Today, I’m heading down to Amarillo, Texas, where I’ll be working on a new story video for The Gospel Project, as well as preaching at South Georgia Baptist Church on Sunday morning. If you’re in the area and attend SGBC, I look forward to saying hi!
Talking about one’s “dream church” is—increasingly, I’ve come to think—an exercise in not only futility even but flat-out gospel denial. The church doesn’t exist to meet our every need and satisfy our various checklists of tastes and “comfort zone” preferences. If anything, it exists to destabilize such things. The church should draw us out of the dead-eye stupor of a culture of comfort-worship. It should jostle us awake to the reality that comfort is one of the greatest obstacles to growth.
Ernie Johnson’s perspective on the 2016 election
The best 2 minutes you’re going to find on the events of Tuesday
But in light of the enormous social costs of being a Christian in the first three centuries, why did anyone become a Christian? Why did Christianity grow so exponentially? What did Christianity offer that was so much greater than the costs? Hurtado and others have pointed out three things.
But there’s one class of people in the political process who never seem to get cleared out; the pundits and opinionators. No matter how long they stay, how corrupt they grow, how out of touch they become, how wrong they are, the electoral brush never sweeps them out the stable. But, if anything’s clear from the past days, large tracts of the commentariat are past their smell-by date. Multitudes of them have utterly failed in their duty to the public and yet none of them will lose their jobs.
I’m not speaking of ordinary journalists and reporters here — although it’s increasingly hard to separate them from the pundits these days. I’m referring to the talking heads, the op-ed columnists, the “experts.” The majority of them have failed dismally in their basic duties to us for a long time, but especially in the past year A.D. (After Donald).
This is good stuff.
Historically, the church’s “simple” explanations of the gospel have been explicitly triune (think of the creeds and “rules of faith”). Today, however, we’re bemused if an evangelist “complicates” his message with the Trinity. Perhaps we look back condescendingly at St. Patrick and his unfortunate shamrock analogy. Yet shouldn’t we admire his goal? Patrick’s intention was to introduce Ireland to God. And not just any God—the Christian God, the Trinitarian God. Where are today’s Patricks—concerned to preach Father, Son, and Spirit to the nations?
My plea is for a return to Trinitarian evangelism. Before I unpack what that means, let me clarify what I don’t mean.
We need a long-haul mentality when it feels like our church is in an eternal day of small beginnings. We need to think long-term about that new believer who’s victorious one day and in the “Slough of Despond” the next.
A favorite from the archives:
Every leader, no matter if they’re leading one person or one thousand, wants to get better at what they do. Fortunately the leadership industrial complex has produced a number of really great books offering really sound advice.
Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of dreck out there, the kind of stuff that makes me want to start reading Jesus’ seven woes out loud as emphatically as possible. Here are a few pieces of worldly wisdom that Christian leaders should probably ignore.