14 May 2009

When "contextualization" is made a dodge (NEXT! #12)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: Well, Jesus hung around with prostitutes and sinners!

Response: ...and called them to repentance, so they became exes. Correct.

(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature

93 comments:

DJP said...

I have a couple of more Charismatic-related "Next!"s, to follow the previous. They'll go up eventually, DV.

But I checked the Weekly Pyro Controvers-O-Meter, and the needle was already up in the red.

So you get this, which won't be controversial.

Or at least, that's my prediction.

But then again, I'm almost always wrong in these predictions.

David said...

Ho hum.

DJP said...

When Commenters Attack - tonight on Fox!

Daryl said...

This is a good one Dan, because too often we want to hang out with "prostitutes and sinners" because we think their more fun, not because we have a message they need to hear.

I think that if went spent time with them for the latter reason, getting to know them and presenting Christ to them, we'd get a much better feel for just how diffioult the active obedience of Christ really was.
Sure, some embraced him with gratefulness, but are we naive enough to believe that all the "prostitutes and sinners" in Galilee thought Jesus was the greatess and weren't actually trying to seduce him into their lifestyle as well?

And so we use your latest dodge to justify our seduction I think.

David said...

Ever notice that these prostitutes and sinners actually wanted to hang around with Jesus?

Do they ever want to hang around with us?

DJP said...

So many inappropriate ways to go with that question.

Do you have your Disruptor cap on today, DR?

David said...

I meant nothing inappropriate. I'm just thinking, "Would anyone whose life is a shambles and a shipwreck want to hang around me, because of all the grace and truth spilling over?"

Steve B said...

"Jesus hung around with prostitutes and sinners."

And eventually died on the cross for them.

So, how 'relevant' was He to their 'culture?'

versus, how relevant he wanted THEM to be His kingdom?

We can't be so focused on being hip, or palatable, or "seeker-friendly" that we cease to effective disciples.

Definitely a balancing act.

Mark said...

Nice post DPJ. I love this "Next series! By the way, when is that special going to be on Fox? lol

Chad V. said...

Answer;

"Really, where do you find Christ hanging out with a prostitute? I find prostitutes coming to Him for forgiveness, repenting of their sin. I find sinners coming to him for forgiveness of sins. I find Him making Himself known to them and telling them that He will forgive them if they will believe. But I find nowhere Him "hanging out" with them."

For the record, when we say "hanging out" we mean we spend our leisure time in the company of friends who share likes, activities and experiences and confidences. So, no Jesus didn't "hang out" with prostitutes and sinners, he "hung out" with His disciples.

Now, Jesus also had friends who were sinful people, like Lazarus whom He certainly would have "hung out with". It's important to notice that Lazarus was a believer in God, not a prostitute, not a tax collector, but a righteous man, a forgiven man. In fact those that rejected God and were wanton in their sin, ignored Him, scorned Him, reviled Him, mocked Him tried, to throw him off a cliff, plotted to kill him, and eventually crucified him.

We see also by Christ's blameless life how we make walk in the world with those who revile the gospel, we see how we may live charitably with them, doing them no harm, rather showing love and patience and doing good to them.

Jesus came to save sinners from their sins, not to revel in it with them. If you don't believe that then you don't believe in the Jesus of the bible.

Willy said...

David,

Thanks for clarifying:

"I'm just thinking, "Would anyone whose life is a shambles and a shipwreck want to hang around me, because of all the grace and truth spilling over?"

It wasn't for sentimental reasons that his disciples remained, Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life." But note too that "many withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." Yep, lives that are being conformed to such grace and truth will be used by God to draw those He wills - but will also offend many.

It convicts me, as it should, to look at my own obedience and faith, to be careful "lest after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified." That's a scary, humbling thought.

donsands said...

Well, Jesus hung around with prostitutes and sinners!

Yep. And then He said, "Go and sin some more!" Not!

Steve B said...

ON an Admin note, DJP, you should keep adding the "Next" to your meta tags for these. I could only get the first eleven that way.

DJP said...

Well, Steve B, you've ruined my day.

Honestly and seriously, I have tried really hard to keep these numbers straight. FAIL!!!

Checking out your observation, I learned that I have two #3's. And evidently I just skip from #11 to #14. I think that's because I skipped my Charismatic "Next!"s, as I noted in the first comment.

