Don’t let fear of a social gospel put you off doing good works locally

Nov 4, 2022 by

By Stephen Kneale, Building Jerusalem:

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

I have argued before that the current context in which we broadly find ourselves in the Western World means that the church can no longer rely on being seen as an inherently good thing. Time was, people thought the church was inherently good, even if they themselves weren’t overly interested in it. They might send their kids for a bit of good morals, or spiritual formation, because the church was essentially alright, just not of interest to them in particular.

That clearly is not the situation we are in anymore. These days, we are not seen as a basically good thing. Indeed, we are no longer even seen as an essentially harmless thing. Now we are broadly seen as a bad, problematic thing. The world now sees itself as the good and the church as opposing what it stands for. We are, at best, viewed with a large degree of scepticism by many…

…We may sometimes think our efforts to serve our neighbours are a bit pokey and rubbish. But we have no idea how the Lord might be using what we are doing to open up doors for the gospel. Serving people in ministry simply because the gospel compels us and it works for the good of our neighbours may seem fruitless, but these may well be the very things that open up doors for the gospel. Not merely opening doors for hearing, but opening doors for a receptive hearing.

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