This week I had the privilege of meeting Donald Miller when he came to speak at Gordon College. Mr. Miller is the author of a number of books including Blue Like Jazz, To Own a Dragon, and Through Painted Deserts. He shared with us how the church has always been trying to keep a foot in two kingdoms. Churches have always tried to represent both God and his redemption while also trying to represent the world and the popular culture of the day. Miller’s point was shown through the evolution over the church through the past 100 years. He said that the church has gone from being a family when that was the most important ideal of the early 1900s, to being part of a team when industry became the center of American thought to how where corporate American has become a focal point of thought in life. “Be profitable for the Kingdom of God,” is a very common thought – we have become workers in the industry of the church. Then he makes the point that we, this culture of postmodern Christians, think “we are not a pawn” and that we are different. But what is the prevailing influence of our culture? Entertainment.
What is a postmodern church? In a theater, nightclub, the pastor is an entertainer. Pastors are supposed to be entertaining, stand-up comedians, provocative not theologically sound. Don called us back to the scriptures and to stop submitting to culture. We are to live unto Christ and not be submissive to culture.
Although I agree with nearly everything Mr. Miller said one thing I would like to caution against is leaving culture. As Christians we are called to be in culture, as Jesus lived in his culture and did not withdraw to himself. We need to find the balance between living in and effecting culture while not being negatively affected by it. “We need to take the never changing Gospel to the ever changing culture,” as Tim Keller says. This means molding, moving, changing our way of doing ministry while never compromising the Truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.