Sometimes Scripture is complex and difficult to understand. But, sometimes it’s just simple. Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 is an example of the simple. Isaiah says to the nation of Judah, “…stop doing wrong. Learn to do right…” Pretty simple, and amazingly difficult. Here’s the audio of my sermon last Sunday from this passage. It’s titled, “Stop doing bad stuff, start doing good stuff.” Can’t get simpler than that!
Maybe there is no “right way” to do church. That thought occurred to me the other day while reading Mission in the 21st Century by Andrew Walls and Cathy Ross. The “right way” to do church may be the way that is authentic to the group of Christians at any given location and time. For instance, the first followers of Christ were Jews. They went to the Temple, they observed Jewish dietary laws, they avoided eating with non-Jews. But Paul was quick to tell non-Jews they did not have to do “church” like the Jewish Christians. Gentile Christian churches took on a markedly different style, form, and practice than Jewish Christian churches.
The same thing is happening today. A smorgasbord of church polity, practice, and priorities are evident across the Christian community today. Churches in the two-thirds world exhibit authentic spiritual vitality in forms unlike their Western counterparts. Maybe there is no right way to do church. Maybe the right way depends upon the context, witness, and authenticity of the group from which it emerges. Or, to put it another way, maybe all churches aren’t driven by the same purposes. Which means, not one cookie-cutter approach, but the rainbow richness of God’s Spirit moving in various ways in various places. What do you think?
I just posted my sermon for this Sunday, November 18, 2007 — An Opportunity To Testify, based on Luke 21:5-19. This is a first draft, as I am running late this week, so check back later on Friday for some revisions. Have a great Sunday!
Friday, Nov 18 — Made some minor revisions, but still a work in progress. Any thoughts?