Monday, February 16, 2009

Prophetic Words from the Past

I just finished reading God in the Wasteland by David F. Wells. I had to read it for class, and I cruised the entire thing this afternoon/evening. The book mainly deals with the church's struggle with modernity, but towards the end there was a few ideas that really stuck out to me. Here is what he said:

"...a church that can find in the midst of our present cultural breakdown the opportunity to be God's people in a world that has abandoned God. To be the church in this way, it is also going to have to find in the coming generation leaders who exemplify this hope for its future and who will devote themselves to seeing it realized.... They will have to rise above the internal politics of the evangelical world and refuse to accept the status quo where that no longer serves the vital interests of the kingdom of God. They will have to decline to spend themselves in the building of their own private kingdoms and refuse to be intimidated into giving the church less and other than what it needs. Instead, they will have to begin to build fresh, in cogently biblical ways, among the decaying structures that now clutter the evangelical landscape. To succeed, they will have to be people of large vision, people of courage, people who have learned again what it means to live by the Word of God, and, most importantly, what it means to live before theholy God of that Word. These leaders must successfully accomplish two major projects. First, the church is going to have to learn how to detect worldliness and make a clear decision to be weaned from it.... Second, the church is going to have to get much more serious about itself, cease trying to be a supermarket serving the needs of religious consumers, and become instead a force of countercultural spirituality that draws from the interconnected lives of its members and is expressed through their love, service, worship, understanding, and proclamation."

Now, the most interesting thing about all that is that he wrote it back in 1994 - 15 years ago. That's why I believe it was in some ways prophetic. From my perspective, these things are coming to pass. There is a new generation of leader being established that is doing things differently - better. The past is the past, and I'm not saying there was anything wrong with the way things were done. But continuing to do the same thing in the future is just poor logic and a lack of wisdom. The things he wrote about back then are happening now. If you don't see that, take a look around at the many failing and dying churches that were started within the last 50 years. Then, if you want to see what the new era looks like - go visit the websites I list under "My Influences" on the right side of this page. You will find that these guys are doing things in a new way - but they have reclaimed a tight grip on the Word of God and are letting it determine their worldview once again.

When you look around the landscape of Christianity in America - what do you see?

I have the song "God of this City" stuck in my head tonight...

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