Some years ago, a Canadian Church of God radio preacher-evangelist-author wrote a small forty-page catechism. That little booklet was his way of providing his radio audience a question-and-answer guide to religious doctrine, a realm to which he devoted much of his life explaining. He titled it THINGS MOST SURELY BELIEVED (Gospel Contact Press/H.C. Heffren/1977), while also proceeding to produce a plethora of literature about a wide range of religious issues.
That writer’s works are being compiled and will soon be republished in new foremat by Reformation Publishers of Prestonsburg, KY. A brief paragraph of his recently caught my attention, as related to the church. This man of the cloth called for the church to again be the church God intended. As I read his words, I was convicted of the need for the church to once more become the Balm of Gilead, the leaves of that tree that Saint John the Revelator described as ”healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2 NASV).
His words were profoundly simple. Yet, they speak to a church that finds itself overwhelmed by a tsunami of hostility, greed, corruption, and violence.
Acknowledging worship as primary (#1) on the church‘s agenda, he followed that with the following, which I quote:Second. It is the duty of the church to care for and be concerned with the needs of others.This is well worded in Galatians 6;10, “As we have therefore opportunity let us do good to all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” The Christian should be friendly, hospitable and courteous to all. If a believer falls into shame or sin, we should remember Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Too often the Christian attitude in such cases has been to criticize and condemn. It should be redemptive and bring restoration (emphasis mine).
Simple and to the point, the church is to be about the business of helping people help one another, of bringing healing to the nations, of helping people find meaningful relationships, assisting in restoring broken (strained) relationships, and pointing people to fortifying hope when they have failed.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out ways of becoming more constructive and helpful rather than spamming negative political messages about people and positions they dislike. The Apostle Paul offered a good suggestion to this end, writing, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
Rather, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31).
Whether one be a Jew, a Muslim, or a Christian, there is not much way to improve on what I learned years ago about negotiating a stairway while using crutches. “Up with the good; down with the bad” said the therapist in directing me how to proceed on crutches up and down a stairway, thereby protecting my shattered heel
Up with the good, down with the bad; that could fill a world with hope.