If the church has as its chief mission to witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ, then it should certainly be more concerned with this business than it now seems to be. If, on the other hand, its chief mission is to transform society through social engineering, then it is being increasingly diligent in its calling—but woefully ineffective.
Is the Church in the world to conquer the world for righteousness? Or is it in the world to bear testimony that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has opened the way to God by his death and resurrection? Is the Church supposed to be a conquering organization or a witnessing organism? The way that question is answered determines the course of the Church and its success or failure in the eyes of God.
The idea of the Church may easily be perverted so that it becomes the agency through which man, not God, works. It is to this danger that I speak.
Analysis of many of the major concerns and activities of the church today leads to this somber conclusion: Even if every objective were to be realized, unless at the same time there were added the spiritual dimension of the Gospel’s call to individuals to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord, the world would still be populated with lost souls.
For the Church to give top priority to the secular and material problems of mankind can only mean that there are those in places of leadership who have lost, or never had, a realization of man’s desperate spiritual needs.
This is not an appeal to preserve the status quo. It is not an attempt to project “seventeenth-century theology into the twentieth.” And it is not a conviction based on an insensitivity to the dire needs of people living in an advanced technological age, or on lack of concern for ...1
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