American Christians are starting to get little uncomfortable.
No, we aren't suffering intense persecution like our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. We aren't being driven from our homes or exiled from our communities. We aren't martyrs, and we shouldn't pretend that we are. We're just getting a little uncomfortable, which just might be a good thing.
As we watch our culture rapidly and radically shift, it’s clear that holding to the historical teachings of Christianity is going to become increasingly difficult.
Holding to biblical convictions regarding human sexuality and gender, the sanctity of preborn life, and even sharing our faith with others, is no longer considered to be simply unpopular, backward, narrow-minded, or intolerant--it’s considered morally wrong.
Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize holiness often lack openness and honesty? Have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize openness and honesty often lack holiness?
One church seems to be filled with people who seem to have it all together, but who never bear the burdens of others or share their own. They keep to themselves, play the part, and mind their own business.
Another church is open, friendly, inviting, and ‘real,’ but never takes holiness too seriously. “Rawness” is elevated above righteousness.
Openness and Holiness—are they friends or enemies?
Many times this year, I’ve been in the car on my way to the office, when it suddnely dawns on me: “I can’t believe I get to do this full time!” It’s an incredible privilege to be in full-time ministry, and it's something I hope I never take for granted. I’ve learned so much in my first year as a senior pastor, and I hope these lessons that I’m still learning will be a blessing to you as well. I’m jotting down them down in no particular order and I fully expect I could list even more than just these.
It has been several years ago now, but I was once speaking with a children’s director at a church in Maryland about kids ministry. While talking, this man pointed to a picture on the wall in a classroom that really bothered him. It was a picture of Noah’s Ark, similar to this one…
Our day is a day of controversy. Our society is plagued with gender dysphoria, the loss of basic human rights, and the total misperception of personal identity. Many of these issues, along with countless others, would have been outrageous to suggest a few decades ago, and while the church largely stands united on many of these fronts, there is one issue that seems to stand out when one considers how many churches today draw up lines of disagreement, especially over the last few months. That issue deals with the role of women in ministry and consequently draws into question the historic mistreatment of women both within and without the church.
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