The Bible is not just about Jesus, though Jesus impacts all areas of life as He is Lord. The Bible is also about family, economics, politics, work ethic, and beauty. As the queen of all books, her wisdom stands supreme, impacting all areas of life. A tactical error of the church in the last few decades is reducing the Bible to just about Jesus, and reducing the church down to just the Gospel. This is sin, as we are to take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b This also left us bereft of the abundant life Christ gives. Our reduction was not us being simple but cowards.
Beauty and art
Christian worship should be done in order. This order is not about militant precision but the beauty of various gifts coming together to build the church in love. The symphony is a picture of how numerous instruments can come together to make beauty. This coming together of varied giftedness results in speaking to each other, not in bullet points, but in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I have yet to hear a sermon on beauty, yet it is there in the text. This means flowing from Gospel are discussions on art. Not just the mere communication of ideas, but the beauty in how those ideas are communicated. This is a central aspect to being Spirit filled. We are more like Judis calling out extravagance than the women anointing Christ’s feet with her tears.
Work and worship
In the Gospel, how we work is worship. Worship moved beyond sacrifice in the Old Covenant, to how we live in the New Covenant. Worship then commands excellence from our abilities, engagement with others to bring peace and healthy politics. It called for grace in matters where the Bible leaves us to the full color spectrum of liberty. Bringing all things captive to Christ demands a robust biblical theology of politics followed by robust engagement. This is the quest of not overcoming evil with evil, but overcoming evil with good. The winsome movement of evangelicals is cowardliness disguised as virtue. In avoiding the malarkey (which is Irish for fertilizer) of our day to protect our prophetic voice, the prophetic voice did not happen. Worse, many pastors aided and abetted evil in misguided notions of Romans 13 to excuse biblical commands.
Family and children
The sacrifice of our cowardliness and obedience to Christ gave up the moral high ground. While singleness does not make one a lesser Christian, we failed to acknowledge that the marriage bed is honorable. That sexual purity outside of marriage is abstaining, but within marriage is a robust sex life. This alone is bad, but what we also allowed children to be viewed as a commodity rather than gifts from God. We separate children from parents too often, and we question large families. The results of this lead to children being an option rather than Christian duty to pass on family legacy. This is not to say childless families are lesser Christians. It is to say that life is to be celebrated and brought into our world. The command to be fruitful and multiply, filling the Earth, has not been rescinded. The idols of our day put marriage and children into question. Perhaps many children leave the church because just like our culture we do not value them.
The good life
The purpose of praying for those in authority is that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness. Biblical Christianity prescribes what the good life looks like. It is a life of feasting, of children playing, of turning the chaos of our world into ordered beauty. But these conversations are lost, and these battlefields abandoned by the winsome cowardliness of wanting to be liked. In the quest to cut through the noise by reducing the church to just the Gospel, we allowed the weeds of chaos to flourish in our now hellish landscape of tyranny. On matters we kept silent are now satan’s footholds in culture. Rather than clarity of the Gospel, we produced the static of worldliness.
The armor of God is not for hiding
The purpose of our armor is not to hide, but to hold and take ground. It is not to be winsome, but to speak boldly as we ought to speak. The time for our prophetic voice was three years ago, but for many now would be a good time to start. Regardless of your eschatology, the Church is never ordered to flee, but to sacrifice. That in the day of Christ’s judgment those who persecute may honor God for our conduct. Whether rapture minded as myself, or post-millennial as others, our duty to is to engage. Our message to repent from this perverse generation. Our hope the Christ who will make all things new as demonstrated by the empty tomb. We are to build and teach what is the good life, a life filled with beauty and art, works and worship, family and children. If there ever was a time for Christians to live as a peculiar people, it is now. For standing firm in these areas is to stand against evil. For standing firm is a command. For standing firm is to put on Christ.