Thursday, March 25, 2010

Worldliness does not equal Pre-evangelism

Again, R.C. Jr. has waxed eloquent as he calls us away from the modern view that we must "immerse ourselves in the culture" if we ever think we can win them. This one hits home with some clarity and conviction. I myself have often times toyed with the latest sports score, or movie interest in hopes that I could sound more "hip" or "up-to-date" as I talked with those outside the church. I mean, who wants to sound "disconnected" from society and culture! I didn't want to sound like I was Amish or something! How dreadful (do you sense sarcasm? If so, you have passed the first part of the test. Next, read what Sproul says about this...)

We must stop confusing worldliness with pre-evangelism.

The devil has perfected any number of ways to profane the holy. Worse still, he has perfected any number of ways of encouraging us to do the same. Our worldliness is problem enough. The devil scores the most style points, however, when he persuades us to baptize our worldliness by thinking it somehow holy. So he has done with our wholesale immersion in the culture. He has led us from the observation that Paul quoted an unbelieving poet into believing that our mass consumption of mass quantities of mass culture is a sacrifice the pious ought to be ready to make for the sake of those outside the faith.

How, we wonder, will we ever get the chance to speak with our unbelieving neighbors unless we too get lost in the matrix of Hollywood's latest hits? How can we direct our unbelieving neighbors away from American idols, unless we too learn to sing their songs? And so we spend our time and treasure down at Vanity Fair, never realizing, to mix a metaphor, that we are growing donkey ears. Worse still, we are growing coarse tongues, and numb consciences.

First century Rome was a sports crazed culture. Sundry stadia still dot their ancient cities, all across their empire. As Christianity spread as well, but before Christians would be dragged to these sites to become sport themselves, the Christians did not attend the Roman games. No, they did not organize a boycott in order to protest the skimpy clothing of the combatants. Nor did they carry signs outside the gatherings prophetically denouncing the violence of the games. Their reason for not attending was far more spiritual—they just didn't care. Their lives were focused on better things. This doesn't mean, of course, that the first century Christians were too austere to go to the games. The point isn't that godliness is next to crankiness. Instead, their joys were too grand to be compared to having your favorite athlete win the laurel.

Christ has given us life, and life abundant. And we fill our lives with petty trifles. We think we're doing it for the lost, but are instead showing how lost we are. What the lost need from us is not that we would live lives like theirs, not that we would be consumed with the petty and insignificant. They do not need one more conversation around the water cooler about last night's episode. What they need is to see lives lived for something more important than "Must see TV." We do not need to learn the jargon of this subculture or that. Instead we need to live lives that speak plainly, and we need to speak plainly about our life in Christ. "Repent and believe the good news" is understandable in any language. Better still, when we are speaking our language, at least we will hear it. If the lost are not found through our faithful lives, we are still blessed with faithful lives. Worldliness is no virtue, no matter what end we say it serves. If we were honest, we would admit that it serves our flesh. But, not only are Cretans liars, but Christians are too.

R.C. Sproul Jr. , An excerpt from his book "Believing God"


Anna Michael said...

Thank you for that true reminder! R.C. Sproul Jr. gives it out, hard and true! It is all too easy for a Christian to follow the world's crowd, believing they will convert the lost, but what he is blinded to is the fact that truly he is converting himself to the worldly knowledge of sin and spiritual sacrifice.

Puritan Dilemma said...

Yes, we may not agree with Sproul 100% of the time, but he is dead on here! did you see the previous post as well? Hope they are all helpful

Gospel Preacher said...

I know how easy it is to lose track of time and not post, but it's been four months now since your last post. I speak for the host of your faithful readers when I ask you to post again soon. ;) Love you!