Thursday, February 10, 2005

In summary...

Perhaps this is the best way to sum up what it means to be the Church -- whether our part is through a local congregation, a global missions objective, the emerging church/movement, or any other ultimately significant part. From none other than Richard Foster, written in Freedom of Simplicity a quarter century ago:

As we go, let us clearly understand that global injustice places some new requirements upon global evangelism. The Good News must be contextualized into the culture in which it is proclaimed. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has no cultural presuppositions. It welcomes those elements of the culture that are not offensive to the Gospel message and rejects those that are. The enduring task of cross-cultural evangelism is to hammer out the difference. The Good News must be free of all racism and nationalism. We are global citizens with a global Gospel. Our concern is for the well-being of all peoples of the earth, not the selfish interests of any nation-state.
The Good News must be free of all militarism. It matters little if the militarism is in defense of the vested interests of the privileged elite or is a modern Zealot movement seeking justice through revolution. We dare not allow the little tin gods of our modern nation-states to draw us into their blasphemous intertribal wars.
The Good News must be given to Christ's favorites, the poor and the helpless. We must go, like the Samaritan, among the good and half-dead -- to the ghettos of America, to the slums of Brazil, to the refugee camps of Cambodia, to every hovel and hut of the earth.
The Good News must liberate -- truly liberate. Those who are in bondage to sin, those who are in bondage to poverty, those who are in bondage to brutal social conditions need to be set free. The liberating Gospel of Christ has not fully come until there is freedom from sin, freedom from economic injustice, freedom from structural evil.

The Good News must come in the power of God. No smooth words, no easy cliches, no enticing
gimmicks! All slick image-making advertising campaigns are an offense to the Gospel. Paul said, "The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power" (1 Cor. 4:19).

The Good News must be backed by integrity in our lives. We cannot proclaim his love if we close our hearts to the hungry. We cannot proclaim his salvation if we have not been saved from our
own greed. Falmboyant, properous Christians are an offense to third world peoples by their insensitivity to poverty and human deprivation, whether they come as traveling evangelists or sight-seeing vacationers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please make the correction to "every hovel and hut of the earth."