quote for today

I stole the inspiration for this quote from scott's post. It's from a John Piper sermon preached more than twenty (!) years ago. I'm wondering if the "emerging church" is taking note of the foment of "their" ideas that actually began in the minds of Wimber and Piper and Packer and others a half-generation ago (and arguably are "original" to Peter, Paul, Matthew, Andrew, Philip, etc.). ___________ The quote: "We are coming out of an era in American church life in which it has been possible for evangelical Christians to give a tithe to the church and then devote themselves financially to building the good life and all the while keep a clear conscience. It was an era in which for conservative evangelicals ethics meant primarily the avoidance of certain sins rather than the pursuit of good deeds. It was an era in which well-fed, well-clothed, well-housed, well-entertained evangelicals were able to maintain a distance and a communications blackout between themselves and the misery and destitution of our cities and many third world countries. But that era is ending. It is ending whether we want it to or not. The main reason it's ending is that the world has shrunk and will continue to shrink through worldwide media systems and sophisticated assistance channels until we can no longer convince ourselves with impunity that the urban masses and starving Ugandans are not our neighbors whom Jesus told us to love as much as we love ourselves. (To seek the good life for others with as much zeal as we seek it for ourselves). "That era of isolation and comfort is ending also because some of its cherished Biblical defenses are crumbling at the foundations. For example, I actually heard argued on the floor of the Baptist General Conference annual meeting two years ago that the resolution to simplify our lifestyles so that we could give more to alleviate world hunger was unbiblical because when 1 John 3:17 says, "If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brothers in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" it means that we should be so concerned only for Christians because that's what "brother" means. Arguments like that are crumbling at the foundations because they are wrong. Galatians 6:10 says: "As we have opportunity let us do good to all men, especially to those of the household of faith." 1 Thessalonians 5:15 says, "See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all." Romans 12:20 says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink." And Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." "The era of comfortable isolation for us American evangelicals is ending, because its justification is crumbling and because the misery and destitution of the world is coming too close now to ignore. And as it approaches, local churches in whom the Spirit of God dwells will feel themselves drawn to some fairly radical reorientations of lifestyle, reorientation calculated to maximize good deeds for all men and especially for those of the household of faith. And I am optimistic that Bethlehem with its manifest compassion for refugees and for missions and with so many people who really are zealous for good deeds--that Bethlehem will move with the Spirit in these years ahead whichever way he blows. God willing we will not be content with minimum church. We will become a great church, a great servant church, filled with maximum good deeds in the name of Jesus. That's the local church we have to be if we want to display the wisdom and power of God to the principalities and powers. That's what we have to be in our new era if we want to hear a credible witness that moves people to glorify our Father in heaven." --John Piper, "The Local Church: Minimum vs. Maximum" (March 29, 1981)


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