Many of the questions today simply were not in play that long ago. For one, governmental regulations have a far wider reach than they did even 100 years ago. We work, play, worship, and live in spaces regulated by government. Just look around the next time you step foot in your local church. Some of the building was probably subsidized through state and federal tax exemptions. Any recent construction likely encountered local zoning ordinances. The certificate of occupancy, fire code compliance, and any food service permits all reflect government regulation. Today, the government, its money, and its laws are everywhere.
Miami University anthropologist James Bielo studies the reurbanization of evangelicals and says he’s seeing more of the younger ones leave the suburbs for the city. “It’s sort of a hot thing,” he says. Mark Mulder, a sociologist at evangelical Calvin College in Michigan, says some evangelicals subscribe to what he calls the “miracle motif” — the belief that racial justice depends on more people becoming Christian — and others say that’s not enough, believing systemic changes must also be made in society. “Perkins and the CCDA,” Mulder says, “get traction in speaking to both communities.”
You build your character, and let God build your platform and influence.
- An idol is anything that promises a life of security and joy apart from God
- Idols engage the deepest emotions in our hearts
- Idols need to be protected
- Idols demand sacrifices to keep them happy
- The gospel overcomes our idolatry
Many Christians are fooled by the way some preachers talk about the law. In just the same way that Premier Booting Services promises “compliance,” preachers claim that the application of the law to a situation will bring about obedience. A Premier sales pitch—say, to an office building manager—might go something like, “A contract with Premier Booting services will ensure that no one illegally parks in your lot ever again. Once someone is booted by us, they know better than to make that mistake again.” Sounds like a sermon, doesn’t it?
But remember, it’s not actually in Premier Booting Services’ best interest to provide compliance! A booting company doesn’t want compliance, it wants violation.
- “I just don’t think about it.”
- “I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.”
- “The music isn’t that good.”
- “The preaching isn’t strong.”
- “We’ve got too many church problems right now.”
- “Our church is already too crowded.”
- “Nobody ever challenged me to invite anyone.”
- “I don’t know how to start the conversation.”
- “It’s the Spirit’s job—not mine—to bring people to church.”
- “It’s too far for people to come.”
What they’re actually saying is, “I don’t have any ideas that are guaranteed to work, and not only that, are guaranteed to cause no criticism or moments when I’m sure the whole thing is going to fall apart.”
And that sentence is probably true.
But no good ideas? C’mon.