Ever heard the term ‘mission drift?’
If you have, my definition of it may seem a bit vague but nevertheless…
Here’s how I’m going to define mission drift.
Mission drift is when you/someone loses their focus on their primary objective and becomes distracted by the things that can be attached to their primary objective.
I’ll be more specific.
I think there are far too many people/pastors/spokespersons within the Church today that are losing their focus on the Gospel and focusing on the things attached to the Gospel. If we try to make the story of God’s redemption through Jesus about anything other than that, it no longer is the clear and pure Gospel but rather our own agenda.
Let me be more specific. This is going to make some folks mad and that’s okay.
I fear that we are losing the strong, clear message of the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done on our behalf. I fear that we are trading the clarity and purity of this good news for muddier waters of social issues that are not the Gospel.
Now let me be clear. There are social issues that we as Christians need to be concerned about. There are social issues that we as Christians need to speak out about. So don’t hear me saying that we shouldn’t speak out on social justice issues. We should and must.
As the Church, we cannot get distracted from the clear proclamation of God’s Word. Whatever we do that takes away from the most basic function of the Church must be removed. Let’s talk about the Church for a minute and what our function is.
The Church is all those who are redeemed by faith in Jesus, who have placed their faith in Him and Him alone for salvation and their children. Now I know that draws a bright line for some of you and I meant it to. I believe that God’s people have always included those who believe and their children. The Old Testament is very clear on this and so is the New Testament. Ask Peter and Abraham and Moses and Amos and David and all those dudes.
God’s covenant promises to His people have always included their children and still do. Some of you will disagree with me and that’s okay. We can have a difference of opinion here without being divisive.
So the Church is all those who are part of the invisible and visible covenant people of God.
Now, what is the function of the Church?
In its most basic form, the function of the Church is the proclamation of the good news of Jesus. It is our role to proclaim the truth of God’s Word clearly so that all may repent and believe in the One who has taken on our sin and in whom, by faith, we are saved.
Preach Christ and Him crucified. The rest will take care of itself.
Let’s be careful that we don’t try to be so socially relevant that we lose our witness to the watching world. Again, I’m not saying don’t speak out for equality, life and all the other social issues. Yes, stand for justice.
But let’s be clear. Our society will not be transformed until Jesus returns. That fact is abundantly clear when we read the Bible. We will not, despite all our efforts, transform our city or the culture or anything else. Nor should we try in my opinion. Rather, what we should be about is the proclamation of the truth of God’s Word and the message of reconciliation to God through Jesus. Us being reconciled to God reconciles us to one another. Let the Gospel do its work. We’re far too busy being strident about social change when we should be preaching the truth in love.
Only the Gospel can change the world.
Only God the Spirit changes hearts through the work of God the Son by the sovereign hand of God the Father.
Preach Christ and Him crucified for the salvation of all who believe and to the glory of God!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Is the Reformation over?
I’ve heard this question asked a lot recently in many places on social media. There’s been a couple things this week in my own life and experience that tell me unequivocally that the Reformation is not over. Not by a long shot. And not only is it not over, we have much need for continuing reformation within American “Christianity.”
There were two things this week that happened that illustrated this to me. One is the idea of observing Lent. Now, in fairness, there are some protestant traditions that observe Lent. But not many. In fact, I can only think of two Protestant traditions that observe Lent: Methodists and Anglicans. If I’ve missed some, sorry about that.
As an aside, I’m a big fan of the reformed movement among the Anglican Church these days and I hope and pray that it bears much fruit.
Back to my rant…
So I expressed confusion as to why Protestants would be observing Lent; not criticism, merely confusion. And I got blasted by all these “Protestants” for my statement. It illustrates yet again to me that we, even “Christians”, will happily be offended by other people’s opinions and also that most modern day evangelicals have no idea what is and is not biblical.
The second thing that happened this week is what I really want to focus on. In a meeting this week at work, while listening to a sales presentation, I heard something that I hope is not a common belief but I fear that people believe it.
Here’s what happened. This dude was sharing with everyone how he “came to faith” and his life since. He said, “I’ve heard the audible voice of God twice in my life.” It was all I could do not to laugh out loud. But then I saw that everyone around the table was staring at him intently and several people were nodding their head.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. I was around a table of people who claim to be Bible believing followers of Jesus and it looked to me like everyone was buying this load of crap.
The audible voice of God?!
I want to be really clear here.
This dude has never heard the audible voice of God.
Neither have I.
Neither have you.
God no longer speaks in an audible voice. He has spoken and He continues to speak by His Word. You don’t need to hear the audible voice of God.
You need His Word.
This was one of the most important rallying cry of the Reformers; Sola Scriptura.
What has happened to Protestants? How have we allowed ourselves to fall back into “traditions” and the mysticism of Catholicism?
The apostle Peter addresses this also in 2 Peter 1. Here’s what Peter said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
“For we do not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:16-21, ESV)
What was Peter saying there? Read it carefully. Peter was saying, ‘Hey, I was there. I heard the very voice of God. But we’ve got something better: the Bible, the prophetic Word.”
What does that mean for us today?
You don’t need to hear the audible voice of God.
You have the voice of God. It’s called the Bible. If you want to hear God’s voice, read His Word. Carefully, faithfully, and in the community of God’s people.
He has spoken; of that, make no mistake. But let us be careful that we hear what He has said and is saying by His Word and not what the voices in our own heads say to us.
Let us give thanks to God that He has spoken a sure word to His people by His Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!