03 April 2010

Are They For Us?

Are They For Us?
by Rev. Scott R. Wright, Ph.D.

Parachurch organizations (those standing outside and alongside of the church) have always been controversial. For example, the disciples were troubled by an unauthorized exorcist because "he does not follow with us" (Lk 9:49). Today such organizations have multiplied in unprecedented numbers. Far from being a sign of ecclesiastical health, their proliferation implies church problems which they are designed to solve (e.g. evangelism, media, education, disaster relief). Sensing an unmet need, sincere Christians often take the initiative in devoting time, energy and resources to facilitate ministry in particular areas. The question for the church has always been, "Are they for us or against us?"

Interestingly, when the disciples sought to impede the work of the "non-denominational" exorcist, Jesus corrected them saying, "Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you" (Lk 9:50). How illuminating! While the Bible identifies the Church as the divinely-appointed agent of gospel ministry, Jesus teaches us in this terse statement how to treat those who seek to glorify Him though they "do not follow with us." We are to exercise godly tolerance toward those sincere Christians who labor for the Kingdom not as a part of our church, not ordained as we are, and not in fraternal relations with us. He who believes in Christ and sincerely tries to serve Him will reach the same end even though he does not follow Him in the same way. We have plenty of enemies already. Why make more? Remember, "Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward" (Mk 9:41).
Scott R. Wright is pastor of Redeemer Church (PCA). For more info. contact scottRwright@gmail.com or http://www.redeemerohio.org/. Copyright reserved.

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