How should we as Christians see ourselves in the context of a post-Christian culture?
In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul and Timothy wrote:
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God!’”
At a Hendricks Center event entitled Mission to the City, Dr. Darrell Bock and J.R. Vassar discussed the biblical imagery of an ambassador.
Vassar often focuses on the imagery of the church as a contrastive community along with the idea of living as exiles, yet cautions believers about the tendency to withdraw rather than engage the culture.
In this video clip, he explains the importance of seeing yourself as an ambassador of Christ when it comes to effectively communicating with the culture.
The danger of the picture of exile is one of withdrawal but the ambassador is saying, “ I know to whom I belong.”… and so being able to interact with the culture, engage with the culture, understand its hopes, its aspirations, understanding its language, and then being able to communicate the gospel in a way that connects right with where they live I think is an extremely important thing.
Indeed, even an alien in a foreign land, an effective ambassador does not remain isolated from the culture in which he or she works. As Dr. Bock notes:
The ambassador doesn’t just live in the embassy, he doesn’t stay parked in the embassy. He doesn’t ask the people of the country to come to the embassy, okay, but he’s out and about in the country.
His job to a certain degree is to represent his home country to the country in which he serves. And so he gets to know the country, he gets to know the people, he goes out to where they are.
Vassar also explains the importance of “being well-versed in the poets of the day,” such as the people and ideas we find in popular media, including music and blogs, but “being able to listen to those cultural voices so that as an ambassador you’re able to speak intelligently to it.”
So whether you’re reading a popular novels, flipping through a magazine or watching a movie, consider the aspirations, heartaches, fears, questions or longings revealed in the human heart. Ultimately, only the gospel can address our deepest needs as people created in the image of God.
As Vassar says, “I find in those ‘cultural poets’ a real revelation of the human heart and I think we need to capitalize on those things.”
- Watch the complete discussion with J.R. Vassar in Spiritual Renewal in a Post-Christian Context
- Download the Mission to the City event in Dallas
- Join us at the Mission to the City in Houston