Insiders Inside Us
By Pastor Steve Simmons
Listening to a podcast from Mortification of Spin about the Insider’s Movement got me thinking about that kind of thinking that is inside the evangelical church. The Insiders Movement is a movement that seeks to frame the gospel so that the culture and religion of the Muslim is not disrupted by the gospel. Converts are encouraged to stay in the Muslim religion and be a follower of Jesus in Islam so that hardship can be avoided and connections maintained. This anti-Christian movement is a sad testimony on how quickly some will abandon Christ for the world, and sadly this kind of thinking can be found in the evangelical church. Whenever we press theology into the mold of the world and try to remove the offence of the gospel in order to connect, attract, or identify with those around us we join with the Insiders Movement in selling out.
We don’t deny that culture and preferences matter. However trying to keep up with the trends of the day is not only exhausting it demands that we mold ourselves into the image of the world around rather than being molded by God centered worship, the Bible, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, Christian fellowship, and other such ordinary means of grace. It is insane to think that if we catch up with the culture’s preferences we will somehow connect with the hip, cool, and groovy of today…who we will have to dump later to connect with the hip, cool, and groovy of the next day.
But what if we structured our church life around those things that really matter and act as if the most attractive thing a church can offer is Christ. What if that was enough? What if we did not need to be on a never ending journey to connect with the cultural shifts of the last five days? The truth is, we don’t need to fit in. We need to hold up Christ and invite others in. Those who cherish Christ may not prefer our music style as much as their own but those who cherish Christ are not looking for a church to identify with them. They are looking for a church they can identify with.
To the upside down everything right side up is upside down and while standing on our head to accommodate may be attractive to some it does nothing to point them toward getting right side up.
We are an ordinary church that delights in the ordinary means of Grace especially the Bible, prayer, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. We sing hymns and are traditional in our approach to worship—that is what it is like here. Our hope is that when we become aware of change that needs to happen, because we are convinced by God’s Word, it will be embraced with zeal. However, we are not interested in trying to keep up with the never ending pursuit of being a church that identifies with the cool, hip and groovy*. We are a church of young families, older couples, and all in-between that delights in the things that matter most.
If you are looking for a group of gospel loving people who are not going to accommodate your preferences, this just might be the church for you. We are a church committed to being renewed by God’s means of grace rather than being transformed by the influences of the World. And so we will gladly trade any hope of man’s approval that we might on the last day hear “well done thou good and faithful servant.”
*And yes…I was born in the 50s and worked hard to see how many times I could use the word "groovy" in this article.