The Christian community is no stranger to controversies around emerging trends. Remember Asbury? It seems like ages ago, but the revival that fascinated the nation was only four months back. There’s all kinds of debate around The Chosen TV series now- whether it is heretical or a helpful and innovative way to share the Gospel in today’s culture. There are celebrity pastors, speakers, authors, worship leaders, new music styles and bands, and political engagement on both sides of the proverbial aisle. Denominations are getting roiled with controversy as well- the united methodist church is shedding congregations like crazy because of their stance on Biblical marriage has shifted. Just this last week, Rick Warren and Saddleback were officially booted out of the Southern Baptist Convention because of their position on ordaining women.
Now, all of these issues are contentious to a significant degree, and most of them are gray areas. I don’t even have a hard stance on many of them- preferring to try to keep an open mind and my eyes on the EFCA statement of faith for the black and white issues. But even that perspective itself can be a controversial position. It seems like debate and division are all but an inevitable constant within Christianity. So what can we do about it?
How do we formulate positions on what is “Biblical” and what is not? How can we know if it is from the LORD? And how then should we respond? These are questions we can’t avoid. Yes they are inevitable, and yes most of them impact us directly or at least indirectly. The world around us is changing at a breakneck pace. Which new technologies and philosophies can we incorporate into the Church to help us accomplish our mission of making disciples today? Make no mistake. our mission field is changing, and so must we, at least to some degree. But how do we know how to draw the lines and when to step over them? Just think- how many times have friends asked, or posted their positions online about these things?
We can take instruction from how the Early Church handled some sweeping and radical transformations within a few years of its birth. In fact, this is an amazing manual of how to incorporate change into the Church. As I’ve studied Acts 11, I’ve been convicted, encouraged, and inspired as to how we should reflect Christ today in an ever-changing society.
I invite you to join with us this weekend as we walk through Acts 11 together. Our socially distanced service is Saturday afternoon at 3:30, and our Sunday morning service is at 10:15: you can join us online or in person. We also have excellent Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!
-Pastor Nathan Rice