Who is living on the ‘fringe’ of the Church?

I don’t want to belabor the ‘problem statement’ too much before getting into some thoughts on the solution, but I think it’s wise to go one level deeper before moving on.

Let’s briefly elaborate on ‘core’, ‘fringe’, and ‘world’ then conclude with “so what?”

Core

These are obviously genuine believers in Jesus Christ.  They know their Bibles, or are working hard at knowing their Bibles.  Internally, they struggle to think and act as Christ would, whether that is popular or not.  When they mess up, it really hurts yet move on in God’s forgiveness.  The core is seen by the fringe and the rest of the world as generally loving and ‘good’ but also a threat to principles they hold dear such as ‘tolerance’ and ‘relative truth’.  The core’s firm belief in one God and one Savior makes the world and the fringe very uncomfortable, and this causes constant friction with these groups yet also unites the core in one Faith.

World

These are obvious non-believers in Jesus Christ.  Whether they label themselves athiest, agnostic or a believer in some other faith or cult, all deny one of the beliefs that make Christianity, Christianty.  These include historic essentials such as the diety of Christ, the atonement of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and the return of Christ.  In general, these people are not upset by being called ‘non-Christian’, for they are not trying to be Christian. 

Fringe

For those thinking I’m being kindof black and white, here is the gray area…the vague overlap of the ‘core’ and the ‘world’.  The ‘fringe’ includes those people who would call themselves a Christian but who think and act differently from either the world or the core.  People in the fringe may or may not be ‘regenerated’ (born again). Some are genuine believers and simply immature; others are not believers but really like being in community with other believers.  Regardless, they all look about the same; they have little knowledge of the Bible, little motivation of study it on their own, little motivation to be more like Christ, and little motivation to act as Christ would act in situations where that “Christlike action” comes with personal risk or sacrifice.  Their focus is largly on conforming to the norms of the “church” community; and, because the ‘church’ community is mostly fringe (more on this in a later post), these norms align more with the world’s guidance on how to become happy and comfortable and less with God’s guidance.

So, what does this mean?  It means that you, the reader, fall into one of these groups.  If you are in the world, you probably don’t care much about any of this.  If you are in the fringe, I am praying that God would call you to the core.  If you are in the core, I’m praying you might help me help those in the fringe whom God is calling to the core get there.

More to come…

What does today’s inauguration teach us about the need for discipleship?

I think it has less to do with who is being inaugurated than with the perspective that the ‘fringe’ (see my last post) currently has…a perspective that has led to the decision the we have made together as a country.  The fringe seems to have bought into the world’s idea that any change brings hope.  The very fact that we’re changing is what gives us hope.  In this way, the ‘fringe’ is being conformed to the way the ‘world’ thinks.

I believe the ‘core’ would disagree with this idea; the core would argue that change may or may not be good for the country, the world and for the Church.  It all depends on how well that change aligns with Biblical principles.  If the change is toward Biblical principles, then yes, on the basis that our hope is in Christ we can say that change is good.  But, if the change is away from Biblical principles, then what “hope” do we really have?  Hope in ourselves is false hope.

Why then is discipleship important?  In my view, one-on-one relationships between those in the core and those in the fringe whose purpose is to help build biblical principles into the practical lives of both is the most effective way of conforming the norms of the Church to those of Christ and preventing them from taking on the norms of the world which run contrary to God’s desire of blessing for us. 

In future posts, I’ll continue to drill into how we can work together on this.

Let’s begin…

…with a couple of assertions and see what happens.

There are three kinds of people in this world: “Core”, “Fringe”, and “World”.  The ‘core’ includes obvious, genuine, mature believers in Jesus Christ.  The ’world’ includes those who are obviously not believers but one day still could be.  The ‘fringe’ includes those who either are believers and yet look like the world or are not really believers yet look like believers.  Either way, those in the ‘fringe’ look and behave in a very similar way; and, it’s often really hard to tell the difference between a believer and a non-believer because of the way each have been ‘conformed’ by the culture around them.

For the most part, western evangelical local churches…especially ‘large’ churches…are doing a really good job of growing the ‘fringe’ but are not doing much to grow the ‘core’.  Therefore, the ‘fringe’ is growing at a faster pace than the ‘core’.

How are we so far?

Why would anyone start a blog?

Quite frankly, I don’t know. But then again, I did not know why anyone would want to join facebook until I did!

This blog is not intended to be simply my random ramblings. Rather, I want to stream some thoughts on the state of the Church and gather input in preparation for the launch of a discipleship ministry that God has placed in my heart.

I look forward to engaging discussion with whoever the Lord leads to this thread.

John