Podcast Transcript: Click HERE to listen to the full episode.
It has now become painfully obvious that the coronavirus pandemic is upending every aspect of our current society. Business, politics, recreation, and yes even religion itself will never be the same. Many are predicting the shuddering of thousands of small churches across America who were ill-equipped for a prolonged financial layover. Many in the church leaders are now being forced to grapple with a new – perhaps more biblical definition of church – no longer as defined by its building or services, but by its people.
I know this crisis has forced me to rethink my role as a local pastor and what I should be focusing my time on. Maybe my office shouldn’t be in building either. Jesus wasn’t restricted to a building – why should I? Why should any of us be for that matter?
Now don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for teaching in a building – and Jesus was not against teaching or attending services at the temple or the synagogue – in fact he modeled it by his actions many times – but the majority of his time was spent outside the walls of a building – outside the institution.
In fact, the Bible says in Acts 10:38 – that Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NKJV)
I have been thinking a lot about that these past couple of weeks.
You see the church has traditionally associated doing good with believing what is right – and so we gather together each week to affirm each other that we believe what is right – therefore that believing makes us good people.
But does it?
Does believing what is write automatically make us good people?
I think you know the answer, but just in case you don’t lets ask Jesus brother, the Apostle James that same question.
Notice what he says in James 2:
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:14–20 NKJV)
Let that sink in for a minute longer – faith…without works – in other words doing good to others – is dead – meaning it is of no salvific significance.
Knowing what is true does not give us any brownie points with God – the devils all know the truth but they have chosen to rebel against it.
It was their actions that cost them their place in heaven and turned them from angels to demons.
Because of the current crisis – now more than ever we need to grapple with this reality. When the smoke clears at the end of the day what will the church look like – and what should it look like?
To discuss these questions and more I had the privilege to interview pastor Don Mackintosh – who is currently serving as a teacher and campus chaplain at Weimar College. The interview was recorded before the current crisis but the substance is still very relevant as we as Christians figure out how we are going to relate to our communities in midst of Crisis. Could health ministry have a role to play in that as well?
I started interview by asking him to introduce Weimar Institute to those who don’t know much about it?