Stay-At-Home Daughterhood: Optional or Biblical?

Celebrate the New Year by reviewing our top 5 posts from 2011! Coming in at number 3 for the year was an article that wrestled with the concept of stay-at-home daughterhood:

Until recently, I was convinced of my complete awareness about every concept surrounding biblical womanhood. In a desire to continue my studies and further prepare for my exciting role as a new mommy, I ordered the book “Joyfully At Home” by Jasmine Baucham. Familiar with Pastor Voddie Baucham, I assumed the book to be his wife’s. Having benefitted from his teaching, I expected to benefit from hers also. Turns out, it’s his 20 year-old daughter’s book on stay-at-home daughterhood. I discovered this a few pages in and was too curious and committed (especially after paying the shipping cost) to stop reading.

Stay-at-home daughterhood is a new idea for most. It rejects the expectation of girls leaving for college after high school. It embraces staying at home until marriage for a season of parental training and discipleship in preparation for future roles plus full-time contribution to the needs of the immediate family. College isn’t completely ruled out; Jasmine encourages earning an online degree, but more important is avoiding secular academia and staying home to learn and contribute.

There is much about this work I commend. The reevaluation of cultural norms and life pursuits is a wise step, especially for young women. The much needed focus on fashioning the home according to God’s word is boldly presented in a genuine tone. I believe the author is a good example for her peers.

My goal here is not to review and critique the book itself, but to engage with the premise on which it is based: the immediate family is superior to all other efforts and callings.  In this book, it is given an attention and emphasis not found in Scripture. Stay-at-home daughterhood flows from this viewpoint: “Young men and women seeking advice on how they can serve the Lord often pepper me with questions…they never expect the answer that I inevitably give…’If you are serious about serving the Lord, get married, pray that he gives you a house full of children and bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (pg. 115).’”

Jesus did not agree. While the texts on familial roles and the importance of marriage and raising children are just as inerrant and inspired as any, they do not exclude nor eclipse the rest of the Bible. Jesus was very clear throughout the Gospels about the connection of family relationships to His mission:

  • “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
  • “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37
  • “But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!” Matthew 12:47-49
  • “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:28-30
  • “To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:59-62

Obviously these texts have a context, but Jesus meant what He said. He was frequently confronted with familial idolatry as He recruited disciples and taught on hillsides. Never once did He encourage someone to devote the best and most of their time and attentions to the family unit. He explained to the Sadducees that the family unit is not eternal (Matthew 22:29-31). Yet, His teaching is not incongruent with texts emphasizing the spiritual importance of and roles within the family. Teaching about family is part of Scripture, not its grand subject. Jasmine reminds readers that “the Great Commission isn’t the only passage in the Bible (pg. 186).” However, Matthew 28:18-20 contains Jesus’ final words to those disciples who would carry out His kingdom work. If her view of family was shared by Jesus, as He ascended to heaven and charged the faithful one last time, He would have said, “Go ye therefore and get married, having lots of children and focusing primarily on your own household,” but He didn’t.

Jasmine appeals to Paul’s Epistles in building her theology for stay-at-home daughterhood (with other texts such as Exodus 22, Numbers 30, Deuteronomy 6 & 22 and Proverbs 31). She states: “…I understand that the college campus is neither the only nor the best place for ministry to take place. If it were, the Apostle Paul would have spent less time encouraging Christians to devote themselves to building solid family units…and more time encouraging them to go out and be educated among the Romans.” One problem with this observation is Paul himself never married. Arguably the greatest missionary and servant of Christ we know of did not see procuring a family unit as the best way to serve His Savior. Another problem is that Paul didn’t really spend that much time writing about families. He spent more time engaging skeptics and intellectuals with the gospel message (Acts 17 &18). On one such occasion, however, he wrote this:

  • “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-34

The author makes it clear she is not mandating this practice for every young woman: “…living at home after graduation should be a decision that we can trace back to guiding principles in God’s Word (pg. 140).” I found myself having to perform some pretty clever Scriptural gymnastics to link her cited texts to her reasons for staying home. She confidently rests all her book’s content on this assertion: “I can see no pattern in Scripture for a young woman to pack up and head cross-country to be discipled outside of the framework of the church and home (pg. 142).” This statement accomplishes nothing for her case. Because of travel constraints, underdeveloped nations, lack of education and widespread illiteracy in first century Palestine, we would no more expect a pattern for a girl going off to college in Scripture anymore than we would a pattern of space exploration. Aside from this claim, her case is founded on experience and opinion, cushioned by some cherry-picked Bible verses. By applying her hermeneutic, one could easily argue that all Christians are called to overseas missions. I do not think a biblical case is made for or against either stay-at-home daughterhood or girls going off to college.

