Maybe it is just me, but there seems to be a pungent sense amongst ministers today, and indeed in times past, with those preparing for the professional ministry and those who are already well seasoned, that we mostly focus on those things that divide instead of what unites us. In pursuing our various customized agendas, we may collectively be missing the ultimate target for the Kingdom agenda. Since the Church is supposed to be mission-oriented in making disciples for the kingdom, when was the last time that we spoke about how can we work together in achieving this?
Despite our culture and day-to-day reality appearing as if we are living in the worst of times, I believe that the Church is living in the best of times in terms of its ability to accomplish its mission. Ultimately, what binds us together is Christ as our leader and the fact that we are on the same team. We have so many things in common: hurting neighbors, personal testimonies, new converts, and the reality that we are co-laborers in the Kingdom. These should probably be part of the primary focus of our conversations when we come together. Yet, they are often pushed aside as being insignificant, likely as a result of us becoming so complacent with establishing our differences and vain philosophies that we have forgotten the main thing which is the Kingdom agenda.
The book Bad Religion: How We Have Become a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat is an in-your-face read that urges us to rethread the fabric of our culture with moral correction, self-examination, and chastisement. Such conviction overwhelmed me before I made it past the prologue. In fact, it made me stop to think about a biblical parallel with the spiritual climate addressed by the author. It seems that as a country at large we acting and living out Judges 21:25, “Every man did what right in his own eyes.” In that time the people had literally forgotten about God. At best they viewed him as a sugar daddy to meet their materials needs and not as the God who sustains them through covenant loyalty. What happened to their commitment to serve the Lord and follow his commands, beginning with the first commandment? According to Douthat, today’s spiritual climate also involves many heretics who vow one thing and practice another.
We as ministers today speak of the Bible as if it is just another book. We have become well trained in mastering the thought processes, dogma, and arguments of great theologians, yet we invest little time in the Word with Master Theologian. As a result, we miss his heartbeat on things like unity. Far be it from us all to speak ever so clever, speak in thousands of tongues, perform many miracles, yet deny or halt the ever active transforming power of Jesus Christ in our own lives. It is in Christ that we have sustained commonality, the same mission, and an unending opportunity to impact our culture with the Kingdom agenda to combat bad religion.