Sigh. What to do? I could fix this one's title....

Grr. Stupid fallibility!

DJP said...

Wait, no; I don't have two #3s...

I'll try to sort it out.

)c:<

Merlin said...
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DJP said...

OK; apparently this is #12. I fixicated the title.

David said...

Willy:

Funny, that passage came to my mind too.

Here's the kicker. Everybody who walked away from Jesus, or who was rebuked by Jesus, believed in his own righteousness, or thought it had a foundation outside of Jesus Himself.

Prostitutes and rejects in Jesus' day knew this wasn't the case. Today, of course, most of them have this thing called "self-esteem," which is exactly what the Pharisees had.

But we need to be around those who know that their lives are shipwrecked. Because, outside Christ, mine is too.

alhbible said...

"Well, Jesus hung around with prostitutes and sinners!"

Not to put to fine a point on it, but I hear that a lot - as an excuse from church members to continue conforming to the world and indulging their OWN personal sins. I don't have a lot of patience with this one.

A dodge meant to tempt us to wink at sin, this doesn't result in the church becoming more attractive to the lost; instead, it allows some in the church to revel in the world's lostness.

Sadly, I hear it most from kids in the 14-24 age group, and their enablers.

Willy said...

David,

Yup, they did what was RIGHT in their own eyes. But Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy who had no need for Him (in their own minds). Isaiah 57:11-13 come to mind for those who think God will be impressed with their deeds. The spirit of Laodicea is alive and well in American 'Christianity' today and our commission is not to be someone Laodiceans want to hang out with. We reach out to the 'shipwrecked' with a purifying love.

We serve a Lord and Savior who's love delivers us out of sin and that gives me both conviction and comfort.

DJP said...

Exactly, alhbible — except it's not just individuals. It's whole "ministries."

In fact, one might say it's a whole movement or two.

Respectabiggle said...

“The Church used to absolve sinners; today it has the gall to absolve sins.

- Nicolas Gomez Davila

I think that's the problem here. Christ's message to sinners (like hookers and like me)is "You have sinned, but you are forgiven." The new message is "You're great and God Loves you!"

Mark B. Hanson said...

RB -

I'm reminded a bit of the gangster that was converted at a Billy Graham crusade, and later remarked, "No one told me I'd have to give up my line of work." (a broad paraphrase). Was the gospel really preached (or heard) there?

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

What is this, ANOTHER shot at Driscoll?








Just kidding.

DJP said...

Well, when you throw a rock at a pack of dogs, and the one who yelps is in a totally different field....








You just kind of scratch your head.

(c;

Number 15 said...

Similarly, a lot of folks semi-familiar with the Bible like to use John 8: 1-11 as proof text for tolerance of all kinds of sin (but mostly sexual sin, and from my experience, mostly homosexuality). They conveniently leave the end of verse 11 out of the picture where Jesus says, "go, and sin no more."

Drives me bonkers. Forget pyromania, it makes me wanna go nuke-u-lar.

NoLongerBlind said...
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NoLongerBlind said...

Respectabiggle wrote:
The new message is "You're great and God Loves you!"

Yeah, and even worse, "Come, just as you are, to worship."

%^(

Stefan said...
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NoLongerBlind said...

DJP said: "In fact, one might say it's a whole movement or two."

Not sure, but, looking carefully in the white spaces, with my special discernment lenses on, I think I see something emerg***....
=;^P

Stefan said...

Dan:

Re the post numbering...

You D—ists (eschatological word that shall remain un-invoked) always did have a thing about numbers....

David:

Yes. Jesus didn't "hang out" with prostitutes and sinners, and he clearly never encouraged them to remain in their chosen ways of life; but likewise, He didn't spurn them or consider them beyond God's grace.

He calls His lost sheep to Himself, whoever and wherever they may be: prostitutes, tax collectors, widows, orphans, the poor, the rich, the proud, hypocrites, slaves, servants, workers, industrialists, soldiers, politicians, beggars, homeless people.

As we carry out the Great Commission, are we witnessing only in comfortable places, to comfortable people? Are we not to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance?

Do we see in those the Pharisees spurned, the same sinful hearts we have in ourselves; the same broken, post-Fall images of God that we ourselves present; and recognize that among them, there are some who are the Shepherd's lost sheep?

