Village Church of Wheaton
Response to Our Culture
- We will be the church, faithful to the Gospel in a dominant culture whose fundamental assumptions are contrary to the Christian faith.
- We will not apologize for making universal claims about God as creator, about humans fallen in sin, about Christ as the normative revelation of God, about redemption as solely available in Christ, and about the coming renewal of the creation when the kingdom of God is a completed reality. We acknowledge that we seem strange to a world that has become comfortable with itself, knowing that we see the world in a different way, in the light of a defining story that embraces all time and all things (Ephesians 1:3-23).
- We will still teach the Gospel message to our children. The question is: Whose master story are our children fashioning their lives after? What single event is their interpretive key to understanding history? Is it the "Holocaust"? Is it the American Revolution? Is it the death and resurrection of Jesus? Or is it J.K. Rowling's next "Harry Potter" adventure? By teaching the story, language, and practice of the master narrative centered in Christ we can help those in the church make sense of life; we can give them a sense of coherence in a fragmented, decentered world.
- We will not cater to the culture. Even though everyone will be welcome no matter what their current belief, our goal will not be to bring the culture to Jesus but to bring Jesus to the culture. It is not Jesus who needs to adapt to the ways of the world, but the world that needs to adapt to the ways of Jesus.
- We will commit to transform the culture, not through the culture's means but through the doctrine of the church as delegated by Jesus. The evangelical church is in danger of failing to realize that the techniques of the culture are not neutral; they are laden with the ideological baggage of the culture. The medium through which the Gospel is communicated is also the message. Marketing philosophies that get the Gospel a hearing cannot keep means separated from ends.
The church growth movement and market driven churches (and even evangelical academics) are successful in large part because they are aware that the Gospel must be sold in terms appropriate to the secular culture. We will not uncritically adopt the culture's language and methods because of the ever present danger of losing the meaning and value of the message in the end. With language and technique come cultural assumptions.
- We will openly recognize that the church is engaged in battle with "principalities and powers" that manifest themselves in the culture. I'm quite amazed by people who believe that the stars can determine the outcome of their lives and yet scoff at anyone who believes in the existence of Satan and demons. Or, for that matter, people who believe God would have put them on this earth to do as they please without any written instructions and thus scoff as well at God's direct means of communication to them through the Bible.
The values and purposes of Jesus Christ will prevail in the world because they are reality, and will prevail right up until the time He returns. Village Church will be a conduit that connects people to the love and power of Jesus. It is only when that connection is made that a person can fill that sense of emptiness they know they have without Him. It is only when that connection is made that a person can become all that she or he was originally designed to be.
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