Summary: Dictionary defines conviction as a firmly held belief. There is a difference between believing and being convicted that your belief is true. James 2:19, You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that. Belief by itself is not the
Living with Conviction
Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—
Ro 1:2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
Ro 1:3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,
Ro 1:4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ro 1:5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Ro 1:6 And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
Seeker-sensitive; Self-help; Purpose driven; Emergent; Missional
As you can imagine most of my reading is on spiritual and church related topics. From time to time, I see patterns in the current writings. The first one I recall was the cry of books and articles to have Seeker-sensitive services. Next self-help books were on everyone’s must-read list and magazines were loaded with articles to help us develop a “biblical” perspective on ourselves. Shortly after that Pastor Rick Warren wrote a book, The Purpose Driven Church suddenly writings instructing pastors and churches to be calculated in ministry spring up everywhere.
In the past couple years, articles and books about the Emergent Church and the Missional Church have been abundant. To explain the Emergent Church succinctly and not all that accurately; the Emergent Church as one which has rejected the traditional church culture. Church buildings and church lead ministries are minimal; replaced by rented facilities and individual involvement in community helps organizations rather than church led ministries. Missional Churches see themselves as a part of God’s mission to reach the world. They are churches that have abandoned a Come-and-see mentality for a go-and-do mentality.
Whether a church identifies itself as seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven, emergent or missional is an important issue to those who try and keep up on such things. But in many ways these titles are nothing more than the latest fad, advertised and promoted much Calvin Klein or The Gap promote their latest and greatest product and ideas.
These books, articles and ideas sell because they are right. All churches should be driven by Christ’s purpose. All churches should be seeker-sensitive. All churches should be emergent, in that they should not be inappropriately attached to building or pet projects. All churches should be missional in understanding that we are sent by God to minister to the lost world and not visa-versa.
These church organizational strategies are developed because churches get lazy. Because we choose to take the easy-way rather than the best-way. But something interesting has been showing up in much of the literature I am currently reading: a call for Christians not to reorganize, but to repent. Not just to repent in word, but in deed and in lifestyle. The call to back-off from playing Christian or just doing Christian things to actually forcing ourselves to live the Christian lifestyle.
This is a call for both laymen and ministers to align their lifestyle to be consistent with the teachings of the New Testament. The problem with churches is not poor organization, poor planning, or poor strategies. The problem with churches is a lack of conviction about the faith we believe.
Conviction & Belief
James 2: 19, 17
Encarta World Dictionary defines conviction as a firmly held belief. There is a difference between believing something and being convicted that your belief is true. In James Chapter 2 under the heading Faith & Deeds James writes in verse 19, You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that…. Belief by itself is not the entirety of the Christian calling. James adds in verses 17, In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Our belief in God has to be more than a hope or a wish. We must be fully convinced, fully convicted that our belief is true and our conviction must press us to make necessary changes in our lives and proclamations in our speech.
Daniel, Dan. 1:9
Paul, Rom 1:1
The story is told of Methodist evangelist named Peter Cartwright who was known for his uncompromising preaching. One day the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, Old rough and ready himself, came to Cartwright’s church, the elders warned the Pastor not to offend the President.
Content, that their Pastor would not say anything to discredit their church, the elders retired to the sanctuary. When Cartwright got up to speak, the first words out of his mouth were, "I understand that President Andrew Jackson is here this morning. I have been requested to be very guarded in my remarks. Let me say this: "Andrew Jackson will go to hell if doesn’t repent of his sin!" The entire congregation gasped with shock at Cartwright’s boldness. They wondered how this young preacher could dare to offend the tough old General in public.