Arnold Bertram’s Gleaner column of Thursday, August 4, 2016 should be read by all Church leaders. His call for Christians to awake to the changed turf around us is very timely. If we are not aware of the times in which we live we could end up (FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING) fighting a nuclear war with catapults.
I made similar calls to Bertram’s during my Emancipation lecture at Calvary Baptist in Mo. Bay recently and urged concerning education,
“Right now the Church needs to revisit its pioneering work in education by strengthening the calibre of all schools owned by it through capacity building of the staff, revamping of teaching-learning methodologies/modalities and most importantly, because of the widespread breakdown of discipline in most schools, the Church needs to challenge Christian men especially to see the classroom (primary, secondary and tertiary) as unconventional mission fields where minds and lives can be transformed for God and for societal good. It is my considered view that the truly God-controlled and informed mind is at once a societal treasure and a societal threat to the forces of ignorance, darkness and of evil.”
Concerning values I argued,
“My last area where the Church’s role in societal development is needed though not always wanted pertains to revaluation of societal values. In this regard our country does not simply need a reformation or even a revival but a values revolution. In all sectors of our society and in every human heart there is a tension, nay a struggle, between the upward pull toward wholesome values as determined by God in the Bible and the more attractive drag toward freedom from all ethical restraints on thought, intention and action.
This personal and societal dilemma is best summed up, in my view, in the poignant lament of Arthur Leff, late Professor of Law, Duke University. In a 1979 piece titled ‘Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law’ he argued, somewhat paradoxically,
I want to believe—and so do you—in a complete, transcendent and immanent set of propositions about right and wrong, findable rules that authoritatively and unambiguously direct us how to live righteously. I also want to believe—and so do you—in no such thing, but rather that we are wholly free, not only to choose for ourselves what we ought to do, but to decide for ourselves, individually and as a species, what we ought to be. What we want, Heaven help us, is simultaneously to be perfectly ruled and perfectly free, that is, at the same time to discover the right and the good and to create it.”
As I told a questioner at the lecture who raised the issue of Islam, the average Muslim wife bears about 8 children whereas we are quibbling about 2 being too many or just enough. Since we are not likely to increase our ranks significantly by births we must heed the call of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I as he opened the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin.
His Majesty counselled,
“The love shown in Christ by our God to mankind should constrain all of us who are followers and disciples of Christ to do all in our power to see to it that the Message of Salvation is carried to those of our fellows for whom Christ our Saviour was sacrificed but who have not had the benefit of hearing the Good News…Christians, let us arise and…labour to lead our brothers and sisters to our Saviour Jesus Christ who only can give life in its fullest sense.” (In Carl F.H. Henry and W. Stanley Mooneyhan (eds.) One Race, One Gospel, One Task, Vol. 1, 1967, 20-21 cited in Clinton Chisholm, Revelations on Ras Tafari, 2008, 54).
Christians need to take much more seriously the compliment/challenge in the revolutionary metaphors that Jesus Christ used of his followers “You are the salt of the earth…the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-16) and we all need to obey our Lord’s command in Mt. 28:16-20 to “make disciples of all nations”. That’s the single command in the text though English translations give the mistaken impression that ‘go’ was also a command in the text.
In most of our modern churches far too many Christians don’t even know how to share their faith with anyone and don’t care that they don’t know and are disobeying Jesus.
The eloquent words of the late American Baptist Preacher Dr. E.V. Hill should haunt every church leader and member alike. Hill advised “God has called us to be fishers of men and not mere keepers of the aquarium.”
Let Christians awake, be aware of the times and do what our Sovereign Lord has commanded us to do while we strive to be genuine salt and clear light in our world.