What we believe in we promote; the Church believes in its mission for its own survival, as any entity seeks to survive. Survival is basic to humans physically, socially and psychologically, as well as businesses, States and communities. Survival is the most basic of needs.
Today's sermon was on one of the most primary needs and emphasis of evangelicalism, which is "Evangelism" (but converts are needed in all religions, if they continue to thrive and grow, unless that particular religious tradition builds itself through populating the earth and enculturating the earth in this way.) Though evangelicals don't like to think of themselves as fundamentalists, they really are, because they accept "special revelation" or a 'higher or transcendent truth". Such "truth" was what our pastor talked about today, as it is a means of "transformation".The message took a passage from Acts to suggest that Phillip was to help interpret the eunach's questions about a passage he was reading from Isaiah. This is the "mission of the church' to help others understand their lives within the context of "God's Plan" "Purpose or Vision", which is identified within "the Bible". Such a vision is about about spiritualizing one's understanding, or seeing things through "God's perspective", and surrendering one's understanding to the Magisterium, The Church's "teaching minsters". The Magisterium were the appointed leaders to "conform" converts to "correct doctrine", so that "perfection" might be attained.
The Magesterium talk about transcendent realities, that are not practical realities, except to further the Church's mission. 'Missions" are really about political realities and goals.I must give credit to our pastor, though, as he did affirm the need of "the human". He talked of the evangelical church's "sin" of not listening, or attempting to convert before building relationship, etc. But, the end goal of such relationship is still to convert and conform. "God' is still the priority of such agendas, not the person themself. (But, perhaps, I judge the pastor too harshly, as he truly believes what he preaches, I believe. And we all tend to promote what we believe in, don't we?). The person themself is the end, not "God", in my opinion. And the person, themself, is the answer to many difficulties we face in our nation presently.
The issues of peace, and virtue are Roman values that have come to impact the Church's "mission" as the Church was intially accused of creating a disturbance to peace, and were blamed for the downfall of Rome. But, today, peace and virtue are the "transforming work" of the Church. According to the "first modern historian of the Roman Empire", Edward Gibbon, Christians had lost their "civic virtue", because they were waiting to "be saved" in the next "life". And many in the Roman Empire had handed over its protection to the Praetorian Guard. A recent Time's article suggests that this is what has happened in America today. The "military class" is becoming isolated and insulated from the "power elite" and the average American citizen! Such a gap does not encourage citizenship and the larger issues of character. The Military Academy at Westpoint has as its motto; "We don't lie, cheat, or steal and we don't tolerate those who do". This is a high standard for most of the "power elite". The military is "taken for granted" but not applauded by many. In fact, many liberals think that Utopian ideals are attainable apart from realistic goals and grounded historical realities.
Our pastor's message was a message that the evangelical church wants to promote. And fortunately, in America, one can give their life to what they believe in, not what they are forced to believe!
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