Last November, we listened to an eager campus pastor drive home the need for a full gospel. He called for grace and obedience as our response to Christ as Savior and Lord. Obeying Jesus’ call to “take up our cross” no matter the cost means we must also accept his lordship. Delighting in forgiveness means accepting grace.
Celebrating Jesus’ birth as it’s done worldwide signifies an acceptance of grace. But in some cases, no life changes are expected to accompany that grace. It’s all just amazing grace. I wonder, are we as a church enjoying the gospel of grace while forgetting the gospel of obedience? Is the Christian Reformed Church so determined to increase its numbers that it’s willing to fit in, make no waves, and offend no one?
With that in mind, I read Andrew Kuyvenhoven’s devotional book Daylight. It couldn’t be more affirming. Its November devotions focused on the book of Revelation. In the devotional “The False Prophet” (Nov. 24), describing the beast of Revelation 13, the former Banner editor wrote, “The beast needs might and meanness, but it needs more. It needs an ideology that justifies its worship. Every tyrant needs a prophet. Every dictator needs a manifesto.” A prophetic insight!
I wondered when Kuyvenhoven had written this. So I checked. The first edition came out in 1977. Who were the world leaders in 1977? Did “fake news” exist? Was ISIS an ideology waiting to take shape? Roe v. Wade had just left us reeling. Written 40 years ago, Kuyvenhoven’s words are still startlingly relevant.
Those who fill our pulpits and lead our Bible studies must understand and proclaim them because “[t]he gospel is not an ideology. But the gospel of the Kingdom contains a world-and-life view,” Kuyvenhoven wrote. “We need Christian ideas spelled out in theories and programs that apply to politics and economics. We need Christian students who can pick apart the slogans of the false prophets with the scalpels of keen analysis. . . . Christian businessmen have to speak up. Christian journalists must write sanely and soberly in a sea of madness.”
Acknowledging that we live in “a sea of madness,” we need sane and sober voices calling us to commitment and obedience while delighting in God’s grace. We need sane and sober Christ followers of integrity who write and proclaim plain Scriptural truths. They’re overdue in a world where we suffer the consequences of silence. Here is Kuyvenhoven again: “If we are merely concerned to save our souls, we are disloyal to the Lord and surrender the country to the false prophets of our age.” Our world needs prophetic voices. No running or hiding!
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Don’t miss this week’s must-read articles:
- Tell A Better Story
- ‘Rebirth’ for a Wisconsin Church
- Book review: A Church Called Tov, by Laura Barringer and Scot McKnight