Churches can have an inward focus (all about nurturing the members) and/or an outward focus (all about reaching those outside the church). It is my belief that in a healthy church, these two should both be present. I have been to churches that were so focused on body life that they became ingrown and unfriendly to outsiders. […]
As Clowney points out, when this happens it is a sign of spiritual decay. It is a sign that the leaders of those churches lost sight of their true purpose.
Malcolm Muggeridge has written, “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” One does not have to work very hard to find evidence that something is very broken in the world. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there is something very broken inside of us.
You might take issue with the idea of the fall of man as recorded in the book of Genesis. You might not attribute the state of man to sin, but you would have to work very hard to avoid the evidence that man is prone to misery.
Even a superficial reading of the news provides ample evidence that there is something wrong with man. Stories of war, crime, assault, abuse, neglect and selfishness can be found on every page. We see all around us the effects of the fall of man.
It seems to me that even those who would not acknowledge the idea of sin still have feelings that they should be better than they are. Almost any sentence that begins with the words, “I ought . . .” would give evidence in support of this assertion.
Every good story has some tension or a struggle in the plot followed by a happy ending. The story of the people of God is no exception. I will repeat the summary of the Bible that I quoted in my post about Question 12, “God made it, we broke it and Jesus came to fix it.
Upon his return, before the son could even propose the terms of the revised relationship, the Father embraces the son. The Father’s love was not conditioned upon anything that the son had to say. The embrace said everything about the relationship.
God not only powerfully preserves and governs, but he does so in holiness and wisdom. God is big enough to bring about his plan for this world. No Caesar, no king, no dictator, no president or any world leader can thwart what God will accomplish.
Thankfully, our Western culture is built around the foundational idea of the dignity of man. This thought informs our laws and our practice. We think that murder is wrong. We think that individuals have rights that should not be violated. We think that each person should be able to do or become whatever he wishes to be.