The meaning of the English word, “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia”.
It literally means, “the called-out ones.”
But that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to stay out. We’re called to go back into the world with different values.
I think we all need two conversions: one from the world to Christ, and one to take Christ back into the world.”
Our local churches are to be like pre-Kingdom experiences planted in the real world–the people of God acting like Jesus here on earth.
That’s why the Lord’s Prayer says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God in us, lived out as the visual presentation of the present kingdom of God!
Whenever the subject of tax exemption for churches comes up, someone will inevitably say: “Churches should pay taxes just like everyone else. They need to pay their fair share.”
The fact is, churches provide more social services to a community in tangible benefits—more than they’d ever pay in taxes.
In a study conducted to put a value on the economic worth of one church, it estimated the church provided over six million dollars of economic value to the community—ten times the church’s annual budget.
A greater point is this: The power to tax involves the power to control. Taxation is in essence, a very strong assertion of control by the government over its citizens.
Exempting churches is a way to ensure that the state cannot control churches.
It makes sense!
The good news? The church is alive and well!
And considering all we’re going through, globally, the church of Jesus Christ is marching forward and God is faithful.
And that’s based on two premises:
One–that God is faithful, and two, that the people of God, the church, are profoundly resilient.
Here’s the bad news.
A lot of people who call themselves a part of the church—are so acculturated to the broader culture around them—you can’t tell they’re actually followers of Jesus Christ.
And the question is: Where do you stand?
Have you become so blended into the culture that no one would know for sure whether you’re a follower of Christ or not?
It’s an important question for all of us to ask yourselves!
In reality—religion and politics cannot be separated!
Any country or society that’s held together by shared social and cultural traits, has to have religion as its core and foundation.
In other words, the “political” is inherently religious.
Because ultimately, religion is about values, societal values.
All laws are either moral or ethical.
Ethical meaning how we treat others.
Moral meaning our responses to the laws of God.
So no matter how you look at it—you can’t escape merging religion with politics.
Politics are inherently religious—despite efforts to make them appear distinctly secular.
This is where we find ourselves right now!
. . .and “missional drift” is exactly what’s taking place in our culture today. We’re becoming a culture of the “acculturated!”
. . .unfortunately, even in the church.
To be “acculturated” means complying with the culture in which we live.
Ask yourself, are you in any way compromising or becoming attuned to the world’s ways at the expense of God’s ways?
A lack of discernment, and certainly, in many cases, a lack of biblical literacy is a huge problem.
If we don’t know what the Bible says, if we don’t understand God’s ways, we end up drifting toward opinion and so-called tolerance!
We need to get back to foundational, righteous issues and principles.
If we don’t, we’ll just continue to drift, compromising God’s truth and God’s ways.
Recently a professor at the University of Minnesota encouraged students to trash all copies of an independent student publication because of its views. Calling it a “disgrace.”
The following day—all the papers disappeared from their bins. I should mention the paper is a satire-driven conservative paper.
Since then, another edition of the paper was defaced.
Alliance Defending Freedom has asked the university to investigate, publicly condemn the thefts, and take steps to protect the paper from further violations of the first Amendment.
The professor is certainly within his rights to oppose the view in the student newspaper. But when he engages in acts of theft and destruction to silence those with a different point of view—he’s violating the First Amendment.