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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: Strays

By Ken Horn
July 22, 2012

It is unfortunate that many today are straying from the biblical pattern of the Church.

From time to time, throughout Church history, there have been movements to try to bring the Church back to its New Testament roots. Such a movement is needed again.

Here are four standards from which I believe many have strayed today:

Message: Fewer stand with the apostle Paul, who said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). The message has been watered down, and sometimes changed. Sound doctrine often goes begging when up against some radical new approach. “Let’s not say anything that might scare a pre-Christian.”

Lifestyle: Holiness has fallen out of vogue, not only because it is perceived as an old-fashioned word, but because the lifestyle of holiness itself has been shunned. Many no longer strive after the ideal that Christ set before us. Instead, striving after cultural relevance has caused them to look more like the world than the true Church.

Power: The Pentecostal Movement saw a return of New Testament power to the Church. Today some have intentionally turned away from this godly power in order to make their churches more palatable. They have “a form of godliness but [deny] its power.” The apostle Paul cautioned, “From such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:5). You don’t hang out with strays because, “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV). You do your best to get them back on the straight and narrow, but if they refuse, you don’t let them lead you in their paths or bring you down to their level.

Family: Many churches today have strayed from the larger family of God, segregating themselves, ignoring — or hiding — their family ties. Some, who benefit from their denominations, even pretend to be nondenominational.

Yes, strays do need attention. Jesus spoke of the owner of the sheep leaving the 99 to retrieve the one stray (Luke 15). But these strays are more like the prodigal son, who willfully wasted his share of his father’s fortune on things unpleasing to God. The prodigal needed saving, but he surely didn’t need more of his father’s money. He needed to come to a realization of his willfulness and rebellion.

Such is the case today for those who have strayed from the Church’s message, lifestyle, power or family. We must hold fast to these indispensable attributes of the Christian life.

Ken Horn

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