"Contextualize"? No, not in the way that term is used and understood. "Evangelize"? Yes: proclaim the Good News, that the Kingdom is at hand, and that citizenship is open to everyone who repents for his sins and calls upon the Name of Jesus Christ.

Prooftext: pretty much all of Luke and Deuteronomy.

Stefan said...

...And everything I just wrote is a challenge to me, just as much as it is to anyone else.

It's so easy to fall into the "I'm all right, Jack" mode, especially in this urbanized, dog-eat-dog, atomized society we live in.

Stefan said...

Hmm, I thought "I'm all right, Jack" was an idiom along the lines of "Looking out for number one," but maybe not. All I can find is a 1950s Peter Sellers movie by that title....

Strong Tower said...

Go fish.

Strong Tower said...

You D—ists (eschatological word that shall remain un-invoked) always did have a thing about numbers....

Har, harhar, harharhar...FROGBL

Do you have any Jacks?

Strong Tower said...

Well, Jesus hung around with prostitutes and sinners! But he wouldn't tolerate prejeans. Correct?

A.M. Mallett said...

Ever notice that these prostitutes and sinners actually wanted to hang around with Jesus?

Do they ever want to hang around with us?
David, thank you for that word of wisdom. I fear it is lost on most but with your permission I would like to use it in the future.

Rick Frueh said...

To eat (hang around) with sinners while retaining a gracious and humble testimony, and without any compromise, is a path not well travelled. We are either too self righteous about our testimony to be seen with sinners, or we are carnal enough that compromise does not bother us.

David said...

Thanks, A.M. I'm pretty sure I'm borrowing it myself.

And Rick, a related word of confession/caution.

Back in my 20's, I thought "contextualization" was a good thing.

It was an excuse for drunkenness and debauchery. The "sinners" I hung out with saw right through this. And I was too self-righteous to receive rebuke from the Word or the church. I still have to deal with the lingering effects.

That said, if anything we do is not operating from the standpoint of grace and the gospel, the world's going to see through it. But when those who know they have broken lives get some of the living water from the inner man, they'll know where it comes from.

Rita Martinez said...

I had to use that one with my catholic sister last year when she tried to convince me that we had to be relevant to be able to reach the lost (and by relevant she meant, w had to adopt their lifestyles, the way they dress...cause and I quote: "if a girl sees that you wear super cool clothes and knows your a Christian she might think, hey! Jesus is cool!") and so she said that Jesus hung out with sinners and prostitutes...and said something along the lines of this Next dodge...

Chad V. said...

Dan I think you've got your next dodge;

"Do prostitutes and sinners ever want to hang out with us?"

James said...
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Mike Riccardi said...

I think this serves as a good rebuke to me, not necessarily because I want to indulge my wordliness, but because I want to be lazy and well-liked by others.

What I mean is, I can "hang out" with unbelievers and talk about school, work, the NBA playoffs, baseball, and so on, and always leave the spiritual conversation to the next time. I can trick myself into thinking I'm doing "pre-evangelism" (a nonsense word) or being a "friend of sinners," but really I'm just lazy about proclaiming the Gospel and really loving my friends by presenting to them the God of the Bible.

So I, in my flesh, use this dodge not so much so to revel in worldliness, but so I can serve my fear of man in my not proclaiming the Gospel. This is a good gut-check.

SolaMom said...

Chad V. <------ What he said ;)

Stefan said...
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James said...
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Stefan said...
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Stefan said...

Chad:

Sure, perhaps that would be a good "dodge," if it had been put up here by someone who was disagreeing with Dan.

Have you read all the comments by the person who asked that question, or the comments in reply to him? Do you really think they're presenting a "dodge"?

How are the responses here any different from the substance of your 7:03 a.m. comment?

The way to avoid "contextualization" is not to do what the Pharisees did and put up a wall of ritual cleanness between themselves and the world.

We are commanded to obey God's standard of holiness, while at the same time fulfilling the Great Commission, being in the world not a part of it, ambassadors of Christ and citizens of another Kingdom.

Stefan said...

Dan:

Not all those "comment deleted" were mine, by the way...

Christopher Johnson said...