I do admire her convictions. To see such a young girl making a culturally radical choice for God’s glory is refreshing. I am not necessarily disagreeing with stay-at-home daughterhood; I’m disagreeing with the elevation of family above all else. This serves as an example of what happens when we “go beyond what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6), extrapolating from the Scriptures, filling in the gaps with personal experience and elevating our conclusion as biblical.

A family can pursue a Christ-centered home with a vision of “multi-generational faithfulness” and not flirt with family idolatry. I agree with her: the neglect of the family unit in and outside the Christian world is shameful, but to lift it above all other biblical teaching is irresponsible. A young woman leaving home for anything other than a husband is not antagonistic to the Bible. There’s no reason the kind of preparation Jasmine speaks of cannot take place prior to college. I am a very blessed stay-at-home wife with a baby on the way. No other task has given me greater joy. However, a day is coming when my wife and mommy duties will cease and I will function as part of a larger, heavenly family. That is the family I must ultimately work in view of.

-Emily

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Kurt Warner v. Tim Tebow: Is Action All We Need?

The countdown rolls on for the top Entiregospel blog posts of 2011! Coming in at number 4 is Kurt Warner v. Tim Tebow:

Everyone has an opinion on Tim Tebow. Easily one of the most beloved and most controversial NFL players in a long time, Tebow’s outspoken faith has made him a target for analysts, commentators, and sports writers alike. Recently, Tebow received criticism from two other quarterbacks, Jake Plummer and Kurt Warner.

In an interview with 910 AM in Phoenix Plummer said he admired Tebow’s wins in Denver, but he went on to say:

“I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates. I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”

Tebow responded to Plummer on ESPN’s First Take:

“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m gonna take that opportunity.”

What makes a large chunk of America uncomfortable with Tebow is that, for them, religion simply isn’t significant enough to merit his level of devotion. They would be comfortable with a Christian Tebow who was concerned mostly about his performance, his money, his stuff, his women, and his press. When Tebow cares more about the gospel than the goal line it convicts a culture that has lived for personal success and forsaken meaningful devotion to God (or devotion to anything larger than themselves).

Enter Kurt Warner. Widely known and celebrated as a Christian athlete, the former quarterback voiced his opinion on Tebow to the Arizona Republic. He said:

“You can’t help but cheer for a guy like that. But I’d tell him, ‘Put down the boldness in regards to the words, and keep living the way your living. Let your teammates do the talking for you. Let them cheer on your testimony.”

Unlike Plummer, who took his Tebow opportunity to fire a shot at the Denver quarterback, Warner seems to genuinely care about Tebow’s witness. He added:

“The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live. When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”

Is Kurt Warner right? Should Tebow “put down the boldness” because “the greatest impact you can have… is never what you say”? Warner expresses what has become a popular position among many Christians – evangelism is done primarily through actions and words are at best a necessary evil and at worst a turn-off to anyone seeking Christ. There have been books written on “relational” or “servant” evangelism in which the Christian is to live or act in such a way that people are won to Christ without a word.

Aside from a few crazies, you would be hard pressed to find any Christian who argued our actions and how we live doesn’t matter. Let’s be clear: in Tim Tebow’s case the issue is not between words and actions. He isn’t preaching Jesus and getting arrested on the weekends. His actions match his words. The issue is how and when the words come, if at all. So let’s test with the Bible our own assumptions about evangelism and Kurt Warner’s advice – “You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”

Jesus’ ministry begins not with healings or feedings but with preaching (Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:14, Luke 1:15). Not with actions, but with words.

When the Spirit launched the church on the day of Pentecost they didn’t start a soup kitchen but went into the streets preaching the good news (Acts 2:4).

When Paul arrived in a new city he established his ministry by speaking in the local synagogues and meeting places (Acts 13:14-16, 14:1, 16:13, 17:2, 10, 17).

The ministries of Jesus, Paul, and the church all began with words. This is not to say actions don’t matter. Actions came later and gave power and legitimacy to the words. But the biblical pattern is not actions occasionally supported by words, but words reinforced by action. Kurt Warner’s opinion that our greatest impact is not in what we say is not supported by Scripture. After all, Jesus is the Word of God sent into the world (John 1:1). As God’s greatest impact came through His Word, so much of our greatest impact can come through our words; backed up by our lives. We shouldn’t “put down boldness” when it comes to words but, like the early church in Acts 4:29, pray, “Grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness.”

