Out of the Ghetto…into the Real World

In his book, The Cultural Church, (20th Century Christian, Nashville, 1992) F. LaGard Smith writes:

The world around us today is not interested in what rituals of worship may or may not be authorized by Scripture.  Most modern Americans have no intention of worshipping God either one way or another.  Nor do they perceive any need for a Savior, because with every advance in moral relativism, they experience even less and less moral guilt.  Many (if not most) do not even understand that they have a soul which is accountable to God.  If they have no soul and commit no sin, what need do they have of a Savior?

If the above is true, what makes us think that we can reach out through more appealing worship rituals? Will people come to realize their need for a Savior because we tell them they need one? Will people become aware of an eternal soul just because we tell them they have one? Not very likely!  And yet, this seems to be our strategy for reaching the lost.  Do you think maybe its time to wake up and smell the coffee?  Hello?  Anybody home?

We can preach, teach, sing, pray and plead until our throat caves in and never touch one with a locked-up heart.  Many people heard Jesus preach but only the ones who had “ears to hear” responded.  Even miracles (I mean the real ones…not the fakery of today) cannot pry open the oyster of self-satisfied or self-righteous hearts.  So where does this leave us?  Only with the example of Jesus.

Jesus did not travel about slapping up tents, doing some advertising, and holding gospel meetings.  His insights on worship had to do with attitude not magnitude. Jesus entered people’s lives. He ate dinner with them.  He partied with them.  He met them on the streets.  He spoke their lingo and used stories they understood.  But, most of all, he loved them and they knew it.  When they heard it in his words and saw it in his deeds, they opened up their hearts to him.  If we will become Jesus to our world, the same thing will happen again.

The day we finally decide to do things Jesus’ way instead of “the way we’ve always done it,” will be the day the true Restoration Movement begins.

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1 Comment

Filed under Change Agent, church, Community, Evangelism, Ignorance, Kingdom Growth, Missions/Evangelism, Preaching/Teaching, Restoration

One response to “Out of the Ghetto…into the Real World

  1. Bob Chapman

    Hi Dwight,

    Worship is a consequence of evangelism, not something we conjure up. Acts 4 is a prime example of that.
    Spontaneous worship erupts in heaven and on earth when souls repent and are immersed. Just one repentant soul sets the angels to worshipping.

    What is recorded in Acts 4 was a result of what happened in Acts 3 and worship followed the miracle and the salvation of thousands. Why not return to such simplicity today?

    Just saw it happening in the Philippines when I was preaching in public there last week. 400 plus responded at Friday night’s public outreach to the call to believe, repent, confess and be immersed. Over 100 on Saturday night in a public plaza. The following Sunday morning the two churches where I preached were in a state of revival and worship even before I got there due to the great testimonies of what happened the night before.
    Miracles also occured, but wont go there as many of your readers have difficulty believing they’re for today.

    Still, both the soul saving and the signs that followed contributed to total renewal of all church attendees the next day and more souls were saved. Just like in Acts 4.

    Bob Chapman

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