Thursday, October 1, 2015

Greatest Obstacle

I was in a meeting the other day, and the question was asked of someone, "what do you see as the greatest obstacle to reaching the area?" The answer did not surprise me, but I think the mindset behind it is common, but misses the point. Christians confuse winning individuals with winning a nation (in the geo-political sense of the word). They are convinced that the great american cultural tide flowing against Christianity is what is to be overcome if we are to reach people. Therefore we hear proposed solutions to obstacles to reaching people:

"God needs to be back in schools!"
"The Ten Commandments still need to be taught and posted!"
"Marriage needs to be back to a man and woman!"
"Nativity scenes should be put on the courthouse lawns!"
"We need a Christian back in the White House or on Capital Hill!
"We need prayer in a our school functions!"

And of course with the most recent incident of the KY court clerk and her marriage license civil disobedience, lighter fluid has been poured on the Christian fire of former days of a national moral conscience. But I really think all of these things are not the road back to making more followers of Jesus.

The advance of the church and expansion of the Kingdom of God is not tied to whether or not there are nativity scenes in courthouse lawns. In fact, historically, baptist have argued for a separation between church and state, not in the sense of removal of all religious symbols, but in the sense of we do not want the state inserting itself into the practice of one's faith, or endorsing one particular faith over the other. Especially the Anabaptist strain of our faith history was vigilant in its commitment to this principle, almost to a fault. The actual phrase "a wall of separation of church between and state" came from a baptist to then presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson, making sure that he had no plans to set up a state church or national religion. The first amendment provides freedom of religion and laws prohibiting the free exercise thereof; basically, it is protecting the church from the government.

So, there's my soapbox for those that want a return to national morality, and Christianity specifically, to achieve revival in America. Nominal Christianity is fading, which by the way is one of the main contributing factors to increase in immorality, and this is a good thing. Statistically younger generations are more willing to listen about faith and truth, but less willing to go to a church. Therefore, the greatest obstacle to reaching our area is getting our people to love their neighbors, build relationships with them, evangelize and disciple them in their homes, then integrate them into churches, Hence, the number one obstacle is us, and our unwillingness to reach unbelievers personally, where we live.

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