“…God’s revelation of himself is rejected far more often than it is accepted…”

christplaysFrom Eugene H. Peterson’s Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places:

Eighteen hundred years or so of Hebrew history capped by a full exposition in Jesus Christ tell us that God’s revelation of himself is rejected far more often than it is accepted, is dismissed by far more people than embrace it, and has been either attacked or ignored by every major culture or civilization in which it has given its witness: magnificent Egypt, fierce Assyria, beautiful Babylon, artistic Greece, political Rome, Enlightenment France, Nazi Germany, Renaissance Italy, Marxist Russia, Maoist China, and pursuit-of-happiness America. The community of God’s people has survived in all of these cultures and civilizations but always as a minority, always marginal to the mainstream, never statistically significant. Paul was acerbically brief: “not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth…God chose what is low and despised in the world” (1 Cor. 1:26, 28)

It gives us pause. If we, as the continuing company of Jesus, seem to have achieved an easy accommodation with our society and culture, how did we pull off what Jesus and the community of Jesus failed to accomplish? How has it come to pass that after twenty centuries of rejection, North American Christians assume that acclaim by numbers is a certificate of divine approval?

The significance of the church has never been in King Number. Its message has seldom (hardly ever, in fact) been embraced by the mighty and powerful. Strategies are introduced from time to time to target “important” leaders, men and women in high places in government, business, or the media, for conversion. It is not a practice backed by biblical precedent. There are, of course, Christians in high places politically and prominent in the celebrity pantheon, but their position and standing doesn’t seem to mean anything strategically significant in terms of God’s kingdom. To suppose that if we can just “place” Christian men and women in prominent positions of leadership, we are going to improve the efficacy of the community in its worship, missions, or evangelism, has no warrant in Scripture or history.

so what do you think?

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