From the Desk of the Executive Chairman
Making Jesus Christ known is at the centre of the Church as a movement in the world. How to advance the gospel faithfully and effectively to the “ends of the world” until the “end of the age” remains uppermost on the Church’s agenda. The Church should never stop asking this most engaging question of how to present Jesus Christ. It has been relevant in all generations. It combines both the spirits of the “Greatest Commandment” (Matt. 22:37-39) to love and the “Great Commission” (Matt. 28:16-20) to “go and make disciples”.
The evangelization of the world has been the mission of the Church. Today the world of approximately 7.8 billion people, complex and changing, is the “mission field” of the Church. It sets the agenda for the Church’s missional engagement. In this mission there is no place for discrimination, but all the place for buying up opportunities to show Jesus Christ. Love for God and neighbour, and the presentation of Jesus Christ to all nations obliterate the selfish pride and prejudice that are foundations for divisiveness and dereliction of duty to our fellow human beings, regardless of class, creed and colour. The “imago dei” in everyone is at the heart of presenting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, authentically. It is the antidote to dehumanizing attitudes and behaviours and disfranchising those who do not look like us. The Church in sincerity in the 21 st century must remain cognizant of the challenge to maintain its life by the enabling of the Spirit and the Word of God amid rapid moral and social changes. The Church also must proceed best with an ongoing appreciation that “God does not change”; His word comes to pass. As such the Church should not become overwhelmed by the deepening moral and social decay and should instead anchor more deeply in the Truth. The Church’s praxis follows the clearly laid tenets that guided it in the first century A.D. in the face of persecution and down through the centuries and should be adhered to for the rest of human history: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). It is praxis enabled by Jesus Christ and Christ-centred that distinguishes the Church. This world of the 21 st century is seriously polarized and unjust, whatever lens it is seen through. These are not the sum of the problems in the world. However, polarization and injustice are intergenerational diseases as the discerning knows, even if more palpable in some places than others. They are institutionalized evils that we accept or deny, or try to minimize or rationalize away. No one should get away with ambivalence where those realities are concerned. We do not sleep through them like sleeping through a war. Related attitudes and behaviours are dominant across the world. By nature, in response the Church ought to be the counterculture and “social ethic” it is.
In recent world history, both the “Me Too” and the “Black Lives Matter” revelations and the moral outrage that resulted have been stark reminders of a divided world. The events regarding the “Me Too” and the “Black Lives Matter” protestations and ventilations are about objections to the abuse of power and “might is right” pervasive cultures. They are potent statements that the work to attain a “just society” is far from complete and requires urgent and sustained advocacy and actions in the most intentional ways. With such in mind, the Church cannot be found to be gutless and without the capacity for moral outrage. Instead it should have the moral courage to radically confront the forces of evil perpetuating in different forms. The Church in this world must be a vanguard for justice: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
I suggest that the Church revisions a just society and doing justice in its “in the meanwhile posture” in the world. It seems there is a missing element of the “lostness of the world” and wrongness of wrongs. Hence there appears to be a relaxation of tensions and a growing “accommodation mentality” regarding fitting into the world’s mould. The tensions involved in obedience to the “Great Commandment” and the “Great Commission” are always principles for the reformation of the Church in its time and context. This makes the Church blindsided with reference to the real situation in which it co-exists with the world. The Church must always be practising “called of the world, in the world, not of the world, declaring the one Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, redeeming the world”.
The Church’s mission is as urgently needed now as it was in the first century AD. However, there is a mission to the Church itself that is clearly necessary. It is how to be the remnant Church; a people of God serving and looking for the return of Jesus Christ. About its very nature, this Church must be evangelized. The praxis of the Church under assessment points to the imperative of resetting the evangelistic fervour. The Church must “know Jesus Christ and make Him known”.
Rev. Adinhair Jones