Dan,

You're be surprised(actually, you probably wouldn't be surprised at all) how often Episcopal Organization liberals, ordained or not, regularly trot this one out.

Jennifer Peacock said...

Thank you!

bassicallymike said...

"Holiness is not separation from sinners, but from sin."

p.48
How to Win Souls And Influence People by Ray Comfort

just seemed appropriate

Stefan said...

basicallymike:

Exactly. Thank you.

Michelle said...

Well, Jesus hung around with prostitutes and sinners!

With a whiny justification like that I'd say their interest probably isn't in calling those sinners to repentance. It's in preserving the status quo when it comes to their own sin that they'd prefer not to repent of.

will said...

As someone who has been in various forms of ministry for years (including prison ministry, ministry to the homeless, and the most depraved of them all.... ministry to the youth group) I think that this post is both right and misleading at the same time.

It is right in that we can't hang out with sinners without the purpose and intention to challenge them in their world view and call them to repentance and toward true faith in Christ as Lord. My problem with the post is that it seems to minimize the truth that Jesus spent much time with the people that made the church ladies of the day nervous. We need to do the former while not neglecting the latter.

We need to be able to have a beer with the guys from the office after work while never sacrificing our Christian witness and while constantly searching for teachable moments. We need to spend our lunches with people that need Christ. We can't look over at so called Christians who are living worldly lives and then move the opposite way and spend our time at the local Christian Club Bible Church.

Yunkwong said...

I just love these, Keep up the Good work Dan!

You should do one on John 8:7.
Its funny how people like pulling that one out when they get uncomfortable in a conversation about sin.

David said...

The only contextualization that really needs to take place is that of Romans 1 & 2. They may be shut up under the sin of debauchery, but I am shut up under the sin of self-righteousness. There is no distinction. My only possible context of righteousness is Christ Jesus. In Him, I can enter any situation. Outside Him, I'd better not enter any situation.

Willy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Actually, Will said what you just said I said.

Chad V. said...

David My bad, I mis-understood you, sorry.


Stefan, Relax... You could have just as easily said; "I think you've misunderstood David." That would have sufficed. If I had persisted, then maybe chewing me out would have been appropriate.

Chad V. said...

Stefan You said to me; "The way to avoid "contextualization" is not to do what the Pharisees did and put up a wall of ritual cleanness between themselves and the world."

Umm.. In chewing me out for not reading all of David's different comments did you read all of mine?

I said; "We see also by Christ's blameless life how we make walk in the world with those who revile the gospel, we see how we may live charitably with them, doing them no harm, rather showing love and patience and doing good to them. "

David said...

Isn't it funny how posts on a blog can make you walk around all day resenting someone you've never met?

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
(Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)

Chad V. said...

Who resents who?

DJP said...

I still resent Clinton.

Wait - what are we talking about?

Chad V. said...

LOL!

I think we are talking about the ability of ants to sort tiny screws.

Willy said...

David, I deleted and re-posted my comment with the correction. Sorry about that!

Will,

Are you saying we win people by making them think we're just like them, only with a twist?

Just what does a 'teachable moment' look like at Benigans, the local bar, Hooters? Do we share in the coarse jesting and lewd jokes? How do we avoid getting drawn into that if they know we are Christians and it appears to them that we are already compromising, that our affections are the same as theirs?

I agree with David that we need to be around those who know their lives are shipwrecked, not avoid them. And I agree then if that is what you are saying as well. But I think the above questions are fair, how do you know you are not putting a stumbling block in front of another?

Will said:

"My problem with the post is that it seems to minimize the truth that Jesus spent much time with the people that made the church ladies of the day nervous."

Was Jesus just'hanging out' with them? Or was He always purposeful and teaching? I agree that He went to them rather than avoiding them, and was full of compassion and gentleness toward them. But I don't see Him spending time to get to know them and develop relationships before teaching, confronting, and calling to repentance. The relationships developed in the context of His ministry - delivering them from their prisons of sin and misery - not apart from it.

Dan,

This is great, a very concise statement of welcoming prostitutes and sinners to true freedom.

My apologies to all of you that my own bloated verbiage lacks such precision - I'm listening and learning!

Stefan said...

Chad:

Fair enough.

Your one-liner just seemed injudicious, but yes, my response could have been briefer and more gracious.

