Four Truths of the Church Today
Last week I wrote about Four Lies of the Church Today. In that post I wrote about the ways the church lies to itself and others. When a church lies it becomes weak and loses its authority to speak to the world. Healthy and truthful churches do not lie.
As I continue writing about the church this week, I will write about Four Truths, Four Challenges, and Four Futures of the church. Let’s start with Four Truths of the Church.
These four truths of the church are indicators of church health. A healthy church will have all four of these truths clearly evident in the life of the congregation. If your church is missing one, you have a problem that needs attention.
1. The church demonstrates forgiveness. In the grand sweep of the biblical story God forgives first. God forgives Abraham, Isaac, and the whole family time and time again. God forgives the Hebrew people and the nation of Israel. God forgives everyone in Jesus Christ (Romans 5.8). God forgives.
This church should forgive, too. There are no asterisks here. There are no free passes. When someone hurts someone else, the church should forgive. A healthy church forgives.
2.The church shares good news. For many people “gospel” is an odd word because they do not use it in daily conversation, but it is a word that means “good news.” The church shares good news to people. The news the church shares should not be angry. It should not be dismissive. It should not be judgmental. It should be good news.
Truth #1 is the guide here, forgive people. The heart of the gospel is forgiveness and the church shares that truth. The church says you are forgiven. There is a place for you here with other forgiven people. This is good news! You belong!
3.The church resists evil. Churches push back against every system, power, and influencer who chooses to be angry and not to forgive. Evil is complex but here is a simple test for evil. Does it take more than it gives? If it does, it is evil.
Evil consumes. It takes things from people. It takes things like freedom of choice, opportunity, self esteem, decency, privacy, and on and on the list can go. A healthy church resists the consuming evil of the status quo, the powerful, the politically correct who tell it what to do and robs it of its right to forgive freely. Healthy churches resist evil and truthfully say to outsiders, “No, you cannot tell us what to do.”
4.The church influences culture.This is the pay off for forgiving others and sharing the good news and resisting evil. The church influences culture and changes the world. Truthful churches are influencers in their communities.
Where there is crime, they fight it. Where there is hunger, they feed people. Where there are broken families, they work to heal relationships. Where there are people who have not heard they are forgiven, they share forgiveness with them. The truth of the church is that it makes a difference. If your church is not influencing culture then go back and check out the Four Lies of the Church. One of the lies has a foothold in your church.
What does it look like for your church? Does your church pass all four of these truth tests? Is one more difficult than another for your church?
On Wednesday, we will look at Four Challenges of the Church Today.