Venturing into this New Year, I and my colleagues at College Church possess a yearning to help the church pursue the Mission of God (the Missio Dei). Please let me explain.
Pastors and church leaders have a dual responsibility; with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, they must work hard to be good interpreters of both the Scriptures and the culture. Showing Christians how to apply the Bible to life should occupy much of the pastor’s time, both in and out of the pulpit. Far from being silent, biblically literate Christians will be culturally engaged Christians convinced that the Bible addresses all aspects of life.
Those who are called to the ministry of the Word are often pilloried in the media and popular culture. Faithful ministers who act on biblical convictions are viewed as buffoons and bigots. While, with Paul, they are sometimes rightly counted fools for Christ’s sake, the bias of the culture against biblical religion makes it even more important for pastors to maintain a good reputation both inside and outside the Church. Integrity and fidelity must be guarded.
In light of these challenges, cultural engagement is a daunting but necessary task. Biblical Christianity is truly revolutionary. Some aspects of the culture must be challenged by the Church. Other aspects must be transformed. Still others should be embraced and celebrated. Understanding, teaching, and modeling the appropriate posture toward the culture is just as much a part of serving the burden of gospel ministry in the 21st century as it was in the first century.