Theme: The World’s Theology and Agenda
In this week’s lessons, we see how the church can fall into becoming like the world, and so lose sight of thinking and acting the way God has laid out in Scripture.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Yesterday we considered the first aspect of a secular church. Today we look at the second and third items.
2. The world’s theology. We can deal with this second point more briefly because the world’s theology is perfectly obvious. It says that there’s nothing much wrong with men and women and that we don’t need a savior, perhaps only a little bit of help. The church has begun to buy into this theology as well.
This does not mean that the church of Jesus Christ, going by that name, necessarily abandons the terminology. It’ll still speak of sin and salvation and faith and evangelism and Jesus and all these things, but it doesn’t mean by these terms the things that the church has traditionally meant. When the church used to speak of sin, it meant transgression of the law of God. It meant rebellion against God. It meant what was basically wrong with the human race. In the new theology, the word sin is used, but sin basically means something that’s wrong with the social structures and can easily be changed.
When the modern theology speaks of salvation, it doesn’t mean salvation from sin by the work of Christ. It simply means deliverance from the oppression inherent in the structures. When it speaks of faith, it means commitment to social change. When it speaks of evangelism, it means proclaiming the gospel of revolution. When it speaks of Jesus, it doesn’t speak of the one who is God come to this earth to redeem us from our sins. It speaks only of one who is an example which all of us should follow.
3. The world’s agenda. Now the secular church says that whatever the world does, we ought to do. In other words, whatever the world has as a high priority, this should be our priority too. Is the world interested in hunger? That should be a priority of the church. Is the world interested in revolution or liberation? That should be a priority of the church. Whatever the social concern is, this should be our priority, so the secular church maintains.
Now this doesn’t mean that concerns of the world should never also be, in certain and correct ways, the concerns of the church. Perhaps we who are evangelicals have been guilty of not being concerned enough with that which concerns our secular contemporaries.
But what I mean is that the priorities of the world should not be the church’s priorities. Our priorities must be determined, not by what we hear on the news at 6:00 on a weekday evening, but rather, the priorities that are set forth for us in the pages of the Word of God. The church’s agenda is to be the proclamation of the gospel, the building of the church, the establishing of righteousness—first of all in the Christian community and then, God giving us grace, in the world at large as we’re enabled to put these principles into practice.
Study Questions:

How does the world’s theology differ from the theology of the Bible?
What are some concerns of the world that should be the church’s concerns as well?

Reflection: List some goals of the secular culture today that are opposed to the church’s agenda.
Application: For those areas of secular concern that the church should also care about, how can you and your church try to make a difference for the benefit of others?

Study Questions
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