Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A (Counter)Culture of Life in the Church

Russell Moore's sermon manuscript, Joseph Is a Single-Issue Evangelical: The Father of Jesus, the Cries of the Helpless, and Change You Can Believe In, is now online. Here's how it closes:

The question for us, then, of whether we are truly pro-life or not, has very little to do with how many signs are in our yards or what bumper stickers we put on our cars. Indeed, it may be the case that after this election the abortion debate will be over in this country politically.

But even if that's the case, it's not over. Our churches are to follow in the walk of faith, which means that--like Joseph walking away from stability and comfort--our churches must be different, they must be counter-cultural, the kind of place where the teenage mother is welcomed and loved, where abandoned children are received, and where a culture that is in love with death can come and hear a message saying that life is better than death because there is a man, an ex-corpse, a former-fetus, who is standing as the ruler over all the nations and the universe. And he is not dead anymore.

What we must have is a church in which the gospel we give is the kind of gospel that leads people out of death and despair and toward the kind of life that is found in confessing a name--a name that was first spoken by human lips by a day-laborer in Nazareth, "Jesus is Lord."

If we follow this kind of pure and undefiled religion, it doesn't mean we will be shrill. It doesn't mean we will be culture-warriors. It doesn't mean we'll be belligerent. It will mean that we will have churches that are so strikingly different, that maybe in ten or fifteen years the most odd and counter-cultural thing a lost person may hear in your church is not, "Amen," but is instead the sounds of babies crying in the nursery.

And hearing the oddness of that sound, when they look around at the place in which all of the Lord Jesus' brothers and sisters are welcomed, protected, and loved, the place in which the lies of a murderous and appetite-driven dragon are denied, the lost person might say, "What is the sound of all these cries?" And maybe we'll be able to say with our forefather Joseph, "that's the sound of life. That's the sound of hope. That's the sound of change."

You might even say, it's "change you can believe in."

You can also listen to the MP3 online.