A Good Question

JD Greear with an interesting post on the Resurgence blog asking this question: Should Evangelical Churches Be Involved in Community Ministry and if so, WHY?

I would love your thoughts on this one. I think I am in camp #1 that he describes.

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2 responses to “A Good Question

  1. T is a great break down Z. I think I’ll take the meat and leave the bones from each ‘camp,’ but if I was forced, at nerd-point, to choose…#1. Corporate preaching of the word, corporate living of the word.

  2. My position is a “hybrid of the first three” (as J.D. Grear puts it), which means that I take position No. 4. Community mercy ministries are not the Gospel itself, and they should not be conflated or confused with the Gospel. However, they ARE a necessary implication and outgrowth of the Gospel. Those who are truly saved WILL help lost people, in various tangible ways, because we want to love people as God tells us to in His word, and we want to lovingly perform acts which function as “signs” of the Gospel. Grear’s Biblical exegesis is sound, I think, with this latter point, where he explains that we do community ministry (including, but not limited to, the verbal proclamation of the Gospel) as a “sign” of the Gospel itself. In this way, we act, to a degree, as Jesus did while He was on earth. Jesus opened physically blind eyes to see, and healed lame legs to walk, and he performed these acts as “signs” which pointed to a deeper reality– the heart, mind, and soul transformation that occurs in salvation. We reach out to drug addicts who may not be Christians, and we help single moms who may not be Christians, to love them as God has loved us, and to point them to an even deeper healing than any physical solution to their immediate physical circumstances– the deepest healing that can ever occur in anyone’s life– that of regeneration. Now, we DO try earnestly to help them with their physical circumstances, but we do so, at least partially, as a “sign” of the deeper rescue and healing that is inherent in the Gospel. That is how I see the Bible speaking on this issue.

    As to the “extending the Kingdom on earth before Jesus returns” idea, it is crucial to remember that God extends His Kingdom on earth, and He does so, in part, by using us as His human instruments. Again, we proclaim the Gospel with our words, and we point to, and commend, the Gospel with our actions, but I DON’T think that it is Biblically accurate to say that when Jesus returns, He will “simply finish what we have started.” GOD started it, HE sustains it (in part, by sustaining us in perserverance, i.e. Perserverance of the Saints), and HE will finish it. We should not think of this in a passive way– we ARE to do good works, but we do so because it is GOD working in us. (Sorry for all the capital letters– not shouting, just passionate!) 🙂

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