Relational and servant evangelism give power to our words. But our hesitancy to open our mouths about God and the gospel may be due to our embrace of the culture’s view of religion and faith. Like many of Tebow’s critics, we have come to believe our faith is a private affair and Christ isn’t worth the personal sacrifice and devotion necessary to boldly proclaim him. Such a faith would get in the way of our personal success and happiness, so we comfortably believe our silent lives will manage to attract Jesus a few followers. This is not enough.

Hopefully, Tebow will balance his words and actions in such a way that glorifies God and testifies that his faith is not trivial but vibrant. May his witness be good news to the lost, encouragement to the faithful, and conviction to the apathetic – and only a minor annoyance to the analysts. Let us use our words and actions to do the same, no matter what field we play on.

-Brian

(image credit)

Sheep of Justice: Who Are the Least of These in Matthew 25?

Well, 2011 is at a close and we want to thank all of you who have read, shared, and commented on the articles here at the Entire Gospel! To celebrate the end of this year and kick off the next, we are going to reveal and repost our top 5 most viewed articles of 2011! Coming in at number 5 is “Sheep of Justice”:

Are you sure you know what a passage in the Bible means? Be sure to check yourself before you wreck yourself (and anyone who will listen to you). One Sunday night I planned to teach on the parable of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25. I was looking forward to the opportunity to do what I had done numerous times before – press my hearers to abandon their selfishness and involve themselves in ministry to the poor and hurting of the world. But as I studied and wrestled with this parable I ran into a problem – that’s not what Jesus was saying.

You know the parable. At the end of time the Son of Man will come in his glory and gather all nations before him. He will separate out the people like sheep and goats based on how they treated the “least of these”. Those who gave them food and drink, who welcomed them, clothed them, and visited them while sick and in prison are the sheep. Those who did not are the goats. The sheep depart to eternal life while the goats depart to eternal punishment. So this is a pretty big deal.

Now for those who think Jesus is teaching we must earn our way to heaven through acts of social justice let me put your mind at ease.  When understanding Jesus’ parables it is important to know who his audience is. In this case, it is his disciples (Matt. 24:1) who are already in the kingdom of heaven. This parable is not telling them how to enter the kingdom but how those in it will live. If this parable was addressed to the crowds it would be a different story, but it’s not (?). It is telling those who are already sheep how sheep will live their lives between Jesus’ first and second coming.

Now for those who think we are off the hook, let me disturb your peace. The reason it seems Jesus sends people to eternal life based on these actions is because he meant it to seem that way. Actions of mercy to the “least of these” flow so naturally from saving faith that if someone does not do them it brings into question whether or not they’ve met Jesus. To put it another way – feeding the hungry and clothing the naked won’t save you; only faith in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection will do that. But that kind of faith necessarily produces acts of mercy and kindness to the “least of these”. Sheep act a certain way. If you don’t act like a sheep you’re probably a goat.

Ministry to the “least of these” is vitally important for anyone claiming to be a follower of Christ. So who are they? Anyone that is hungry, thirsty, poor, sick, or in prison, right? After all, this is one of the key passages for those claiming Jesus’ message was ultimately one of social justice – not one of personal salvation.

Setting aside Jesus’ overall message, that is not his message in this parable. The “least of these” are not just anyone, but the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, or imprisoned who are followers of Christ and thus part of His body. While we’re familiar with the phrase “the least of these” we are less familiar with the two critical words that follow it – “my brothers”. Who are Jesus’ brothers? I’ll let him answer from Matthew 12:49-50:

And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

A brother of Jesus is his disciple who does the will of his father; in other words, a Christian! Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus call anyone a brother if they do not believe in him. Now the parable begins to make more sense. The people in prison sheep are to visit are probably persecuted Christians. The reason meeting the needs of the “least of these” is like ministering to Jesus himself is because they are part of the body of Christ. Craig Blomberg in the New American Commentary explains the phrase “the least of these my brothers” this way:

Who are these brothers? The majority view throughout church history has taken them to be some or all of Christ’s disciples since the word “least” is the superlative form of the adjective “little ones”, which without exception in Matthew refers to the disciples, while brothers in this Gospel when not referring to literal biological siblings, always means spiritual kin.

The parable of the sheep and the goats shows Jesus’ followers the critical importance of caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world after his first coming and before his second and may be the fuel behind the radical sharing of the early church in Acts 2:45.

