Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Part 2

In my last post I spoke about the balance between doing acts of service without an agenda and proclaiming the name of Jesus. Do we have to proclaim His name every time we do a good deed? Does Luther's phrase about proclaiming the Gospel and if necessary using words truly make sense? 

A few of my friends commented, and I figured I would respond with a second post. 

First off, I agree with everyone that commented. There may be points that I could disagree, but over all I see where everyone is coming from. 

Jacob said that we need to be careful not to replace the name of Christ with the name of  "my church" or the name of "myself." I agree with this. In order to combat the mistakes past generations have made, we are trying to win the world's trust back by not cramming the message down their throats. (I will wash your feet because they are dirty, not because I want you to join a committee at my church). 
However, I simply feel that in our generation we are being so reactionary that we are swinging with the pendulum. We are overcompensating. See, we are embarrassed by the Church, because the Church has a history of making some foolish mistakes. We aren't ashamed of Christ, but proclaiming Him throws us into the same category as people who hold "God Hates Fags" signs. 
Here's the rub. We belong to Christ and we belong to each other. So, we proclaim him, and we can apologize for the Church's wrong actions. However, we can't shy away from the message. Let's not gain trust by never letting people know who we belong to. 

Bill said (and he was mainly playing devil's advocate). What if people outside our faith who are doing good deeds are proclaiming the Gospel in some weird way. The Gospel story is unfolding even through the actions of nonbelievers. I like this concept of each of us having a "God-Shaped Hole." Since we were all created in His image, we can't help but carry out His actions. 
But, by and large I don't put too much stock in that (even though it may be a beautiful truth). God's will may be unfolding through their actions, but there is an old example of seeing dead bodies in a stream. We could try and fish every one out, or go upstream and tell them to stop jumping in. 
I think it is good that people are being helped by Christians and Non-Christians alike. However, true freedom comes when we can transcend every trial because of hope in Christ. Transcendence doesn't come just from being helped, but it happens when life crumbles and we remain hopeful. People need to hear the name of Christ in order to obtain a hope like that. We can only build so many houses (praise the Lord for the houses we DO get built!), but we have hope that can burn in the homeless. This can only be passed along through proclamation. 

I liked what Betsy said...
It should seep out of us. If we are truly in tune with Christ, we will strike the perfect balance between service and proclamation. Really, that is the key. 
When I am in love, I have to tell people I am in love. I'm a dork like that. 
When I write a song, I want people to hear it. 
I write this blog hoping you'll read it. 
I feel close to Jesus. I want people to know it. 

Michael, great point, dude. 
We bide our time and build true, authentic relationships before we start handing out tracks and "test-a-mints." We become friends with people, because we love people. Not... "Hey, I'm Taylor. Good to meet you. Let's hang out. Repent of your sins. Hell is calling your name." 
But, I'm glad you finished your comment by saying, we should never shy away from it. 

I know all this sounds like we're getting caught up in details that are pointless. But I don't think so. Guys, our generation is doing a really good job with service, but we suck at proclamation. We need to be saying the name of Jesus. 

If we acknowledge Him before men, He will acknowledge us before His Father in Heaven...
Go and make Disciples of all nations, teaching them... 

We are doing great at being the hands of Christ. Praise God. 
We need to start being the mouth. 


Going Weston said...

Wa wa WAIT a second...nobody said anything about people jumping into a river and dying! I change my answer!

J/k, I like your recap. I think it was spot on. Let us not forget that there is actual metaphysical power in the name of our Christ, and that we should never think twice about proclaiming that. There might be occasions where we hold back on the whole story for practical purposes...but we have been given powerful promises by using Christ's name.

Anonymous said...

Taylor Brown:

I've finally found you in the blogosphere... thanks to your pops.

Good series of posts, and great thinking. I grew up in the "knowledge is power" church, where it was more spiritual to know your books of the Bible than to give a cup of cold anything to anyone, so this is something I'm learning to do. So here's my two cents worth...

In our newest micro-church, we're simply going through John, a chapter a week. Through 10 chapters, here's what everyone has noticed. Jesus never did anything without a reason--pointing people to himself. John 6 is the turning point--the feeding of the 5,000. He did it because they were hungry, and "made the jump" the next day: I AM the bread of life. Jesus always did good, but it was to point people to Him. And it caused division. Some followed him, some rejected him. The further you go, the more good he does, and the more division it causes.

Look at Peter and John in Acts 3--they healed the crippled dude... in the name of Jesus. Yeah, Jesus was doing the healing through them, but they also let the dude know who did the healing.

Many "missional" churches seem to be doing good as a marketing tool--we do good so more people will come to church. Completely sucky motive. Some aren't proclaiming Jesus, just doing good... which completely strips our help of hope. Some have discovered the proper balance. My personal thought: if we're to reflect Jesus, it comes in our actions and words. We need to learn to say, "Hey, Jesus loves you" when we help. Some will accept; some will reject. I'm still learning how to do it... I suck at it. But that's what I see. Do good, because that's what we're supposed to do, and look for the opportunity to proclaim Jesus, even if it's just a few words.

Holler at me sometime. I've got a Partagas Black with your name all over it!

ragamuffinminister said...

Proclamation is definitely something Jesus subscribed to.

There has been somewhat of a swing from proclamation that hinders on 'bad' or 'wrong' even. We've got to be proud of who we are, but no pious. We've got to be confident, but not cocky. We've got to be thoughtful, but not esoteric.

It can be done.

bill said...


crap. I mean...

in Jesus Name, amen.

Going Weston said...


betsy said...


Dell Paulsen said...

I think this is a great discussion. It's severely important that we serve in Christ's name. What's the point of loving and serving your neighbor if it isn't because you love and serve God and want others to know His grace? It is by His grace that we are even given the opportunity to live, let alone serve. ^_^

Anyway, my name is Dell. I'm basically just stopping by to say hey. I saw you perform at the Acoustic in Johnson City tonight and loved it, I'm a Johnson Bible student and also enjoyed your show when Charlie Hall was in town. I am really glad to have been introduced to your music. It's great. Keep on playing and dreaming, brother. God Bless.