Thursday, August 9, 2012

A New Generation of Nonconformists

Is the church in America living up to its name? The word “church” comes from the Greek word ecclesia, meaning called out—called out from this world, i.e., culture.  In using the word, Jesus defined His followers as nonconformists: “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

Many people think the Church growth movement and its step-child the Emerging Church are so intent on not wanting to seem peculiar to the world, they are in danger of falling into conformance with it. Recently one pastor explained, “We black out the windows of our auditorium and turn down the lights so un-churched people will feel less culture shock.”

But the Bible is full of non-conformists. From Enoch who walked with God against the tide of his times, to Abraham who left Ur for a nomadic life in the desert, to Moses who refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, to Daniel who rejected royal fare, and to the Disciples who died resisting Jewish tradition. When is the last time you heard a sermon on Paul’s command, “come out from among them, and be separate?” (2 Cor. 6:17).  Is it time for a new generation of nonconformists?


  1. Greg,

    In answer to your question of "is it time for a new generation of non-conformists?": a resounding "YES!"

    Perhaps Matthew's quote from Jesus in chapter five of his Gospel helps to clarify the indictment against the American brand of the Body of Christ: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."

    The fact that the American church is having less and less impact upon our society is a testimony to its blandness--we don't "taste" any different than the world's own concoctions.

    BUT...if we overcome... (and this staggers my own imagination), the Lord Jesus promises that we who dwell in the midst of the tasteless, lukewarm church of Laodicea will be granted " sit with (Him) on (His) throne, as (He) also overcame and sat down with (His) Father on His throne." (Rev.3:21)

    We must overcome our tastelessness and become distinctly His. "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!" (1 John 1:9)


  2. Hi Dr. Greg,
    Yes, the American church, in seeking to be culturally relevant, has become bland. It is not peculiar (to use the King James word in describing a people for God) enough. Would a morally good atheist look any different than the typical pew warmer today? What would a group of priests that had ties to a royal bloodline look like? Again, certainly more peculiar (1 Peter 2:9) than what we behold in the church in America today.
    We have been called sons of the living God, ambassadors of heaven, little Christs, heirs and stewards of the forever promise, yet we strive to blend in and not offend. We should look and act different, not as a gimmick, but because that is who we are. When we recapture the deeper sense of who and whose we are, we are more likely to say and do things that reflect that heavenly identity.

  3. Thanks Stan and Larry
    I read this just today: "Salt not only flavours food, but it also preserves things from decay. You don’t put salt on a living thing. You put salt on a dead thing to stop it rotting."
    And then this: "It is hard to be in the world and not of it. We are every day faced with deceit, unfaithfulness, lying, cheating, all behaviours that are contrary to the Kingdom of God. The more we see of that sort of thing the easier it is to be tainted by the standards of the society in which we live. It’s easy to tell ourselves that it’s OK – everyone’s doing it."