Has the Church Become Irrelevant in the Larger Society?

Wednesday, December 08, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

It does not appear that the church (as a whole) is leading on the wider community and world stage. Evangelicalism, unacknowledged systemic racism promulgated by church leaders from past to present, alignment with Trumpian politics, silence on glaring social concerns, resistance to COVID vaccines/science, and the like, have created the perception (or the reality) that the church is not relevant to the times. There are exceptions to this perception or reality, but those leaders and churches must work against a negative tide of opinion.

We know about the death of prominent Christian television Network founder, Marcus Lamb (and pray for his family), who considered the COVID vaccines unnecessary or harmful; “We want to warn you, we want to help you, we want to give you an alternative,” Mr. Lamb said. Instead of getting vaccinated, “we can pray, we can get ivermectin and budesonide and hydroxychloroquine,” (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/01/us/marcus-lamb-dead.html)

What Lamb discredited would have prevented his death, absent a spiritualized worldview.

There needs to be a cultivation of better thinking and better practices to restore credibility and effectiveness in the larger world. Our role as leaders within the church differs from our role in the larger community. During this public health crisis and pandemic, I've been intentional on being faithful as a Bible teacher and pastor to believers in Christ, while simultaneously accepting my responsibility as a community leader. These are different responsibilities.

I think the mistake that some ministers and Christians make is attempting to overlay the Bible and their church-informed worldview on top of every condition in the world. For example, the Bible has nothing specific to say about media production, live stream, and the Internet, but this has become hugely impactful to our work during the pandemic. Spirituality had nothing to do with the science of developing COVID vaccines. However, it is a modern marvel, along with the other 19 or so vaccines that have been developed through scientific methods over the past decades.

We need to focus on our core competency, as Christ said, "Make disciples." Christ followers who have professional skillsets should certainly put those to use. It has become a tragic mistake to think that spirituality is a "core competency" as a relates to addressing matters in society.

I watched a video where a Christian lady at a school board meeting expressed her concern about elections. She shared this text from 2 Peter 1:10 to admonish school board members, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” This was an extreme example absent context, but not far from what has become normalized behavior in the larger society.

Allow me to suggest: The primary assignment of Christ following leaders is to develop the character of Christ within oneself, within others, and encourage relationship with Him, so that we become the best versions of ourselves. As an outcome of this priority, we may effectively serve God’s purpose in the church and meet human need in the community. This will also include evangelism, but not limited to that aim (under the assumption that the only thing people need is salvation to solve their problems). 

The conditions that we create or allow in society help or hurt people.