Reflection: Believers' Opportunities and Obligations
WCIU Journal: Health and Disease Topic
March 29, 2019
by Ralph D. Winter
• “When the Church Staggers, Stalls, and Sits Down (In the Middle of a War),” Mission Frontiers, May-June 2008.
• “Editorial Reflections: Ten Premises, ” IJFM 25:4 Winter 2008.
We have greater opportunities and greater obligations than ever in history. Yet the chasm between our unemployed resources and an effective challenge to big world problems is very great. It is apparent that organized believers are largely missing in the conduct of the Kingdom of God, in bringing His will into the dark and suffering places in our world. [A notable exception is the 2008 announcement that billionaire Ted Turner was partnering with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the United Methodist Church to raise funds to stop deaths from global malaria. In January, 2016, the ELCA announced it had reached its $15 million goal of funds raised to combat malaria through its relief and development arm. “Thank you for naming suffering as contrary to God’s will and working to correct injustice,” an ECLA blog stated in announcing the successful conclusion of the ELCA Malaria Campaign (http://blogs.elca.org/malaria/2667-2/).]
The cure for a church that is in many ways staggering, stalling, and sitting down, the cure for our malaise and evaporating faith, is clear-cut definitive obedience. We must face and define the need to get organized answers to this world’s problems as well as getting individuals reconciled to God. In fact, getting people reconciled to God and to His Kingdom business must go together. Otherwise our absence at the front lines of major global problems means we are misrepresenting God’s will and misusing the wisdom and resources he has given us to act out and speak out his love and glorify his name among all peoples. What kind of a Christ are we to follow? “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8, NASB). If we “declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3, NIV), we will then build the Church on a solid foundation that will not crumble.