In his latest book Onward author Russell Moore in the chapter entitled “A Gospel Counter-Revolution” talks about a Gospel counter revolution. He was talking to the late theologian Carl F. H. Henry about the miserable shape of the church. Henry seemed not the least bit unnerved. “He said: Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic. Of course, there is hope for the next generation of the church. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current Christian subculture. They are probably still pagans.
Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked. “Who knew that God would raise up a C. S. Lewis, once an agnostic professor, or a Charles Colson, once Richard Nixon’s hatchet man, to lead the 20th. Century church. They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors of the faith.
Of course, he knew what he was talking about, because the same principle applied to Henry himself. Who knew that God would raise up a non-religious newspaper man from a nominally Lutheran family, save him, and then equip him to defend the truthfulness of the Scriptures and the necessity of Christian social witness for generations of evangelical Christians? But that’s precisely what happened.”
This is something we need to remember as we seek to witness for Christ in our daily lives. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul said: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” The people to whom we witness may not look like us. They may have tattoos, long hair and ride motorcycles. (I am not trying to stereotype anyone but rather make us think about the extent of the Gospel on our culture.)
Moore than says: “The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynistic, profanity-spewing, hip-hop artist right now. The next Charles Spurgeon might be managing an abortion clinic right now. The next Mother Teresa might be a heroin-addicted porn star right now. The next Augustine of Hippo might be a sexually promiscuous cult member right now, just like, come to think of it, the first Augustine of Hippo was.
But the Spirit of God can turn all that around, and seem to delight to do so. The new birth doesn’t just transform lives, creating repentance and faith; it also provides new leadership to the church, and fulfills Jesus’ promise to gift His church with everything needed for her onward march through space and time (Ephesians 4:8-16). After all, while Philip was leading the Ethiopian eunuch to
Christ, Saul of Tarsus was still a murderer. And that happens over and over again, as God raises up leaders who seem to come out of nowhere, with shady pasts and uncertain futures. And none of us would be here, apart from them.”
I commend this book to all of you to read as it reminds us of the opportunities that we have living for Christ in a culture that is counter to the Gospel. Let us not lose hope that all is lost but remember that we serve a life-changing, spirit-empowering God. Let us pray for ourselves and our church for wisdom in reaching our community with the Gospel.
See you Sunday.