Involvement: A Christian’s Responsibility
By Daryl Rash
There is perhaps no other subject as controversial as the Christian’s position in society. We realize that we can do nothing without the leading of the Holy Spirit, and we do not want to detract from or minimize the influence of God’s Spirit in this world. We also are aware that God Himself chose, “…by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). The Lord spoke to His disciples, saying, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Again He said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Matthew 5:13).
When we look at church history, we must ask ourselves if the church has lived up to the expectations of the commands of our Lord. How successful have we been? Could the church have been more successful in reaching the lost?
The Lord, in His plan, left the church in the world for a purpose. That purpose appears to be twofold: first, “…for the perfecting of the saints” (Ephesians 4:12), and second, “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). It is the purpose of this chapter to examine the more popular views of Christian involvement and to form a biblical position for reaching our world.
This view of withdrawal from society started during the time of the early church fathers. In the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, R.E.O., White said, “In the apostolic church, the essence of sanctification was a Christ-like purity; in the patristic church, withdrawal from the contaminations of society.”
Where the apostolic church radiated a Christ-like purity, the patristic church began to manufacture a simulated sanctification by isolating itself from an active place in society. Believers began to look upon the isolated position as a place of purity, or a sign of sanctification.
This attitude of separation from society was not new. Paul stood up and proclaimed that he was a Pharisee, as was his father. The word Pharisee meant separate. Paul was not ashamed of his training as a Pharisee and was merely stating how he had been trained. William L.Coleman discussed the Pharisee in The Pharisee’s Guide to Total Holiness, and said
They could wear the title (Pharisee) well since they prided themselves in their denunciation of impure and ungodly elements. Physical separation was of paramount importance. Functional holiness was considered evidence of personal piety, and Lev. 11:44-45 was a central passage.
Their detractors were also happy to use the term but only as a burlesque wit. They considered the Pharisees as a bunch of holy freaks too pious to touch the common man. To them Pharisaism represented a flock of self-righteous prigs.
Whatever the origin of the title, they wore it as did Paul, with dignity. They considered their priorities close to the heart of God.
The Pharisees had no greater task than to protect and propagate the laws of God. Their methods for accomplishing this may seem strange and yet, at the same time, may tell us something about ourselves. The zeal to respect and follow the Scriptures has led people to do odd things things that they never saw as strange or unusual.2
The Pharisees were not insincere, nor did they knowingly or purposely change the Scriptures. Their purpose was to live so completely righteous as to make it impossible to break the law of God.
This same attitude or spirit of separation appeared very early in the history of the church. It is difficult to determine exactly when, but according to C. T. Marshall, in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, the trend towards monasticism can be traced back to the very beginning of the church. Marshall says that early Christian monastics drew their spiritual strength from the following Scriptures: concerning poverty, where Jesus spoke to the rich young man and told him to “go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor” (Mark 10:21), and also when Jesus referred to “the narrow way” (Matthew 7:14). Later celibacy probably came from Paul’s teaching on marriage, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I” (1 Corinthians 7:8). Marshall traced the record on monasticism back to the second and third centuries. He said,
The first monks of whom we have a good record represent an extreme phase in the evolution of monasticism. These are the so-called desert fathers, hermits, living in the eremitical style in the deserts of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. Enraged by sin and fearful of damnation, they left the towns for a solitary struggle against temptation. Some, like Simon Stylites, lived very exotic lives and became tourist attractions. More typical was Anthony of Egypt (250-365), whose commitment to salvation led him back to the community to evangelize unbelievers. His extreme asceticism deeply touched the sensibilities of the age.3
These teachings led to the developing and building of monasteries and convents where dedicated people felt they were safe from the temptations of the world and could devote their lives to God.
These early monks and nuns did physical labor, provided charitable services, and performed the duty of safeguarding the Scriptures. The monasteries became popular and by the twelfth century became the recipients of large land grants. The monks became very rich, and those attracted to them were less than righteous. With the decline of the original order of monks, other reformed orders appeared. The last successful revival of monasticism was in the Middle Ages, when the Dominicans and Franciscans appeared. Francis of Assisi was the best known and represented not only the monastic ideal but recurring also Christian idealism.
The Protestant Reformation, the enlightenment, and twentieth century secularism brought an end to the popularity of the monastic order but not the end of separatism.
Shortly following the Protestant Reformation, Philipp Jakob Spener took a major step towards reviving the church. Spener is known as the father of Pietism. Pietism was actually a recurring, tendency within the church to return the church to the practicalities of Christian life. The church had grown formal, the leaders had become insincere, and the church was filled with fighting between different theological factions. The Thirty Years’ War, which was in reality a religious war, developed doubts about the church in general. Spener’s efforts brought about reform in the church. M. A. Noll listed four general traits of pietism in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: 1.Its experiential character; 2. Its biblical focus; 3. Its perfectionist bent; 4. Its reforming interest.4 In spite of the need for the reforming work of Spener and the needed results of pietism, some fears of its opponents were realized. Noll listed them as:
At its worst the pietistic tendency can lead to inordinate subjectivism and emotionalism; it can discourage careful scholarship; it can fragment the church through enthusiastic morality; and it can underrate the value
of Christian traditions.5
These items referred to by Noll are still problems the church faces today. We don’t want to overlook the four general traits of pietism referred to above. We want to remember that pietism encouraged a return to the Scriptures and encouraged the people to find an intimate fellowship with God.
Other groups followed in the years to come: at first there were Moravians, Quakers, and Mennonites; and eventually there were Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals. They were marked with fervor, zeal, and a desire to return to the precepts of the apostolic church.
Harold L. Bussell, in Lord, I Can Resist Anything But Temptation, explained that since the time of Christ, sincere Christians have tried to protect themselves by building walls of protection and separation. Monasteries separated from family and friends; vows of silence were intended to separate from lying tongues. Abstinence from certain foods and beverages, and even celibacy, became widespread. Bussell said:
Many of these attempts to flee temptation through separation from the “world” are not intrinsically misguided. But however much distance we put between ourselves and the “world” the self cannot ward off theintrusion of lust, greed, envy, and hate. However far we flee, or however completely we separate, the self is there. If we understand and accept this truth, it can help set us free from unbiblical and always disappointing attempts to merely flee “the whole mess,” or simply separate ourselves from a world “going to hell. 6
Jesus gave us the proper admonition concerning our position in the world when He prayed, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast
sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17: 16-18).
Perhaps the greatest danger to the church is the danger of secularization, which was defined in the Evangelical Review of Theology, January, 1986, by Klaus Bockmuehl, in his article titled, “Secularization and Secularism: Some Christians Considerations.” Bockmuehl defined secularization as, “…the withdrawal or emancipation of social institutions, world views, and individual lives from instruction by, or responsibility to, ecclesiastical or divine authority.7
Secularism can be traced back to the Protestant Reformation at which time the ecclesiastical lands and estates were returned to certain individuals. This was a direct result of the age of monasticism in which
the monks were considered Christians and all other believers were hardly considered in the church. There developed a clear line between the church and the secular. This marked the end of unlimited power of the Roman Church. This all came about because of the excesses of the church system prior to the Protestant Reformation.
The purpose of secularization was to turn man from the church to humanism, to free man from the authority of the church, and ultimately from God. It was not the intention of the reformers to turn men from God and His commandments, but to correct excesses in the Roman church. Bockmuehl explained this clearly when he said:
We therefore have to distinguish throughout between two types of secularization, between emancipation from ecclesiastical tutelage, and withdrawal from one’s responsibility to the Judgment of God. The former is the intention of Reformation, the latter the program of more recent centuries. Only the latter is an unlimited proposition, and can thus be called secularism.8
The move towards secularism, which followed the Reformation, was quite reserved at first. Secular views were considered as private matters and were not discussed in the pulpit. Ministers were constrained from mentioning anything in the pulpit that wasn’t in accord with the church’s teaching. By the end of the nineteenth century, things had changed.
People felt that this change would bring about great advances in the freedom of the people, an end to oppression, and great steps toward a heavenly existence on earth. Quite the opposite has happened. In Europe, where this all began, there has been the greatest change. World Wars I and II have shown that secularism will not correct the problems of humanity; in fact, the opposite is true. The state churches of Europe have lost almost all their influence. Hundreds of churches in England have closed their doors. Many are used for purposes other than churches. At least one cathedral in England is now used as a Hindu temple. In Germany, the state churches are open, but attendance is very small. Few young people attend the state churches.
When the church’s authority and the authority of God are compromised, people turn to other sources for spiritual things. Secularism has not fulfilled the hopes of the people. Europeans have turned to eastern religions and to the occult for fulfillment. Islam has become the fastest growing religion in America. Hex schules (witch schools) are a common sight in German towns and at festivals. Covens are meeting in many cities of America, as well as in Europe. In the Netherlands, many old churches have closed their doors.
The lifestyles of people in Europe and America have been drastically affected by secularization. The family unity is disintegrating, values are changing, and morality is at an all-time low. Jacques Ellul, in The Subversion of Christianity, described the condition of Christianity:
How has it come about that the development of Christianity and the church has given birth to a society, a civilization, a culture that are completely opposite to what we read in the Bible, to what is indisputably the text of the law, the prophets, of Jesus, and of Paul?9
This all sounds pessimistic and discouraging, but this is only one side of the coin. This is the result of secularism, and it is not the only trend in the world. Other forces are at work, and we need to be reminded that the Lord said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
The Christian of the Bible is far different than the separatist or secular Christian we have been discussing. Jesus had a very different plan for His church. As we have already noted, the Lord declared that He would build a church that would prevail against the very gates of hell. Jesus told His disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). It is clear that the intent of Christ was for the Christian to be active in spreading the gospel. It is also clear that God did not require him to do this alone but gave the Christian power to accomplish what He commanded. The Bible makes us to know that the early believers understood a struggle would be necessary if they were to be successful. Paul, in his teachings to the Romans,listed the trials of the Christian life as tribulation, distress,
persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword, but reminded the believer that:
…we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).
With this kind of faith and assurance, the New Testament Christians endured all manner of hardship and yet were victorious in propagating the gospel in their world.
The attitude of the Christians of the New Testament gives us many clues as to their success. They were people of faith. Paul said, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). In Ephesians, Paul stressed God’s overwhelming provisions. The believer has the fullness of God.10
This kind of faith is the reason the disciples had such tremendous growth when the Lord instructed them to go to Jerusalem and wait until they received power from on high. (See Luke 24:49.) One hundred and twenty people were in the upper room in Jerusalem, and thirty years later Christianity was a world religion.11 The numbers given in the Bible are enough to stagger the imagination! There were one hundred and twenty people in the upper room, and almost immediately, three thousand souls were added to the church! J. Herbert Kane in A Concise History of the Christian World Mission, gave the following account of the growth of the church:
We know that in A.D. 250 the church at Rome supported one hundred clergy and fifteen hundred poor persons. Assuming the population to be not less than one million, Gibbon estimates the number of Christians at fifty thousand. Fifty years later, according to a third opinion, the Christian community numbered one hundred thousand. Antioch was the oldest and most illustrious church in the east. According to Chrysostom, towards the end of the fourth century, Christians accounted for half of the population of five hundred thousand. Gibbon, however, considers this figure too high and suggests 20 percent rather than 50.12
How many Christians were there at the end of the third century? No one knows for sure. Estimates range from ten to twenty-five percent of the population of the Roman Empire. The population of the Empire was estimated at between fifty and one hundred million people.13
In the fourth century, growth was even more rapid. After Constantine gave his support to the church, people seemed to rush to embrace the new faith. Kane says that the church in Rome reported twelve thousand. men, plus the same amount of women and children, baptized in one year.14
Why did the early church have such success? Remember Jesus said “ye are the light of the world” and “ye are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13, 14). It is the purpose of Christians to shine their light into the darkness of paganism and to season unbelievers with the salt of their influence. Kane said of the early church:
Everywhere and at all times they were to be as salt and light. They were to be different from other men, in character and conduct, in manners and morals, in motives and ideals; only so could they save the sinner, or reform society.15
By the year 200 A.D., Tertullian could write:
We are a new group but have already penetrated all areas of imperial life cities, islands, villages, towns, market-places, even the camp, tribes, palace, senate, and the law-court. There is nothing left for you but your temples.16
The Bible shows us a church ordained of God to evangelize the world. We are assured that God will build this church. He has commissioned believers to go and spread light to a dark world and to permeate the
world with the salt of the gospel. The Bible makes it clear that this will be done at the price of great suffering. We are also assured that all the fullness of God will be with His church, and He will be the source of all strength and comfort. He has promised never to leave us and also assured us that He will be an ever present help in the time of need.
We have been instructed to separate from the world and not be conformed to it. (See 2 Corinthians 6:17;Romans 12:2.) We have been instructed not to lay up treasures on this earth but rather to lay up treasures in heaven. (See Matthew 6:19-21.) We have also seen that the early believers trusted and were successful in reaching their world. We must reach our world! The only way is to walk in the light of God’s Word and be filled with the Spirit, so that we can truly be light and salt to this world.
How Should We Then Live in Our Society?
Here we are, nearly two thousand years since the church was founded. The church has seen days of great spiritual growth, as well as unbelievable numerical growth. At times, the church has ruled the world and enjoyed seemingly unlimited power. Revivals have come to some nations with such power and with such popular acceptance as to almost convert the entire population, and yet today the world is not converted. We are told that more people live in the world today than all who have lived from Adam to now. The world today is not a Christian world. Though some lands today are enjoying great spiritual growth and Christianity is on the increase, in other nations Christianity is on the decline. In the western world, Europe, and America, we are seeing a decline in Christian values.
We enjoy benefits that Christians from history did not enjoy. We are better prepared to evangelize the world. We have the written Word on a scale never before attained. The Bible has been translated into more languages; we have modern media; we have institutions of learning, and our churches are, at least in America, enjoying prosperity. Travel is no longer a problem. Today one can reach almost any country in the world in twenty-four hours. Not only is travel faster, but it is also safer.
We have almost two thousand years of church history behind us. We can evaluate the successes and the mistakes of the centuries gone by. We can see where separatism hindered church growth. The light of the Gospel was hidden. We also can see the ravages of secularism and how it has dimmed the light of the Gospel and caused the salt to lose its savor.
The key today is involvement. We must be involved with our world. In light of the history of Christianity, we understand why some people today are afraid to get involved. It seems that every renewal or awakening in the church has ended with the church becoming lukewarm and unconcerned. Many feel that getting the involved outside of the church family is to court disaster. In the last fifty years, pastors of some congregations have taught a strict separation from the world. As a result, many Christians have no contact with it. The walls that we have built give very little protection to the church and hinder immensely the church’s outreach to the world, The Christian thrives on spiritual warfare. As we walk with God and fight the battle that He has put before us, we grow spiritually stronger. When the Christian retreats; from the battle and separates himself from the world, he becomes spiritually weak.
Several years ago, a man in England inherited an estate in Scotland. When he had an opportunity, he traveled to see his inheritance and was surprised to find that it consisted of a beautiful old castle in a state of partial disrepair. Villagers from the nearby village had been coming to the castle and removing stones for the purpose of repairing their homes. Afraid of further damage to the castle, the owner hired a contractor to build a fence around the castle to protect it. After several years, the owner returned once again to see the castle, with the intention of repairing it as a home for retirement. Upon nearing the estate, he was astonished to see a huge stone wall surrounding the estate and the castle completely gone. Upon questioning the contractor as to the whereabouts of the castle, the owner received this answer: “I thought it would be a pity to buy material for a fence when all that stone was just going to waste, so I used the stones to build the fence.”
This is a fairly good example of what happens to the Christian that builds walls to protect himself from the world. After a while, there is nothing to protect and also the world has received no benefit from our existence. John Stott in Involvement, Vol. 1, said:
It is exceedingly strange that any followers of Jesus Christ should ever have needed to ask whether social involvement was their concern, and that controversy should have blown up over the relationship between evangelism and social responsibility. For it is evident that in His public ministry Jesus both ‘went about…teaching…and preaching’ (Matthew 4:35 RSV) and ‘went about doing good and healing’ (Acts 10:38
The ministry of Jesus included both a proclamation of hope, and social involvement with the people. He graces a wedding in Cana of Galilee with His presence. (See John 2:1-11.) He was accused of being gluttonous and consorting with drunkards and winebibbers. (See Matthew 11:19.) He attended a dinner at the house of a Pharisee and ministered to publicans and sinners to the consternation of the Pharisees and scribes. (See Luke 14:1; 15:1.)
Nathaniel Pugh, in Living in the Tower, said:
Jesus did not spend much time in the synagogues. He went to where the people were and mixed easily among them. Where did He go to preach His keynote sermon? He went to the side of a mountain with a rock for His pulpit.18
If we are to emulate the life of Christ, it is imperative that we get involved!
One problem we face with presenting the Gospel to the world is we are not sure that it is sufficient in itself. If we have rejected the separatist idea, then immediately we are tempted to dress up the Gospel to make it attractive to unbelievers. The Bible speaks of the last days when there would be men who, having a form of godliness, would deny the power thereof. (See 2 Timothy 3:5.) Paul instructed Timothy to turn away from such men. These are those that profess a knowledge of God but have no actual faith in Him. John Fischer in Real Christians Don’t Dance, said:
The success of the Gospel in our present age does not depend on how attractively it is packaged, but on how honestly real Christians are living out their lives in the world. That’s a message you simply cannot dress up, especially if you tell the whole truth about yourself.
We don’t use deception. We won’t draw people into a net and then surprise them with the Gospel. We set forth the Gospel plainly through words of truth and words of honesty from our lives. We trust God, the Great Designer, to handle His own image.19
One of the problems of our age is that we have experts in the art of dressing up the Gospel. Certain T.V. evangelists have been commercially successful at dressing up the Gospel. However, it appears that their own lives have caused them to have a very negative effect on our society. What we need are specialists in the art of living, not experts in the art of packaging!
It is obvious that it is easier to stray into a secular or worldly life style or slip into a separatist attitude, than to live by faith in this world. Samuel H. Miller, in Man the Believer, discusses the importance and the difficulty of living for God in this age of unbelief. Miller believes that ye must go out and live in this world. Miller says,
You cannot discover your self without discovering what this world is. The depth and dark duplicity of it, the torment of its magnitude, the subterranean cellars and the Himalayan heights all these things are both
outside of history and the inside of humanity. You belong to it as surely as Adam or Ulysses or Oedipus belonged; without it you will not know yourself. And finally, without yourself and the world, the question of God can scarcely be raised. This is the greatest risk of all, the final limit, the farthest frontier where the great gamble is made either God or nothing.20
Knowing what Miller is talking about would keep an individual from ever advocating a secular or social gospel. A separatist experience would keep you from knowing what he is talking about.
When the lives of Christians so closely parallel the lives of unbelievers, the Christian witness suffers. The drastic changes in the morality of the western world are due undoubtedly to many things. However, John Stott, in the book Involvement: Social and Sexual Relationships in the Modern World, says the greatest single reason for the higher divorce rate in the west is due to “the decline of Christian faith … together with the loss of commitment to a Christian understanding of the sanctity and permanence of marriage.”21 Obviously this is a sign that secularism has done its job well. The fact that Christian behavior following the trend of the world is in itself proof of change in, or lack of understanding in Christian beliefs. R. C. Sproul, in Ethics and the Christian World, said,
Obviously there must be a relationship between our ethical theories and our moral behavior. In a real sense our beliefs dictate our behavior. A theory underlies our every moral action. We may not be able to articulate that theory or even be immediately conscious of it, but nothing manifests our value systems more sharply than our actions.22
If the decline in morals and ethics were related only to unbelievers, then the light of the gospel would shine brighter and continue to do its work. The Scripture assures us, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). And “…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). The Christian does not have to fear the darkness of the world, for God has designed His church to be victorious in every situation. The Christian life is like a boat. Boats are designed to be put in the water. Christians are designed to live in the world. Problems arise when you put water in the boat, or the world in a Christian. Separatists won’t put their boat in the water, and a secularist or social Christian won’t take the water out of his boat.
We must always remember that God is in control of His church. It is impossible for us to understand why the wind blows in the direction that it does, but we must understand that God knows. God uses the excesses of man to bring about interest in Him and in His ways. Lewis B. Smedes, in Mere Morality, offers hope for the condition of our society with these words:
To people cut off from any moral or spiritual tradition, perhaps hankering for something to help them keep their balance on the slippery shingles of freedom, any claim to represent what God expects us to do may evoke recollections of a childhood faith forever lost. Still, freedom without direction and responsibility without rules get to be burdensome after awhile, and we may be more ready than we have been for awhile to ask whether there is a way to get to know the will of God.23
Now is the time to live what the Bible teaches, not with a legalistic outlook, but because God has provided salvation for us. What worked for the first church will work for the church today.
J. Herbert Kane said in Wanted: World Christians,
Well, God is not dead. He is very much alive. Moreover, He is still in control of the world and has not abandoned His plan one day to redeem the world. To this end He is actively at work in the worldwide missionary movement of our day.
