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Where’s the “protest” in Protestantism gone? » Kent Hodge (May 2010)

How good doctrine and godly living lead to Christian mission.

Some of things that have been going through my mind as I have been praying in Jos over the past week…

We all live in an incredibly self orientated world which makes it hard for to see and respond to kingdom of God issues. I guess this is what Paul meant by the spirit of this world. We all know that it’s all around us. The thing is that it must be combated through the gospel of Jesus Christ – which stands in direct juxtaposition.

Many of the doctrines becoming popular, even in some Evangelical and Pentecostal circles today, highlight the degree to which we are nestling in and becoming accepting on the worldly view. People who call themselves followers of Jesus are claiming that there is no hell, no eternal judgement, that Jesus is not the only way to salvation, that the scriptures are not the word of God and in the “end” God will save everybody.

What then of the sacrifice of the first apostles and many since then, who laid down their lives, for OUR faith – to ensure life in Christ could be passed onto us today? And why do we risk and spend our lives for the gospel now, if ultimately it doesn’t matter? And why do so many, even around us here in Jos, die for their faith in Jesus, if only in this life we have hope? In which life do we have our hope – in this life or in the next? The answer to this is shown by how we live.

The values of the world, even expressed today by many called Christian, erode away every motive for godly living. And this godly living must come with a sense of care and concern. We who love God must hate sin in our own lives. “Protestantism” reminds us of a movement of people who care about their faith, but in recent times it has seemed to have lost its “protest”. Christianity is more about an experience for me and “love” seen more in terms of being “nice” than fulfilling our duties of faith.

These issues strike at the very heart of mission. Australia has a great mission heritage because it had a great Christian basis. Our churches believed in the foundations of the gospel message and were thus compelled by love and personal sacrifice to share these uncompromisingly with all humanity. Not only did this work in mission, but it also ensured the safety of our own nation in the next generation. I am not so much an expert on Australia – I am not there much – but as you look around the world today it is obvious that this is what must be rebuilt in our families, churches and nations.

I guess this takes a level of earnestness, but how do we get this with our television sets and diversions? It is by God’s grace and his timing also, but we clearly have a part. We are not meant to be lukewarm in these matters. Even if our lives aren’t used by God in bringing about a biblical revival in our time, they still must be lived rightly before God. And yes, it all starts and continues  by faith, which is his gift in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Kent Hodge