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  • Writer's pictureDwight Smith

Theological Amnesia That Results in National Disaster, PART 2

(Phrase coined by Paul House)


Read Part 1 HERE




21st Century Rule of Life for Christians and the Church


Jesus issues us a challenge. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16, cf 17-22 ESVi)


Paul confirming in other passages the risk we face when we follow Jesus, exhorts that we respond. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2, KJV)


The most important things about what the Bible teaches are on the cusp of being declared “hate.” In some nations of the earth, they already are! In the West, they are already believed to be so culturally, but the years ahead will see them declared to be so legally. And, what will we do?


To name a few, what are these points of tension?

  1. There is only one pathway to God, through the God/man Jesus. Though we respect pluralism in our constitution and in our midst, this must be declared. It is not so much that we believe this to be, but that the Bible says it is true. And, when all is said and done, we are people formed by the Bible.

  2. The value of human life is based upon God’s creation of men and women in His image. Abortion, murder, character assassination, cancel culture, gender confusion, lying, cheating, stealing, homosexuality, divorce, sexual abuse, immorality, adultery, etc. are all counter to God’s image and creation.

  3. Evil is present in and animates all people. Objective moral and ethical convictions are needed as a standard of community and common good. Where they exist, even non Christians have a better opportunity to live a life closer to God’s designs.

  4. Evil has to be disciplined and judged by law. The common moral and ethical good needs to be protected and administered by government.

  5. The closer law conforms to God’s words, the more it will be just and will also discipline evil. Government needs to base itself on objective moral and ethical standards.

  6. The further law wanders from or disregards God’s words, the more evil will be released in a society.Without the discipline of law, it will overwhelm a society.

  7. The promise of salvation from God through Jesus in time, should be the central animation to human existence. We unapologetically defend and declare our commitment to this end.


What kind of lifestyle can we build that continues to champion our personal relationship to God and active service to Him, while also focusing on the declaration of the Gospel, in spite of the context? Taking into consideration that while our message (taken from God in His Bible) is and must be strident, our dealing with people must always be compassionate. What kind of a lifestyle can we build that wages war against the kingdom of Satan?


  1. Prepare your heart and mind to suffer. We should expect no treatment different from our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. The kind of suffering may differ. But the rejection and treatment of us will be based upon their rejection of Him and what He stands for. (John 15:20-25)

  2. Prepare your lifestyle to thrive in spite of suffering, and actively benefit others with all that God has given you to steward. Use the wealth that God gives you to assist other believers who are in the midst of more strident loses that will come from persecution. (Hebrews 10:32-39)

  3. Choose wisely who you trust. Honor all people, pray for all people, minister to all people without respect, but have caution in who you partner with for the kingdom. We can be friendly acquaintances to all, friends with most, but only partners with a few. (Matthew 13)

  4. Consider decentralizing nearly every facet of your church life. The real work of evangelism and maturing believers is always labor intensive and relational. Seizing the already decentralized nature of daily living, allow both evangelism and maturing believers to be more consistently accomplished through Christ’s people. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

  5. Chose wisely what topics you deal with publicly. We are to be wise and gentle in all we do. Wisdom seeks to understand the people and context in which we live, act in integrity, while allowing God the Spirit to do what only the Spirit can and will do. Debate in moments of enflamed historical moments are better had in small private numbers. (Matthew 10:16)

  6. Focus on evangelism in every dimension of public ministry and private encounters. Allow the people of God to be the primary message bearers of our Gospel mandate. (Ephesians 3:10-11)

  7. Form young leaders and couples to live a life committed to Christ and the kingdom of God. Make this a primary task of existing leadership. (2 Timothy 2)

  8. Build a short, simple Biblically focused catechism to continually rehearse and teach the people for whom God has given you responsibility. (See my suggestion below)

  9. Be careful about fighting public battles about issues that only the Gospel reception enlightens. (Matthew 7:6). Influence government, business and educational structures where you can. But, take into account that this nation has jettisoned any accountability to Biblical truth. Measure the cost, speak wisely when you can, prepare for hostility, and in some cases know that you, your family, your job, may be “cancelled” or, judged by law as a “law breaker.”

  10. Pray actively for the revealing and judgement by God on evil. Some acts of our fellow citizens are so horrific that they need to be judged. But, only God has the right to take up the task of holding people accountable for their moral disobedience. Interpersonally, Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies. We stand prepared to suffer the costs of obeying His words. Where government serves its primary purpose, evil will be held accountable. Whether or not government actually completes its task is irrelevant to our call to pray for government. We pray as Paul admonished us in 1 Timothy 2:2, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

  11. Assess your leadership among God’s people and:


Simplify

“to reduce to basic essentials”

  1. The elements of the faith that are needed to be understood

  2. The processes used to deliver all aspects of the faith

Diversify

“to produce variety”

  1. Use more people

  2. Provide more varied access

  3. Create more diverse written instruments

Decentralize

“the dispersion or distribution of functions and powers”

  1. Create more groups

  2. Train more people

  3. Give away more responsibility

Interdepend

“to depend upon one another : to be in

a state of mutual dependence”

  1. Understand your gifted differentness’

  2. Align yourselves in the work to be done

Focus

“directed attention”

  1. Detail your Biblically derived outcomes clearly

  2. Review those outcomes regularly

  3. Measure the results.

Maranatha!

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