Dr. Russell Moore (ERLC President) tweeted this quote yesterday:
“By remaining faithful to its original commission, by serving it’s people with love, especially the poor, the lonely and the dispossessed, and by not surrendering its doctrinal steadfastness, sometimes even the very contradiction of culture by which it serves as a sign, surely the Church serves the culture best.”
You can’t just read that quote in passing. Not only because the directive is at the end of a run on sentence do you have to think about it, but also because there are so many intricate elements.
Let’s work backwards.
First, the crux of the sentence is this:
“Surely the Church serves the culture best.”
Often, the church doesn’t think about serving the culture. We often just think that the people meeting on Sunday mornings in the church houses are products of the culture who all happen to love Jesus. It is the next phrase (working backwards) that provides us with this basis:
“sometimes even the very contradiction of culture serves as a sign.”
Those people meeting under the steeples are markedly different than the culture, and this is what allows them to serve the culture best.
“by not surrendering its doctrinal steadfastness”
the culture is in love with compromise. And please don’t get me wrong, compromise is a beautiful thing when it produces genuine unity and resolves problems. But there are some things that should not be compromised. When we compromise the foundation upon which we are built, our house crumbles. When we compromise the doctrines of the everlasting Word to reflect our changing cultures, we’ve given away the very things we’ve been given by God that are to set us apart.
“by serving it’s people with love”
it’s people. Everyone watches how we take care of “our people” – but especially the poor (remember the first church selling all their possessions and distributing the proceeds to any who had need?) the lonely (widows, orphans, sojourners – book of Ruth) and the dispossessed (the very ragamuffin Gospel that brings healing to the broken).
“Remaining faithful to its original commission”
This is what all the previous flows from. This is our commission: to love others and proclaim the gospel. We proclaim the gospel while being a haven for the hurting.
This is our commission, and the way in which we serve culture the best. What a fantastic quote that helps us to remember why we exist, and who we are serving, and how we serve culture – and ultimately how we serve Christ.