Someone recently submitted an interesting question to the Q&A forum of endangeredgospel.com. He was recently hired as a police officer and wondered whether that line of work was compatible with full-time devotion to the work of Christ. To see my answer, click here, and scroll down to question #6.
I visited several churches last weekend as part of a class trip with Great Lakes Christian College. I was impressed overall with how they handled the election. There was no party promotion, whether subtle or overt. There were no signs of panic—only trust in God and his coming kingdom. That said, I would remove one thing from what I heard and then add one thing.
I would remove the word “ultimate.” It is true that our ultimate trust is in God. But using that language leaves the door open for our penultimate trust to be in our rulers. Why not just say that we trust God and we don’t trust human rulers? Adding the world “ultimate” doesn’t strengthen that statement; it weakens it.
Missing from both presentations was the nowness of God’s kingdom. We shouldn’t get hung up on elections not only because the kingdom to come will replace them all, but because (a) God’s kingdom has already begun in Jesus, (b) we have already entered into that kingdom and currently enjoy the stability and abundance of God’s kingdom people, and (c) the old orders of this world have already begun to pass away.
The candidates in this election have certainly made a spectacle of themselves in ways that are painfully obvious to everyone. But, as Christians, we confess that 2000 years ago, Christ already disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross (Col 2:15). And we embrace our God-given role to make known to the rulers and authorities God’s wisdom in its rich variety through the witness of the church’s life together (Eph 3:9-10).
Several of you have asked how I am able to keep so busy on social media lately. The truth is, I haven't--at least, not alone. Natasha Smith -- a long-time friend, passionate follower of Jesus, and gifted photographer -- has been helping me out, a lot.
A while back she agreed to serve as my publicist. She has been the one finding quotable quotes from my new book, framing them on a variety of images (most of which she has taken), and posting them on my behalf on this webpage, Twitter, and Facebook. She has also booked me a speaking engagement and made audio recordings of some of my teaching pertaining to Endangered Gospel. One of these days we'll get them edited and posted somewhere.
For Natasha, helping me is just a side hobby. She is a hardworking, disciple-making, servant of our Lord. She is active in Summit Ministries, which is a pretty intense discipleship program, and Two Witness Ministries, an innovative low-budget approach to overseas Bible teaching.
In addition to Summit classes and Two Witness trips, Natasha serves as a professional photographer. She has done excellent work for my own family, including my daughter's wedding, senior pictures, and professional photos for promotional purposes. Her business is #nasfocus. Check out her website or browse her work on Instagram.
I wanted to acknowledge Natasha's important work a while back, but she wanted to finalize some of her own projects first. So, I am glad now for the opportunity to introduce you to Natasha Smith!
This is not a quote from the book, but I wrote it to illustrate an important implication of the book.
"It is the great mistake of a false Protestant ethic to assume that loving Christ can be the same as loving one’s native country, or friendship or profession, that the better righteousness and civil justice are the same. Jesus does not talk that way. What is Christian depends on the ‘extraordinary.’ That is why Christians cannot conform to the world… What does the extraordinary consist of? It is the existence of those blessed in the Beatitudes, the life of the disciples. It is the shining light, the city on the hill. It is the way of self-denial, perfect love, perfect purity, perfect truthfulness, perfect nonviolence. Here is undivided love for one’s enemies, loving those who love no one and whom no one loves. . . . It is the love of Jesus Christ himself, who goes to the cross in suffering and obedience. It is the cross. What is unique in Christianity is the cross, which allows Christians to step beyond the world in order to receive victory over the world." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works in English 4: 144-5, with Latin phrases translated)
Think Christian published my article responding to Christian views of voting. We have duped ourselves into thinking God has called us to change the world. But maybe there are other things we should focus on. Click the link below for my full article.
Delta Community Christian Church genuinely surprised me with a book signing party. We played games and ate great food, and they all signed my book. I'm so grateful for a loving church family!
"Our life together should be a sign and a foretaste of God’s new creation. It is the place where God’s new world is most visible in the here and now. If we cannot order our own lives according to God’s kingdom, we have no business telling others how to reorder theirs." (Endangered Gospel, 13)
"If God hasn't asked us to fix the world, then many Christians are misusing time, energy & resources that God has given us for other purposes." (Endangered Gospel, 7)
"God has indeed called his people to do something. But I wonder, has God really called us to fix the world? Is that what Jesus meant by calling us salt and light?" (Endangered Gospel, 4)
Lot's of people have been asking when Endangered Gospel will be available in print. The sure answer is that it will be in print by August. It has to be, since a couple of colleges will be using it as a textbook. However, the cover is now done and the text is mostly set. I think all that remains is an index. So it is possible the book will be released sooner. I will certainly keep you posted on this website!