Recently in a sermon, I mentioned the importance of the church being a counterculture for those who will be seeking refuge after the idols touted by the world fail them. When this happens many will turn to an alternative idol, but there will be those who will be weary of sorting through the rubble of idol collapse after idol collapse. These refugees will be seeking some truly Good News that offers the Rock of Ages on which they can securely rest their lives without fearing yet another collapse.
The church has that Good News and it’s the Gospel which points to Christ, the Rock of Ages. As we proclaim the Gospel, the fruit of the Gospel should be evident in our lives. This fruit gives both credibility to our words and adorns our words. It’s Gospel Fruit in the life of the church that provides the counterculture that will be the refuge many will seek (are seeking).
It’s important that we, as the church, think well about difficult issues facing our surrounding culture. One important aspect of thinking well is thinking with others. Books can provide good conversation partners. I want to introduce you to a helpful series of books (booklets, really) by Pastor Vaughan Roberts. The series is entitled, “Talking Points.” The purpose of these short booklets is to introduce difficult issues and possible responses by the church. However, their purpose presses further in that they are intended to then be discussed with others. Let me introduce you to the first three books of the series.
Transgender (74 pages)
“…the Bible brings great news to our culture with its identity crisis. And great news for people who are trying to work out who they are. It’s wonderfully freeing to know that we live in a world made by a loving God, where identity is not something we’ve somehow got to create for ourselves. Our identity is a given. We’re human beings, made in the image of God; we are creatures, not machines. (pg. 38)
Assisted Suicide (62 pages)
We may lose our job, and feel worthless. We are not, because our value does not depend on what we do; it depends on who God has made us. We may fail an exam, or not find a marriage partner, or suffer from a debilitating illness—and think we are worthless. We are not, because our value does not depend on our intelligence, or ability, or marital status, or physical ability; it depends on God, who made us and loves us.
This should also make us see others differently. The most helpless infant, the most vulnerable and incapable disabled person, the most dependent old person who has lost their memory and their ability to cope—all of them have lives that are truly valuable because they are made in the image of God. (pgs. 39-40)
The Porn Problem (80 pages)
Sex is not simply recreational; it is profoundly relational. (pg. 23, emphasis original)
Porn, which is by its nature selfish and unrelational, not only demeans sex; it also harms us. (pg. 24, emphasis original)
Porn not only demeans sex; it also cheapens people. (pg. 29)
Remember, the fundamental problem that causes slavery to porn is not our psychology or biology, but our sin. And to counter that, we can’t rely on self-help. We need a savior. Only Jesus Christ can truly set us free. (pgs. 46-47)
These books are certainly not exhaustive and you are sure to find points you wish to nuance with greater precision, but these are important issues that need to be discussed. And discussion is exactly what these books are intended to spark…so, take up and read.