Unfortunately swearing, violence, the over-sexualisation of society and the taking of God’s name in vain are not anything new, nor are they going to disappear anytime soon. Whilst, as Christians, we need to be careful with what we do, in fact 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, ‘so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (NIV) and Philippians 4:8 says, ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.’ (NIV), we also need to ensure that we are not removing ourselves so far from society that we cannot connect with common man.
Jesus himself would associate with prostitutes, thieves, tax-collectors, the unclean – essentially the scum of society. He would meet people where they are at instead of waiting for them to meet Him where He was at. He showed us, in his perfection, how to best minster to people.
With this in mind we need to be careful with what it is we expose ourselves to. Not just exposure in a physical sense but also a spiritual sense. These texts quoted above are true, but at the same time we know that as bad as things are now, they have been worse in the past – the story of Noah is testament to this.
One risk Adventists have traditionally made is that we say that “Our way is the only way!” and that “Our method is the only method!” When people go against the perceived ‘norm’ of Adventism we counter this by saying that what they are doing is clearly not the ‘will of God.’ But what is the will of God? Is the will of God the same for every individual on the planet…all 7Billion of us? I think not! In fact the teaching of Paul shows us that this is not the case – 1 Corinthians 9:20 ‘To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.’ (NIV)
Far too often we speak an obscure language (Adventist or Christian jargon if you will) that people of this world do not understand. We need to ensure we speak a language that people actually understand, just as Jesus did.
We can’t expect people to know how to run when we, as Christians, have neglected to first teach them how to walk.