During world war I America found itself involved in an urgent effort to prepare for all-out warfare. One of the things necessary was the building of camps where tens of thousands of troops could be trained.

At Camp Lee a man applied for a job, representing himself to be a carpenter. He was immediately hired. Knowing nothing of his professed trade and anxious to escape detection and punishment, he spent his first day furtively moving from one place in the camp to another. Before long he became aware that someone was following him. Finally, nerves on edge, he challenged his follower. “Why are you following me?” he asked. The reply was, “I’m assigned to be your helper!”

How many Christians and church leaders seem equally culpable! Without understanding the nature, mission, and message of what they profess, they play at religion without making any lasting contribution to a world desperately in need of Christ.

With all the vigor at my command I disagree with those who believe that the Church is primarily a social agency, its task one of mere social engineering. Many seem to think this is so. Graduates of some American theological seminaries are now prepared to go out as sociologists rather than preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We need to take stock. Why does the Church exist at all?

The Old Testament’s teaching centers in God’s calling out the nation Israel to be a separate people. The New Testament tells the story of God’s calling out a separated people—the Church—to witness to his saving grace in Christ and to constitute the body of the redeemed in a hostile world.

The basis for Israel’s relations with God, as well as man, was the Law, which revealed God’s holy requirements and man’s inability to meet those requirements. ...

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