I took it personally, because I'd written in agreement with David, and it looked like we might have to don our asbestos suits.

But yes, I did read what all of what you wrote, and agree with it, as well.

Chad V. said...

StefanMy one liner was injudicious.

Friends?

Heath The Blogless said...

Chad V
I see what you are getting at and I agree we need to choose wisely who we "Hang out with". But don't forget the disciples were all sinners and Judas what was he up to?

Penn Tomassetti said...

Hey go out there and serve the Lord of the harvest by seeking those whom He came to save!

Just don't ruin the gospel *of GOD* by making it fit the sinful and carnal pleasures of a God-hating world (via "contextualization").

Sinners and prostitutes still find grace in the eyes of the risen Lord!

"When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

I can't wait till the next NEXT Mr. Phillips.

Penn Tomassetti said...

That was Acts 11:18*

Chad V. said...

Heath Who we hang out with wasn't really my point at all. I wasn't saying that Christians shouldn't have unsaved friends.

My point was that the dodge is nothing more than attempt to excuse carnality disguised as evangelism by perverting the narrative of Christ's earthly ministry.

The Squirrel said...

Well, I'm happy to hang with all y'all.

:o)

~Squirrel

Chad V. said...

Squirrel Wanna come over for acorns?

Heath The Blogless said...

Chad V
Sorry, didn't make myself very clear.
I do agree with you.

Chad V. said...

Heath No sweat. Sometimes things get lost in the communication on blog meta.

Stefan said...

Chad:

"Friends?"

Friends.

Steve B said...

Consider the story of Zacchaeus. Though rich, he was reviled, and the people muttered that Jesus would eat with such a sinner.

And yet, Zacchaeus had a radical change of heart and paid back four times what he owed to those he had cheated.

Hanging out with sinners is only HALF the equation. Seeing a radical change in their life is the goal of hanging out...not just being more "seeker friendly" or "relevant."

will said...

Willy:

>>Was Jesus just'hanging out' with them?

Mat 9:10 "Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples." I don't know....I would call that hanging out.

>> Just what does a 'teachable moment' look like at Benigans, the local bar, Hooters? Do we share in the coarse jesting and lewd jokes?

I like Benigans I have refused to go to Hooters. Course jesting is something that every Christian in the workplace has to deal with. I usually try to change the subject. It has been my experience that as they get to know me, they stop telling those jokes so much.

Teachable moments happen all the time. For example, one coworker that I am friends with recently brought up the fact that her sister was diagnosed with cancer and that it is serious. She stated that "I am sure that if there is a heaven she will go - she is such a nice person." This was a huge open door. She knew that I was concerned about her and cared about her sister. So when I challenged her on the theology (I told her that scripture says that no one is good in God's eyes and that repentance and faith are the means by which God saves us), she listened. I have had many similar experiences. It is my experience that if you are bold (yet not crazy and weird) with your unsaved friends they respect you and listen to you.


>> How do we avoid getting drawn into that if they know we are Christians and it appears to them that we are already compromising, that our affections are the same as theirs?

You don't compromise convictions. Don't tell dirty jokes and don't ogle girls. Drinking beer and telling clean jokes is not something that I have a problem with (its the same thing I do with my Christian friends).

>>how do you know you are not putting a stumbling block in front of another?

I don't know what sort of a stumbling block I might be putting out there. If I was going to strip bars and sharing in blue humor that would be one thing but I am not.

Willy said...

Will,

Dan’s original post back at ya:

" ...and called them to repentance, so they became exes. Correct.”

Willy said...

Will,
“…as you are going, make disciples…”

The question is not whether Jesus ate with tax-gatherers and sinners, it is whether he just hung out with them. What was His priority?

Mt 9:10 “then is happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table…”

How did that come about? What immediately preceded this?

Mt 9:9 “And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he rose, and followed Him.”

Jesus commanded and Matthew responded – THEN they ended up dining at the table with many who were like Matthew also there (likely associates of Matthew?) You can bet there was some serious teaching going on there.

See, I wouldn’t call that ‘hanging out’ in the sense that my kids mean by it. They mean spending their time just having fun and participating in the lifestyle of the people they are with. Jesus was purposeful, He came to do His Father’s will, He came to call sinners to repentance.

