Our True Identity is Found in the City with Foundations, whose Maker and Builder is God

Romans 12.1Harold Senkbeil, in his article “Pastoral  Care and Sex”, writes,

We can no longer assume that the American way of life and Christianity are synonymous …

What this means, though, is that we must be more deliberate in modeling and teaching Christian behavior; the culture will not do it for us.  … We need to prepare Christian people to be what our Savior said they would be: a city on a hill that cannot be hid, the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. Those who live for Christ and his kingdom will increasingly look like oddballs and freaks in a world in which people create their own persona and lifestyle out of their pleasures and urges. A world full of unbridled egos is not a pretty picture; expressive individualism on steroids is no way to build a healthy society.  Worse, it is a spiritual disaster zone. … Our [pastors] task is to shepherd Christ’s sheep and lambs safely through these perils to life everlasting, and that means guiding them along the path less traveled.

So the first thing we [pastors] will need to stress in our teaching regarding sexual behavior is that what passes for acceptable behavior legally and socially can no longer guide Christians. We will not become monastics or Amish; we will not disengage entirely from the world. We will be resident aliens , if you will. We will be critical of whatever is handed to us by pop culture, and we will not bow the knee to the faddish idols of our day in terms of the arts and entertainment world.  Like the Christians of late antiquity, there will be certain things acceptable to everyone else that will be off limits for us. …

We must refuse to let the world define us. We will be very much in the world, but not of the world. Like others who know not the Lord Jesus, we may reside in the city of man, but our true identity is found in the city with foundations, whose maker and builder is God. And this identity, we must hasten to add, is as much caught as taught.  Perhaps more caught than taught, actually. That is, people do not just need to hear orthodox teaching from their pastors on these crucial matters of sexual identity and fidelity; they need to actually see it modeled and lived in their pastors, in their households, and among fellow Christians. There must be orthopraxy to accompany orthodoxy.

(Source: p. 333-334 in “Pastoral Care and Sex” by Harold Senkbeil in CTQ 79 (2015): 329-345)  To read the entire article by Harold Senkbeil, visit: CTQ.

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