27 August 2010

Confusing the Holy and the Common

Corporate v. Individual Conduct or What we do as the Church vs. What we do as individual Christians

Here's one of those laugh/cry stories. It concerns a small town in Northeast Ohio where a small church has protested and picketed a strip club and are now being counter picketed by the strippers.

What a mess!

But there are a couple of lessons that can be learned.

What type of theology, what doctrine would motivate a congregation to go out and protest against a strip club? Anyone who has been reading the materials on this website knows the answer.

So the question is, has this glorified Christ? Have the strippers and/or the patrons been shown by this action-the Kingdom of God?

At least, the Church seems to be responding kindly to the counter-protest. That's fantastic, but that should have been their response in the first place. I commend them for the kindness they're now showing.

That said, any of us who live in tiny rural communities (that would be me) would certainly not want to see a strip club come into town. I hope you can see the distinction, but we can protest it...as citizens with the other townspeople. As citizens, we're still Christians, but that's very different than doing it as a Church.

When the protest is conducted by the Church...it becomes a holy task...and in this context is yet another manifestation of Sacralism. The Church's mission is not to protest strip clubs. We don't bring about the Kingdom by cleaning up fallen society. The Church is to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ. If society cleans up as a result fine. But even a cleaned up society, even one comprised of a large number of Christians, is still not a Christian society.

We're Christians but also residents of whatever town we live in. It is legitimate for us to go to a council meeting, sign a petition, whatever- with wisdom of course.

We do it as the citizens of Christ's Kingdom, but it's not Kingdom activity. It's legitimate activity in the realm of Common Grace. We must not confuse the two. Cleaning up society can in some cases be a good thing, and as individuals we can interact with people and thus in that context bring the Kingdom of Christ.

So rather than protest the strip club, as individuals they could reach out to those women and offer help. And they do it as Christians, and if opportunity arises by sharing the gospel even in that context they can bring the Kingdom.

Our goal is always to serve the Kingdom, but we have to be careful we don't turn to Babylon to help us build it...and we have to be careful we don't involve the Church in trying to build Babylon.

Does that make sense? A lot of people find this confusing, but I think the distinction is important.

Here's a link to the story.

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