The whole idea of the church being Christ’s witness in the World has been a divisive issue based on the differing hermeneutical understanding of the bible and its application. This is a matter that has been controversial and divisive in the history of the church. The scribes and pharisees questioned Jesus’s interaction and association with publicans and sinners but Jesus was instant in asserting that the healthy have no need of the doctor but the sick. Jesus in saying those words, was defining His mission on earth to reach the lost and the suffering to restore them and the mission could only be accomplished by being with his target group of people. The church today is the representative of Jesus and cannot be any different, we cannot avoid the sinners and expect to bring them to Christ, we have to go where they’re which the essence of the great commission to go into all the world to make disciples of the sinners.
In reviewing the work of Martyn Percy, Ian Markham and Daniel Joshua describe his world as that of faith, church, music, culture, the social sciences and controversy. He is described as “contextual theologian” or even a “practical theologian”, Contextual in that Percy believes that context is both important as theological ideas emerge and in the application of theological ideas in different situations and practical because Percy is as interested in what people do as in what they say. In reading this review by Markman and Daniel and their reference to Martyn Percy’s controversy, it was easy to identify and agree with his discourse and line of thought as he advocates for the church not being an exclusive club of believers but also as a refuge for the sinner. He sees the importance of the application of theological ideas in different situations in real life and is ready to engage constructively with social sciences rather than antagonize them. He embraces a faith that recognizes grace in other traditions, whether explicitly secular or in a different faith tradition and believes that the Christian God is at work everywhere.
Martyn Percy thus invites us to be like Jesus who was controversial in mixing with publicans and sinners in order to win them to His kingdom. He realizes that we cannot win the sinners by segregating ourselves in the name of light has no fellowship with darkness and invites to be the city on a hill that cannot be hidden or the lamp. that is set on the table to give light. Jesus makes it clear that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we add flavor to life and light the world. It is only by being closer to the sinners and loving them that they will see Christ in us and believe in the Gospel. Martyn Percy is however not without controversy in his stand about adultery and homosexuality which have received a lot of attention and which I personally find uncomfortable. He writes,
“Lesbians, gay and bisexual Christians will not suffer
Discrimination in heaven. In the kingdom of God, as
Faithful Christians, all enjoy a full and equal citizenship.”
“I say this in all seriousness: I believe that a number of people
Who embark on affairs do so to keep their marriages together and
to ensure the longevity of their relationship, rather than
Intending to betray trust or undermine their
Partner or their relationship.”
I would rather that we hate sin but love the sinner by sharing in love, the truth of God’s word and not utterly condemning and alienating them. We cannot approve of that which is explicitly condemned by the inerrant Word of God but we can communicate with love the grace of God that brings salvation to all through Jesus Christ. I like Martyn Percy’s approach of contextual theology and practical theology and there’s much to learn from his approach if we are to effectively reach more people, especially the millennials whose liberal approach to life poses a challenge.
 KJV Bible. Luke 2:16-17.
 Markham, Ian S. and Joshua Daniel, eds., Reasonable Radical?: Reading The Writings Of Martyn Percy (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2018). Kindle, Loc 135.
 Ibid., Kindle, loc 145.
 Ibd., Kindle, Loc 167.
 Martyn Percy. “Sex, Sense and Non-sense for Anglicans” 5
 Martyn Percy. The Salt of The earth, 214-215