Is the Church Calling Sheep or Corralling Goats?December 27, 2016
The church at large likes nothing less than to be different in these last days. We’ve sacrificed our influence on the altar of relevance thus killing our power. We have been commissioned to reach, not replicate, the world around us. But replication, not transformation, is the religious model these days.
Give Them What they Want?
I am fearful of a dreaded truth. We are corralling goats into the sheepfold in the name of success and growth. We have invested much entertainment, time, money, energy, and resources to appeal to the unsaved, unregenerate cravings. “Give them what they want” is the clarion call to the gospel minister. But do we not realize that “what they want” has its roots in the soil of depravity? The church may very well give the world what it wants, but in doing so it misses the opportunity to give the world what it needs. What it needs can only be illuminated by light, it can only be preserved by salt. But salt and light have been replaced with sugar and lasers. And so, we have replication, not transformation. We have paid professionals, not God-called ministers. We have a lot of goats that operate under the guise of sheep. We have those who’ve prostituted the mission of the church for some gross byproduct of religious achievement.
The Pragmatism of the Porters
The world’s entry into the church is not the fault of the world. A goat will try to go anywhere to feed his cravings. If we find such creatures in the sheepfold it is because the porters have misjudged and miscalculated their occupations. We’ve allowed competition with other sheepfolds to be the prevailing motivator of our compromise. We’ve permitted filthy lucre to monopolize our convictions. We’ve become enthralled with the acceptance, popularity, and recognition of the world. Bigger is better, and so for the sake of the bigger we have tampered with the better. Yes, I suppose it is true: A goat can be corralled, caressed even by the shepherds of the church, but it is a goat still.
And so before long, the sounds of the sheepfold begin to change. Oh, it’s crowded, exciting even, to have such a number, but someone must take inventory of what we really have. I believe we have organized dead men’s bones with the hopes they will eventually come together. But such a miraculous occasion will only take place through the power of the Spirit and the authority of the Word. We’ve marched the goats into the sheepfold with their own music, with their own philosophies, with their own entertainment thinking that somehow, they will become sheep. Such a pragmatism is futile! Damning even!
Salt and Light Gospel
God has not called the church to be pleasers of the world’s whims and fancies, He has called us to be preachers of the incomparable, life-changing, soul-altering, eternity-charting gospel. Those who are yet to be changed, conformed into the image of Jesus Christ want the church to be different, they need the church to be different. They may not know it now, but when they finally get a taste of the salt, when they finally feel the warmth of the light, they will be glad that the porters of the church stood their ground and proclaimed the truth.