I continue to see movements gaining traction among Christians that do not seem to have many converts. In other words, they have recruits to their cause, but few converts to Christ. And I am concerned. I am concerned that in the name of “fixing the Church” we are not proclaiming the Church’s gospel.
You’ve seen it, too, among others–the emerging church wants to rethink structures; the missional folks want more social justice; the charismatic folks want more of the Spirit; Baptists want to convert the Presbyterians; the house church people want more authentic community; and the Reformed folks just want, well, I am not sure since they never seem happy.
Even if you disagree with how broadly his brush has painted, Stetzer’s point must be heard. It seems that in our “tribal” generation, everyone has their niche interest. And while it’s true that we can learn from each camp, we must not lose focus on fulfilling the great commission. I am so thankful for the endless resources we have available today covering nearly every ecclesiological issue. At the same time, I’d have to agree with Stetzer that our desire to renovate the church at times promotes an unhealthy introspection that keeps us from boldly proclaiming the Gospel. Stetzer sums up his final point:
Now, I am not willing to say that a lack of converts is a sign of unfaithfulness. But, I am willing to say that too many change movements are not seeing lost people’s lives changed. And I think that is the wrong kind of change.
So, my Reformed friends, let’s not only read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (that is, John Calvin, John MacArthur, and John Piper), let’s go plant some more churches. My emerging church friends, let’s take a pause from the theological rethink and head into the neighborhood and to tell someone about Jesus. My missional friends, let’s speak of justice, but always tell others how God can be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” My house church friends, let’s have community, but let’s be sure it is focused on redemption. My Baptist friends, let’s focus more on convincing pagans than Presbyterians. And, my charismatic friends, let’s focus less on getting existing believers to speak in tongues and more on using our tongue to tell others about Jesus.
Some might take this as a low blow, but I think Stetzer’s using this to emphasize his point. In our endeavor to see the church live and function rightly, we must not lose our ministerial focus to reach the lost with the saving news of Jesus!