Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, has been consistently coming out with interesting and relevant perspectives on the Christian faith, the general culture and the interaction between the two. I enjoyed sitting down with him in Nashville recently for an interview on his popular internet-based show.
In a piece published last week for Christianity Today, “4 Trends for Churches to Consider,” Stetzer builds on some of the points he presented earlier this year refuting the myth about the “dying” American Church. This new article is a worthwhile read, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself.
The big picture Stetzer’s presenting is this: the culture is no longer inherently friendly to Christianity or our principles. Gone are the days where even nominal believers still led their lives trying to follow the Ten Commandments. Today’s culture embraces much more of an “anything goes” mantra. As a result, those who call themselves Christians are feeling pressure to compromise their values to fit in.
This pressure will serve to purify the Church and make committed believers – those Stetzer calls convictional Christians – more distinct from the culture that surrounds them.
A choice to make
This distinction comes at a price. After all, it’s easier to follow the cultural winds of change that deny the veracity of the Bible, the existence of absolute truth and God’s definition of marriage.
What’s the alternative for the Church? I’ll quote directly from Ed:
…become a counter-cultural church that faithfully adheres to Scripture and proclaims the gospel in a carefully considered way. [This] church will offer real hope in the midst of an adversarial culture and is the only real future for the American church.
Parachurch organizations like Focus on the Family are not exempt from this decision. We, too, have a choice to make. We’re committed to continuing our allegiance to Scripture, and to standing in the gap for marriages, families and the preborn.
As culture continues to drastically change around us and people are now wrestling with issues previous generations wouldn’t have even thought of, I ask for your prayers. Please pray that God would give all of us at Focus discernment to engage our culture well – with love, truth and wisdom. Please pray that God would keep our faith strong, and that we can faithfully continue to live out our mission to help families thrive.
Thriving Pastor is Focus on the Family’s own resource for clergy and about church matters. Pulse Check, which is part of Thriving Pastor, provides helpful research findings and ministry tools to help those in ministry.
I’ll leave you with my other posts highlighting Stetzer’s work, as well as the video of my recent interview with him: