I don’t know! If by that question you mean will righteousness become prominent in American culture, or take center stage in people’s thinking, I would say that there is some doubt about that. If you mean will the church again embrace holiness with enthusiasm and passion, in a way that marks it out as decidedly different from society around it, I think the jury is still out. It is a shame, but in the world of Christian thought, and passion for church growth, the notion of character and right conduct has been marginalized as a concomitant to many of the other more pressing programs and practical problems facing the church in its headlong pursuit for relevance in our culture. Relevance may even have become a more pressing preoccupation than witness.

There’s a problem with this. The notion that the church needs to be relevant, though premised on the idea that irrelevance hinders evangelism, has become and end in itself, a goal to be achieved, rather than the means to an end, the salvation of the lost. No one is suggesting the church languish in a lack of relevance, or become anachronistic. But as with many things, we sometimes don’t see clearly because of a sense of urgency about what is immediately pressing us. I occasionally writhe in frustration as a pastor at my inability to achieve relevance in some area of ministry, and fail to see or rejoice at what God is actually doing under my nose in the lives of people who were once lost, but have come to faith in Christ. To struggle with being relevant, instead of questing for righteousness, is to occupy our efforts with something that is not ultimately our mission. Our mission is the salvation of the lost, and to finally see them come into a meaningful experience of mature development of character as disciples of Christ. This development of character occurs on a continuum of growth in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), in which conduct is affected by regeneration, the sanctifying power of God and the powerful indwelling presence of the Spirit (Rom. 5:1-11; 6:1-10; 8:1-17, 28-29; Gal. 2:20-21; 5:13-26). While my “job” may be to “grow” the church, and to attend to its welfare as an institution or organized congregation, my calling is to see to it that the sheep are fed and care for – to attend to the salvation of the lost, and the development of the saints into mature, healthy, and fruitful disciples (John 15, 21:15-19).

Category: From the Pastor

About the Author

Paul and Loala pastor the Wilmington First Pentecostal Holiness Church, where they have served for almost 20 year. They have two children who work and serve in the church worship department, along with their son-in-law. Paul is a graduate of Holmes Bible College (Greenville, SC), with a BA in English Bible and New Testament Greek, and of Global University (Springfield, MO) with an MA in Biblical Studies (New Testament Concentration).

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