry on regardless, sure this is the way we have always done things and society won’t change us!– the fundamentalist church
  2. Embrace it – just become what the world is! Anything goes and everything is welcome – the liberal church
  3. Understand it, but do little to change it – invite people in, make them feel at home and nab them for the church, a church which becomes shallow with no depth – the seeker sensitive church

But there is a fourth way – change it! But how will it be changed? By preaching into the wilderness, by calling out without fear or shame, by being the voice of just one, just the solitary one crying out! It is when we preach Jesus Christ that things change, when we declare his name valleys are filled, mountains are made straight, the rough is made smooth.

As we cry out so all flesh will see salvation.

 

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