What the church needs now is love, God’s love! Contrary to many popular views of a romanticized feeling-oriented, dependent concept of love, the Bible presents love as actions, often motivated by self-sacrificing concern for others based upon facts.
Christian love is courageous – courage that willfully, at personal cost, dares to protect, believe, hope, and persevere for the good of others.
Our present national divisions and threats of violence will best be addressed by people of such character who see others through the prism of divine love.
I am reminded of being part of a study group that met in Thailand in 2004. Our group of forty-eight was comprised of Christians from different ethnic and cultural groups known for their hostility toward one another. There was a white and black South African, Hutu and Tutsi, Israeli and Palestinian, etc.
For a week we wrestled with the issue of confronting racial, tribal, and ethnic conflict within the Christian community while seeking reconciliation and transformation. The underlying question was, “Is the gospel powerful enough to reconcile divisive groups?”
As a group we affirmed our belief in the power of the gospel in the following statement. “We believe that reconciliation is God’s initiative. The church is called to be a living sign of the one body of Christ. Reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel, and the church’s life and mission and is integral to evangelism and justice.
Reconciliation is a deep and costly process.
It requires humility, forgiveness, courage, and patience.
Although the affirmation is doctrinally sound, we see too few examples in either past or present history of such love. However, history is still being written by the hand of God through His people. The defining image of the Church of the 21st century is yet to be determined.
One example of such love is CBS student Rashad, a recipient of our Emerging Leaders scholarship program. Rashad grew up without the influence of a godly father. He attended high school in a primarily white high school in a town with a reputation for racism. Rashad lived a life of drug abuse, sexual immorality, and rebellion against society. But by God’s grace he was saved!
Since then, Rashad accepted the pastoral leadership of a church whose congregation was all white.
Rashad, an African American, and his wife, a Caucasian, were able to lead the church into becoming a multiethnic, multigenerational, multi economical community known for their selfless and creative ministry to the needed in their community. Rashad’s selfless love and Holy Spirit empowered ministry eventually opened the door for him to join the pastoral team as a teaching pastor of a large, rapidly growing, suburban, mostly white church.
Rashad represents a growing number of Christian leaders who are being educated and equipped to impact their world for Christ.
Bringing substantive change within the church and culture during these divisive times will require people who are willing to suffer. Rising above the injustices, stereotypes, and distrust will demand love, which endures all things. Enduring denotes abiding under and bearing up courageously, especially under suffering. The word is used in 2 Timothy 2:10,18 of Paul’s suffering for the elects’ sake, and in Hebrews 12:2,3 of Christ, enduring the cross for the joy set before him.
Let us pray that love may motivate us to become Christian leaders who impact the world for Christ. May we endure in the face of unreturned love, and even despite suffering. Love continues to obey even during the hard times.
At the College of Biblical Studies, it is our mission to educate and equip multiethnic students to impact our multiethnic world for Christ. We don’t shy away from the color of skin. We embrace it and celebrate our love of God. In fact, our 2020 fall enrollment is 45% African American, 29% Latino, 17% White and 9% other.
If you have a desire to become equipped to impact the world for Christ, come check us out at the College of Biblical Studies. Founded over forty years ago, CBS is a multiethnic, accredited, and affordable Bible College equipping the next generation of Christian leaders for the church. You can get more information at www.cbshouston.edu, or by calling 713-785-5995.
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