Scripture reading: Galatians 1:1‑10. Text: "Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10.
While Lent is the season of self‑examination and self‑control yet this "SELF‑. . ." cannot be limited only to isolated individuals, every person being separated from the rest. There should be a concept and an interpretation of "SELF" which refer to the whole family, congregation, community, and even society.
WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF OUR SCRIPTURE READING AND TEXT?
What is so negligible today had been a crucial issue for the first Christians; namely, should a person become a Jew first (be circumcised) and only after that a follower of Christ, or can one be a Christian without observing the Mosaic laws? Apostle Paul proclaimed and emphasized the latter.
In this struggle Apostle Paul had a hard time convincing people that there is a direct connection to God through Jesus Christ. Paul also taught that there is no need to satisfy certain religious conditions: "Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by law; for 'He (she) who through faith is righteous shall live.'" Galatians 3:11. Please read the passage of Galatians 3:1‑14.
THOUGH NOT BIBLICAL, TREND AND COMPROMISE ARE TWO WORDS WITH WHICH WE HAVE TO DEAL.
We can define a trend as a general direction or tendency of the majority; most of the events proceed in that direction. This direction is usually going back and forth between the two opposite points (being either stricter or more lenient).
Theoretically nobody can say which one is better, to be strict or lenient, because neither of them is good alone. In order to maintain a healthy balance, the solution is using both together in right proportions and paying more attention to one or the other depending on the given circumstances.
To compromise means to "negotiate" an agreement or reach a consensus, somewhere in the middle.Hopefully both parties give some and gain some, in such a way that with the least sacrifice the most will be achieved.
While this sounds great in theory, however, in reality it is not so easy because what is important or negligible, what is necessary or not needed, what is an asset or liability depends upon the individual's interpretation and given predicament.
What is the trend in the church today and how can we compromise successfully?
STATISTICS, REPORTS, AND SURVEYS ARE NOT IN FAVOR OF OUR FUTURE.
Every so often you can read articles in the paper or magazines about the recent statistics, surveys, or polls which let us know that the trends are. Fewer people belong to the mainline denominations and "free and independent" congregations are growing.
If the authors of these reports could specify the source of the problems it would be easy to correct whatever is unpopular. But unfortunately almost everyone either mentions vague and general issues or just a few complaints which happen to contradict those listed by the others.
Please help: how can churches become even more "seeker‑friendly", "user‑friendly", and "member‑friendly" which are the trend today? (Or is the trend to be more "sinner‑friendly", "repentant‑friendly", and "born‑again‑friendly"?) Should the church, a secular organization, or the government adjust itself according to wishes of each individual (if this is possible!)? Or, should the individuals try to do their best to conform to the majority? Which one is “right”: the traditional, the silent majority or the trail-blazer minority consisting of loud individuals? Do not we need both, the new trend and the legacy of the fathers, as well as the compromise between the two?
After all of this you may ask, “Where is the divine message?” As Apostle Paul explained in Galatians 1:10: "Am I seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ." According to you, what is the trend today and how can we compromise by giving up the least and gaining the most? That is, how can we best please God? Lord, in this respect graciously protect, teach, guide, and bless us.
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