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Shibboleth: The Most Significant Missiological Issue in North America

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More than anything else, and perhaps now more than ever, a seeking world needs to see the shibboleth of Jesus by the people who claim to represent his name.

In various ways, I’m often asked, “What is the most significant missiological issue hamstringing the church in North America today?”

My response is usually instinctive and immediate. It is the confusion caused by a quasi-Christian evangelical subculture sporting the team colors but seemingly playing for both sides. It is a tepid spiritual murkiness (Rev. 3:16) that clouds our witness emanating from a divided allegiance between the Kingdom of God and sacred cultural preferences.

It’s the spiritual disorientation stemming from a pathetic and powerless Jesus created in our own image and hoisted high to boldly declare tribal affiliations (2 Tim. 3:5).

It is somewhat bewildering to a lost world that the Jesus we claim to follow seems to be leading us to very shadowy places. And the confusion seems to be increasing exponentially.

Theological orthodoxy maintains that light and darkness come from opposite spiritual sources. The dominion of darkness and the Kingdom of God, although not equals, each demand exclusive loyalty, and fidelity produces very distinctive fruit.

Truth comes from God. Lies come from Satan. Fruit is derived from its essence. That’s easy.

But everything within evangelicalism isn’t so cut and dry. Subtle areas of murkiness of the heart require greater skills of discernment, but are no less devastating to our witness.

We now are recognized as a formidable and wealthy subculture with considerable cultural influence. Religious salesmen, politicians, and top-tier entertainers are now tripping over themselves to quote (or misquote) a Bible verse—knowing that this sacred act could endear them to the coveted evangelical machine.

From the outside, it would appear to be a good time to …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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