What happens when a church unashamedly engages the culture, while living as exiles in a post-Christian context? Holiness.
At a Hendricks Center event, J.R. Vassar explained two kinds of responses to churches that preach the gospel and call people to what he calls “the beauty of holiness.”
Vassar reminds pastors to prepare their churches to suffer for being on the wrong side of almost every major issue in a post-Christian society:
“This is what’s going to increasingly happen in our culture: There will be a loss of freedom, a loss of privilege, a loss of exemption…and so we have to brace ourselves for that. And we have to be OK with that.”
Indeed, Jesus predicted that some will hate us (John 15:18). Still, Vassar encourages the community of believers to persevere, saying:
“Some people are going to be won over… Everywhere the bar is raised on these things that I spoke about, the church grows…. I’m talking about being engaged with the heart of our missionary God, out in the culture, speaking truth in love; Serving the poor, serving the marginalized., helping the weak. Upholding the truth. And every time the bar gets raised, the church will grow.”
What response have you received from curious unbelievers who have seen the church as a compelling, contrastive community? Have you ever experienced such rigorous engagement?
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About the Contributors
Mikel Del Rosario is a PhD student in New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, Project Manager for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center, and Adjunct Professor of Apologetics and World Religion at William Jessup University. Mikel co-authors The Table Briefing articles in Bibliotheca Sacra with Darrell Bock, manages the Table Podcast, and helps Christians defend the faith with courage and compassion through his apologetics speaking ministry. He holds a Master of Theology (ThM) from DTS and an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.