In your original post you said:

“I think that this post is both right and misleading at the same time.”

And

“My problem with the post is that it seems to minimize the truth that Jesus spent much time with the people that made the church ladies of the day nervous.”

If you merely want to point out that following Christ happens in real life, with real people, and it is in such a context that we “beg on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” – good. But you have a problem with the statement that Jesus’ purpose was to change them, not affirm them as they were.

Perhaps you can explain what you find misleading about “…and called them to repentance, so they became exes”

will said...

So Jesus didn't spend time with people until they were converted? Is that really your point?

My concern is this: I have spent too much time in Christian clubs. I know too many Christians who spend all of their free time in a Christian bubble and who have no clue how to relate (let alone offer a rebuke that may actually be considered). I think that there are plenty of people that will justify this clearly anti-Biblical approach to life by claiming that they are just trying to live holy.

The fact is that Jesus was not concerned about appearance when he spoke with the woman at the well. He got a bad rep because he hung out with Tax collectors and sinners (and he was fine with that).

My concern with this post was that it might be interpreted by the Christian club folks as one more justification to stay insulated.

DJP said...

If you had read the title, Will, do you think that would have made a difference?

A WHOLE MAJOR POINT of this entire series is that each post is brief. Brief = can't say everything that can be said on the topic.

will said...

Dan, so would the comments section be the right place for readers to add some clarifications they feel are important?

:)

DJP said...

True dat; but it would be thoughtful if they didn't "clarify" things beyond the designedly narrow aim of the post.

Gary said...

What exactly is being dodged by the challenge? Holiness?

Can we get a NEXT on when "holiness" is made a dodge for evangelism?

Willy said...

Will said:

"So Jesus didn't spend time with people until they were converted? Is that really your point?"

No Will, that really wasn't my point, at all.

Kirby L. Wallace said...
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Kirby L. Wallace said...

Brief detour, 'cause I missed this one:

Challenge: Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.

Response: Sure He did: thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination ...

We have to remember who Jesus IS!



As for this challenge, Dan's response IS my response!

Steve B said...

Kirby Wallace -

I don't know if you'll see this, but your comment hit me between the eyes!

Despite a lifetime of Christianity, it wasn't until know that I made that connection. If Jesus is God, and Jesus was present at the very creation of the world, and if he is really the fulfillment of the Law, and "if you have seen me, you have seen the father," then the words of Jesus are the words of God, and EVERYTHING in the bible, to include the old testament, which we ascribe to divine inspiration, is essentially "what Jesus said."

Wow and double wow!

Alexander G said...

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. 20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 23 And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Should We Imitate Paul's Strategy?

The first question to ask is whether this remarkable testimony of Paul is something we should imitate, or is this just something that apostles did—or that missionaries do who must adapt to other cultures?

The answer comes from one of the clearest commentaries on these words that Paul himself wrote in the next chapter. Look at 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1. Here the issue is exactly the same as in 9:19ff., namely, how to relate to Jews and Greeks so as to win them for Christ. He says,

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32) Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; [in other words, adapt as much as you can in non-sinful ways] 33) just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved. [That's the same as 9:22, "I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some." Then comes the answer to our question, in 11:1.] Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

So that answer is: No, this is not a specifically apostolic or missionary way of life. It is something that he meant for all the Corinthian believers to imitate. He was imitating Christ, and he wants us to imitate him. So hear this message this morning a Word from God for you particularly and not just for someone else. Ask how you, in your sphere of life, can use your freedom the way Paul and Jesus did, if by any means you might save some.

John Piper
From his sermon titled "Becoming All Things to All Men to Save Some"
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/sermons/bydate/1996/945_Becoming_All_Things_to_All_Men_to_Save_Some/

Susan R said...

Luke 7:34 "The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!"

I think it is interesting to note that the whole "friend of sinners" quote is actually a repeat of an accusation made against Christ, and not Christ presenting Himself as such. He certainly was not a gluttonous drunk. This IMO greatly affects one of the foundations of the idea that we as Christians should 'hang out with sinners'.

DJP said...

The bottom line: we should be fishermen. Fishermen learn what trout are biting on, they go where the trout are, try not unnecessarily to spook them — but they don't jump in and try to breathe water and eat worms.

The goal is to catch fish. Not become one.