Light in a Dark World

December 10, 2011

The sixth reason why individual Presbyterians must be equipped for stand-alone discipleship is perhaps the most obvious one: we have an incredible challenge to evangelize our own PCUSA tribe, the “world” of which we are a part.

A word of explanation about terms: We are hearing more Presbyterians talk about the missional challenge before us, but they may not be referring to the same dynamic I am. Many groups are co-opting the term “missional,” but its original meaning (according to authors like Michael Frost and Darryl Guder) has to do with incarnational ministry outside the church-circle. A missional advance is one in which a missional community is formed in a new cultural context.  People are invited not to extract themselves from that culture into the “church” culture but to incarnate Christ’s life in the new one.

What I am talking about today is the dynamic of reformation within the PCUSA, to reach (again) the people whose Presbyterian culture has become a worldly one. This culture foreign to the gospel demands grace as a right, reduces morality to brain chemistry (Paul Zak), or redefines good and evil (Isaiah 5:20). In this sophisticated environment where many Presbyterians have been inoculated against the Real Faith by quasi-theology, evangelists who know the difference between what the Scripture teaches and the world promotes are most urgently needed.

If not expressed precisely in these terms, advocates of GLBT ordination have seen the PCUSA (and other mainlines) as their “mission field.” If the church could give approval to same-sex marriage, for instance, then these advocates believed the civil culture would have to buy it, too. What’s interesting is that the world (American society) has capitulated to the pressure to endorse same-sex arrangements, and now the arguments that managed that feat in society have been imported into the church. By standing firm the last thirty-five years, the conservative wing of the church has actually exposed LGBT “liberation” as a worldly agenda, belying any claim that PCUSA endorsement of homosexual commitments is a prophetic ministry or a light to the world. What it is has been revealed: the world’s darkness encroaching upon the church.

So the PCUSA needs light-bearers, individuals and congregations committed to godliness, costly discipleship, and prophetic ministry. As long as there are candles alit, the darkness cannot take over. We have a vested interest in keeping ourselves and the PCUSA in the light. Our fellow Presbyterians comprise not only advocates of unbiblical practice and prophetic witnesses of the transforming gospel, but also those “civilians” in this spiritual battle who will be affected by the outcome. They will lose their way if the darkness takes over, and who will be responsible for that?

So take this as a call to action. Evangelical/conservative Presbyterians still have a vital role to play to further God’s purposes in the world of the PCUSA. If you count yourself as a “civilian” in this spiritual conflict, I encourage you to seek out the equipping you need in order to withstand the challenges to your faith, your walk with Christ, your spiritual leadership, and your mission.

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One Response to “Light in a Dark World”

  1. Jake Horner Says:

    hmmmm….

    Is this why I am studying Hebrew 24/7?

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