Friday, November 9, 2007

authenticity - David F. Wells

The postmodern reaction against Enlightenment dogma will not be met successfully simply by Christian proclamation. Of that we can be sure. That proclamation must arise with a context of authenticity. It is only as the evangelical Church begins to put its own house in order, its members begin to disentangle themselves from all of those cultural habits which militate against a belief in truth, and begin to embody that truth in the way that the Church actually lives, that postmodern skepticism might begin to be overcome. Postmoderns want to see as well as hear, to find authenticity in relationship as the precursor to hearing what is said. This is a valid and biblical demand. Faith, after all, is dead without works, and few sins are dealt with as harshly by Jesus as hypocrisy. What postmoderns want to see, and are entitled to see, is believing and being, talking and doing, all joined together in a seamless whole. This is the great challenge of the moment for the evangelical Church. Can it rise to this occasion? - David F. Wells

found in David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Pow'rs (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 315.

I would add that this is not a postmodern challenge, but it is valid for all times. As DC Talk sings of in What if I Stumble?: "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." Will you please live out your faith? If not, will you stop telling people that you are a Christian? (BTW - I'm not talking about perfection, I'm talking about submission.)

1 comment:

Dave M. said...

Absolutely! Authenticity, marked by love, humility, kindness, etc., are attributes that mark the lives of God's people. There are many sincere pretenders among the Christian rank and file today. How is that possible? Because Christ is not in focus. Because too many have a form of Godliness but indeed deny the power of God - the power of God in the life to change us from a carnal being into a spiritual being.

And, yes, this is not a matter of perfection or of works, but rather is the fruit of a relationship, an experience with God.

Oh, the joy and privilege of living for Christ, of allowing Him to live through us in the daily round of life!

But while many (dare I say "most") of God's professed people today are misrepresenting Christ to the populous at the same time, come judgment day, that excuse will not fly for the atheist. The atheist will not be able to point a finger at the unfaithful witness and say, "It's all his fault that I didn't believe!" as Romans 1:18 - 23 bears out.

What an opportunity is passing the Church by in this land while religious freedom is still available to us for the spreading of the Gospel...

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