Two questions arise. First, can’t we go on applying this parable to all of the needy in the world? We can’t because it would be a lie. We would be misrepresenting Jesus Christ and using the Bible for our own purposes. Second, won’t Christians lose their passion for the starving and suffering of the world? No they won’t because Jesus addresses the needs of those outside the faith elsewhere. While they may not be our brothers, they are our neighbors who we are commanded to love as ourselves as seen most clearly in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Just because the Bible teaches something, doesn’t mean it teaches it in every passage. Let us faithfully teach each passage of Scripture without having to bend it to our agenda. At least that’s probably what a sheep would do.

-Brian

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It’s Getting Scary Out There for Religious Freedom

America has not always enjoyed freedom of religion. In 1773 Isaac Backus wrote his Appeal to the Public where he detailed religious oppression going on in Massachusetts. The legislature required each town to maintain pedobaptist (infant baptism) worship. The minister was elected by a majority of the people and paid by taxes levied on the whole population. Backus’ complaint was that truth should not be decided by a majority vote – since Christ said there were few on the narrow way (Matthew 7). Those whose consciences would not allow them to support the minister were often imprisoned or had their property seized.

When Thomas Jefferson was elected President, the Danbury Baptist Association wrote him concerning religious liberty in 1801:

Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty – that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals – That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions – That the legitimate power of civil governments extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.

They were concerned the new Constitution was not specific on religious liberty and needed to know if Jefferson would support their freedom or allow their oppression. Jefferson wrote back to the Danbury Baptists his famous separation of church and state letter:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

Jefferson did not banish religion from the public arena. He wrote to assure Baptists they would not be taxed, imprisoned, or maligned for failing to support a religion in which they did not believe.

In the 200 years since Jefferson wrote his letter, religious liberty has thrived in the United States. While America’s record has not been perfect, it has arguably been one of the best. However, in our own time, Christians may be watching the slow death of religious freedom.

On December 9th, the Wall Street Journal reported the case of Chuck and Stephanie Fromm who were fined $300 for hosting Bible studies in their home. The city of San Juan Capistrano claimed they had violated a city ordinance which prohibits groups of three or more from gathering without a permit. The cost obtaining such a permit can be as much as $150,000. Similar cases have appeared in San Diego, Florida, and Michigan. So far these permits have not been enforced on football parties or book clubs.

The Christian Legal Society lost its recognition as a student group at UC Hastings College of Law because it failed to abide by the school’s anti-discrimination policy. In 2004 the group declared they would not accept gays, lesbians or any members not adhering to Christian beliefs. They lost funding, meeting spaces, and their spot on the school’s website. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled 5-4 against the Christian Legal Society because they did not accept “all comers.” Justice Alito, in the dissenting opinion, noted the school’s policy had been used against only 1 out of 60 student organizations – the Christian Legal Society – and that public institutions now have “a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups.”

This fall Vanderbilt University decided to ban Christian organizations including Beta Upsilon Chi, Graduate Christian Fellowship, Christian Legal Society, Intervarsity, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The school adopted a policy that prohibits student organizations from holding members to any standard of belief or behavior. The issue ignited when Beta Upsilon Chi dismissed an openly gay leader. School administrators are remaining firm on the ban; no word yet if their policy of not holding student organization members to a standard extends beyond Christians. Fifteen Intervarsity Christian Fellowships have faced similar difficulties with school administrations in the past year.

Meanwhile, Catholic charities are losing funding for their adoption, foster care and human trafficking operations because they refuse to provide abortions and contraceptives and to work with homosexual couples. Rather, funds are diverted to other agencies despite the superior effectiveness of the Catholics.

In New York, over 60 churches will lose their meeting space in public schools next year after the Supreme Court refused to hear their case. While the majority of these churches maintain excellent relationships with the schools, paying rent on time and cleaning up after worship, they will have to leave because officials fear the presence of churches will influence public school children. As one Brooklyn city official commented, “It’s ironic that the Ku Klux Klan can meet freely in public schools but churches….are not allowed.”

There is probably not an all out war on religious liberty in America. What we see are the effects of a shift in the way the culture – especially elites such as politicians, professors, and pundits – views the world. For them, truth is not ultimately found in sources such as the Bible or science but in the individual who determines what is true for him or her. Thus, judgments religion makes about behavior or belief are seen as harmful and destructive; even if those beliefs are not forced on others but merely shared. While religion doesn’t force itself on Americans (no one is forced to believe) the opinions of the culture are being forced on religion. Believers are told their views are unacceptable and find their meeting spaces, funding, and positions being stripped from them.

