The Church of the Barbed Wire Part 3

In my opinion there is nothing more important than evangelism and discipleship in the local church. God’s commission for men is to make disciples, and He has given the church the responsibility to equip them for that end.
Going back to thinking about the Church of the Barbed wire, a place that is defined by the walls it creates around itself, we must understand that like any church, it believes in evangelism. At this church as men exit the fenced church yard they go knowing that their call is to bring others inside.
Imagine with me walking through an open field. As we walk I begin to tell you the wonders of the ranch I live on. I tell you that it is a beautiful place, wild flowers cover the hills and a scenic lake sits at their feet. I tell you of the feast we eat around the campfire and the fellowship we have in bonding. Finishing those words we walk up to the outer fence. A sign sits on the outer fence that describes what you must be before entering the ranch itself. In despair you realize that you are disqualified from coming on the ranch. At that moment you turn back not to come in.

In the Church of the Barbed Wire its members are active in inviting and encouraging the lost to come and meet Jesus. The only problem is that before they can see the love of God at work within His body they are met with sign after sign that tells them what they must be before entrance into the church. What this church has done is added extra scriptural non written stipulations as to what’s necessary for entrance. Before you have the opportunity to see what’s happening on the inside you must fit into the culture.

As I have observed Christ in the New Testament, I have noticed that He seemed to have two voices. One voice was a voice of mercy and grace in which he spoke to the broken, sinful and rejected of the world. The other voice was one of reproof to the religious who sought to build barriers to keep sinful men from God. As we as Christians go out to share our faith to a world that needs hope, do we take them straight to our savior, or do we take them to the fence where they see what they need to become before gaining entrance to the savior?

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Read this blog but haven't read the book Deep Church. Couple of thoughts: Rather than seeing such things as old songs, church vocabulary, or nice dress as walls, can't we view them as expressions of transcendence, community, and significance? I am a part of a liturgical church, and think liturgy is actually very evangelistic in that it presents the Gospel every Sunday. I personally do not dress up on Sunday, but I appreciate that in many (sub)cultures this is an expression of respect. I see Sunday worship as a sort of family gathering, and the rest of the week as outreach and evangelism. As such, the things a church does need to make sense to them, not to those outside the church. As long as these things are meaningful (biblical) and worshipful, then they can be explained to people who desire to join the family. But as with any family gathering, people outside the family should feel welcome but naturally not feel a sense of belonging until they join the family. An example: If you came to my family gathering at Christmas, you might find our traditions strange, being different than your own. But if you were to join the family, perhaps by marriage, over time you would come to appreciate the traditions you once thought were odd. I mean, how strange a tradition is circumsicion, baptism, eating the body and blood of Christ (John 6…people left when Jesus taught that tradition), etc.

    Adam

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  2. Wes Faulk

    Adam,

    Great comment! I agree that every church is rooted in a set culture with certain traditions. As a pastor I wear dress clothes on Sundays and think that some formality is a good thing. The question and things I'm working through are these… At what point do our traditions become as sacred as scripture? At what point do we start worshiping the way we worship? Traditions aren't bad until they become idols. I guess what I'm working through and still haven't figured out is how you “do church” in a set culture while not allowing the culture to become so set as to prevent others from coming in. Does this make sense?

    Wes

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  3. Anonymous

    It does, and I think those are important questions. I think as long as your traditions are (a) grounded in Scripture (this does not mean commanded, mind you) and (b) point you to Christ and His Word (Scripture), and (c) are not required for salvation, then you would seem to be in safe waters. Of course, I think culture watching has become an obsession of many Christians, parsing and studying culture to the extent that I think they have forgotten about the sufficiency of Scripture and the fact that being Christian will just never be cool 😉

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