Now More Than Ever, It’s Time for the Church to Be a Thermostat
by J Warner Wallace
Sometimes it feels like we, as Christians living in the twenty-first century, are the first to find ourselves surrounded by a culture that seems to reject much of what we believe. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. The earliest Christians, struggling to survive in the first century, were surrounded by a far more hostile culture. In spite of the obstacles and challenges, this group continued to grow, unlike the present Church in America, which appears to be shrinking each and every year. What’s the difference between these two groups? One important distinction is simply the response each group expressed (and is currently expressing) toward the culture in which they live(d). The first century Church was a thermostat, while the twenty first century Church (in America, at least) is often little more than a thermometer.
Thermostats control the temperature, while thermometers simply reflect it. The first century Church was well trained by its Master. Jesus told the earliest disciples and followers that they needed to resist the temptation to simply reflect the temperature of their culture:
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)
Jesus told his followers to set the tone for the world around them. To change the flavor of the culture rather than simply adopt the flavor of their first century environment…
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