Christians must obey Jesus in Mathew 10:16 where he told us, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” We must be wise and stand for religious liberty. We cannot thoughtlessly cast votes but must inhabit places of cultural influence and use political and legal means at our disposal. We must be innocent, at times turning the other cheek and accepting injustices against the church for the sake of our witness. Jesus says later in Matthew 10:32, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.” Therefore, we must not compromise what we believe for the sake of changing cultural winds.

Liberty doesn’t disappear overnight; it is slowly stolen away piece by piece. Christians need to wake up from college campuses to Capitol Hill. We dare not compromise and we must guard our witness in our communities but like the Danbury Baptists, we need not go quietly.

-Brian

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Kurt Warner v. Tim Tebow: Is Action All We Need?

Everyone has an opinion on Tim Tebow. Easily one of the most beloved and most controversial NFL players in a long time, Tebow’s outspoken faith has made him a target for analysts, commentators, and sports writers alike. Recently, Tebow received criticism from two other quarterbacks, Jake Plummer and Kurt Warner.

In an interview with 910 AM in Phoenix Plummer said he admired Tebow’s wins in Denver, but he went on to say:

“I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates. I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”

Tebow responded to Plummer on ESPN’s First Take:

“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m gonna take that opportunity.”

What makes a large chunk of America uncomfortable with Tebow is that, for them, religion simply isn’t significant enough to merit his level of devotion. They would be comfortable with a Christian Tebow who was concerned mostly about his performance, his money, his stuff, his women, and his press. When Tebow cares more about the gospel than the goal line it convicts a culture that has lived for personal success and forsaken meaningful devotion to God (or devotion to anything larger than themselves).

Enter Kurt Warner. Widely known and celebrated as a Christian athlete, the former quarterback voiced his opinion on Tebow to the Arizona Republic. He said:

“You can’t help but cheer for a guy like that. But I’d tell him, ‘Put down the boldness in regards to the words, and keep living the way your living. Let your teammates do the talking for you. Let them cheer on your testimony.”

Unlike Plummer, who took his Tebow opportunity to fire a shot at the Denver quarterback, Warner seems to genuinely care about Tebow’s witness. He added:

“The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live. When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”

Is Kurt Warner right? Should Tebow “put down the boldness” because “the greatest impact you can have… is never what you say”? Warner expresses what has become a popular position among many Christians – evangelism is done primarily through actions and words are at best a necessary evil and at worst a turn-off to anyone seeking Christ. There have been books written on “relational” or “servant” evangelism in which the Christian is to live or act in such a way that people are won to Christ without a word.

Aside from a few crazies, you would be hard pressed to find any Christian who argued our actions and how we live doesn’t matter. Let’s be clear: in Tim Tebow’s case the issue is not between words and actions. He isn’t preaching Jesus and getting arrested on the weekends. His actions match his words. The issue is how and when the words come, if at all. So let’s test with the Bible our own assumptions about evangelism and Kurt Warner’s advice – “You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”

Jesus’ ministry begins not with healings or feedings but with preaching (Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:14, Luke 1:15). Not with actions, but with words.

When the Spirit launched the church on the day of Pentecost they didn’t start a soup kitchen but went into the streets preaching the good news (Acts 2:4).

When Paul arrived in a new city he established his ministry by speaking in the local synagogues and meeting places (Acts 13:14-16, 14:1, 16:13, 17:2, 10, 17).

The ministries of Jesus, Paul, and the church all began with words. This is not to say actions don’t matter. Actions came later and gave power and legitimacy to the words. But the biblical pattern is not actions occasionally supported by words, but words reinforced by action. Kurt Warner’s opinion that our greatest impact is not in what we say is not supported by Scripture. After all, Jesus is the Word of God sent into the world (John 1:1). As God’s greatest impact came through His Word, so much of our greatest impact can come through our words; backed up by our lives. We shouldn’t “put down boldness” when it comes to words but, like the early church in Acts 4:29, pray, “Grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness.”

Relational and servant evangelism give power to our words. But our hesitancy to open our mouths about God and the gospel may be due to our embrace of the culture’s view of religion and faith. Like many of Tebow’s critics, we have come to believe our faith is a private affair and Christ isn’t worth the personal sacrifice and devotion necessary to boldly proclaim him. Such a faith would get in the way of our personal success and happiness, so we comfortably believe our silent lives will manage to attract Jesus a few followers. This is not enough.

Hopefully, Tebow will balance his words and actions in such a way that glorifies God and testifies that his faith is not trivial but vibrant. May his witness be good news to the lost, encouragement to the faithful, and conviction to the apathetic – and only a minor annoyance to the analysts. Let us use our words and actions to do the same, no matter what field we play on.

-Brian

(image credit)