• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Anything New Under the Sun?

Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”  The Scriptures tell us: “there is nothing new under the sun.”

British historian, Ian Shaw, in his recent work, Churches, Revolutions and Empires, demonstrates the very truth of this statement.  Using extensive research, Shaw highlights critical issues faced by the Church in the 18th and 19th centuries.  The examples he chooses would make you think he was talking about our current global context.   Shaw writes: “Many believed that, with the changing social and religious geography of Britain, urgent and innovative responses were needed if the church was to remain relevant in a new context.”  Sound vaguely familiar?  Shaw goes on to say: “One influential experiment was played out in the years after 1815, when the brilliant young minister, Thomas Chalmers … developed an approach to urban mission, which he publicized and promoted through his writings.”  How interesting that in 1815 the idea of ‘urban ministry’ was already in play.imagesCAVNOKB2

In our current day, we often juxtapose “being” and “doing”, or put another way, “character” and “competence”.  Time and again, one element of this combination is stressed to the exclusion of the other.  Many argue that what is most important is ‘being’ or our character.  God is not interested in numbers, but He is primarily interested in our heart.  Others counter by stating that the Bible is replete with instructions about stewardship and management of resources and that His ultimate desire is that we bear fruit in specific terms.

What’s interesting is that this same discussion has played out at many points in past centuries.  However, the debate waned at those times when people saw the two as being inseparable.  You cannot talk about “being” without it leading to “doing”.  You cannot speak about “character” without it implying the need for “competence”.

As we begin to move all our workers through the first core skills module on evangelism, our stance will be that spiritual intimacy with Christ will lead to sharing one’s story with another; and that sharing one’s story with another in a clear and contextual way will push us back to a deeper reliance upon and intimacy with God.  Both are equally essential in our ministries.



4 Responses

  1. I agree, David. This last paragraph of yours reminds me of the heart of the Gospel, i.e. when I understand the great, free gift God has given me through Christ, then I cannot help but to share it out of the overflow of joy from my inner being. And the more we share the Good News, the more we realize just how reliant we are on Christ. Round and round we go.

    Thankfully, the Gospel is true under the sun and the rain (a little play there on the blog post title)!

    • I think people get tripped up thinking that the elements of being and doing are somehow a two step process, rather than an integrated ‘system’ that simply feeds each part. They are inseparable as I said and therefore must function in tandem with one another.

      • This is part of the delicate balance of the Gospel, in not falling to one side or the other, but giving importance to both. Something we need to help one another more with.

  2. David, I too agree. It is definitely a “both/and” to be kept in balance.

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