The Unpopular Message and Responsibility of the Church

This week I finally read What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert; I’ll be posting a full review soon, but I couldn’t resist sharing an insightful quote they included from J.Gresham Machen:

The responsibility of the church in the new age is the same as its responsibility in every age. It is to testify that this world is lost in sin; that the span of human life—no, all the length of human history—is an infinitesimal island in the awful depths of eternity; that there is a mysterious, holy, living God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, infinitely beyond all; that he has revealed himself to us in his Word and offered us communion with himself through Jesus Christ the Lord; that there is no other salvation for individuals or for nations, save this, but that this salvation is full and free, and that whoever possesses it has for himself and for all others to whom he may be the instrument of bringing it a treasure compared with which all the kindgoms of the earth—no, all the wonders of the starry heavens—are as the dust of the street.

An unpopular message it is—an impractical message, we are told. But it is the message of the Christian church. Neglect it, and you will have destruction; heed it, and you will have life.

J. Gresham Machen, “The Responsibility of the Church in the New Age,” from J. Gresham Machen: Selected Shorter Writings, p. 376 (as quoted in What Is the Mission of the Church, pp. 248-249)

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

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One Reply to “The Unpopular Message and Responsibility of the Church”

  1. The church needs to get back to doing this. Some of them do it excellently… however, there’s plenty out there that focus on entertaining their guests. I feel like some churches are like going to concert or conference. 

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