Whom do we love?

Doug Wilson argues that ambiguous questions about proper Christian behavior should be answered by thinking about the motivation behind the behaviors: do they reflect love for God or for the world?  Furthermore, he argues that mature Christians should be sources of wisdom on these matters.  In Wilson’s words:

The apostle John tells us that root of sin is an attitude, that of loving the world. If we are wise, we don’t work from a list of prohibited items to the attitude, but rather we deal with the attitude, knowing that it will necessarily entail a list. He breaks out what this love of the world looks like–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These three things, as it happens, were part of the temptation in the Garden. The forbidden fruit was good for food, delightful to the eyes, and able to make one wise (Gen. 3:6). None of this is of the Father, but is rather of the world. And the problem with the world is that it is transient, while the one who lives out the will of God lives forever.

As these are difficult issues, they should not be sorted out by those who have been Christians for a year. These are not problems to be handed over to the nineteen-year-olds. Those not yet weaned are unskilful in the Word. But those who are mature understand the Word, and through long practice in sorting out these kinds of issues, know how to distinguish good from evil when a judgment call is needed. All Christians know some things, but not all are mature.

While he starts by focusing on Christians, he concludes by thinking about those outside of Christ:

But as we are interacting with the world (which we must do), we have to make a distinction between refugees and apostles. The twin businessees of the church are birth and growth. Evangelism must not exclude discipleship, and discipleship must not be allowed to exclude evangelism. So in this culture, robust evangelism means welcoming refugees from the world. That means, in the current culture, that we should want our churches filling up with tattooed people, those with memorials of who and where they used to be. But this should not be used as cover for receiving apostles of the world. We must not receive them, or give them the time of day.

God takes us all where we are, and not from where we should have been. If He only took those who were where they should have been, we would all of us be lost. Evangelism means that nonbelievers will be brought into the church. And they will track things in. So? Didn’t you track things in? Did God kick you to the curb?

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