We can be thankful that, in spite of the moral decadence in our country, God has not forsaken us. He is quietly going about the task of renewing His church. Church membership in the United States now stands at about 63 percent of the population – an all-time high.24
We, as believers, must live in faith knowing that “what He had promised, He was able also to perform” (Romans 4:21). Others watch our lives, and we must have faith in our hearts, as well as Christian ethics and
principles, if we are to be successful witnesses.
David J. Hessel grave spoke of the care we should use in evangelizing unbelievers. He mentioned a time in Indonesia when people walked for miles to hear the gospel, and certain missionary workers hindered the work because they were more interested in taking pictures than in the actual salvation of souls. Hessel grave described it,
The people are ready to listen to Christian witnesses who understand and love them. But missionary opportunists who simply preach, take pictures, and write articles for publications in the West will do more harm than good. We need, not just more missionaries, but more missionaries who are men and women of God and who understand how to communicate Christ in our culture.25
Juan Carlos Ortiz, in Call to Discipleship, mentions three areas that hinder the Christian’s involvement in our world: first, the eternal childhood of the believer. Ortiz thinks that we fail to disciple the converts in our churches, and they never grow up spiritually. It does seem that much time is spent accumulating numbers, pacifying them, and then accumulating more numbers. Ortiz quoted a new convert who, after six months in the church, said he had learned and knew as much as anyone in the church. Second is the misplacement of the believers. Ortiz says that many people never find their place in the body of Christ. Third is the lack of unity.26
Ortiz has given us three keys to reaching this generation: discipleship, helping others to find their place in the church, and the much talked about, but seldom practiced, art of loving one another as Christ loved us.
God’s church is a victorious church. He has, through His mercy, placed us in His church. Our performance depends not on our abilities or opportunities, but on how we yield to the influence of God in our lives.
It is our desire to be of service in the work of God. We know that to be successful or unsuccessful in the eyes of our associates is unimportant. The important thing is to be faithful.
To separate ourselves from our society is unfruitful. God places us in society to let our light shine and to bring hope to those in darkness. To separate ourselves from society is counter-productive. It will hinder our own spiritual growth and, as history has shown, bring about the very things we had tried to shun. Separation from evil is not the same as separation from society. We are instructed in God’s Word to shun evil, even the appearance of evil. God, however, placed us in this world as salt to add flavor. He also reminded the apostles that they were not of this world. Though we are in the world; we are not of the world.
Some feel it will be easier to attract the unbeliever if we can prove to them that we, as Christians, are not so very different from them. One man bragged that he had worked for five years at a certain factory and no one even knew he was a Christian. The danger of the social or secular church is that it loses the very ingredient, godliness, which is able to make it a success.
Perhaps the best way to explain the Christian’s position in society is the example of the missionary working in a different culture. He must socialize and mix with the people of his chosen mission field; however, he may not participate in their pagan ideals. He must learn to love them, to enjoy their food and their way of life, but never do anything to cause them to lose respect for him as an emissary of God. In like manner, the Christian must live in this world, love the people, eat their food, respect and love their way of life, but never act in any way to cause them to question his loyalty and allegiance to his God.
Jesus became the perfect example of this when He came from heaven, was born of a woman, suffered and lived in this world. He lived with mankind, loved them, and died, all that we might be saved. He did not separate Himself from us, nor did He join us in our sin, but lived the perfect example before us.
About the author:
Daryl Rash, B.A., M.A.
Daryl Rash is a graduate of Western Apostolic Bible College where he earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Theology. He has served as pastor in Coolidge, Arizona; Carmichael and Grass Valley, California. He was ordained by the United Pentecostal Church International in 1966. In 1993 he earned the Master of Arts degree in Exegetical Theology from Western Seminary.
Daryl Rash, and his wife Carol, answered the call to foreign missions in 1974 and served under appointment to Indonesia, Austria, Holland, and Germany, during their years as missionaries. Rash came back to the United States as a faculty member at Christian Life College in 1983. Except for three years when he returned to Germany as the Administrator of the Weisbaden School of Bible, he has continued to teach courses in missions and multi-cultural evangelism. He serves as the Dean of Missions. He is also on staff as an associate pastor at Christian Life) Center, Stockton, California.