Apologetics Index

Emerging Church – The Church’s Proper Role in Postmodern Culture — Light of the World

  • Scripture’s teachings contrast the emergent approach to witness and ministry. This can be seen, for example, in the Bible’s insistence that the world is in darkness.

    “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” – Acts 26:15-20

  • In biblical terms, this means the world cannot see the truth. The world’s blindness to truth is accompanied by an inclination toward works of moral darkness.

    “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6

    “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:8

  • The Church is the light in this darkness and we are commanded to shine as such. This means we are supposed to unashamedly proclaim the truth to the world and that our lifestyle is to starkly contrast the ways of darkness prevalent in the world. Being light in the darkness presupposes that we do not condescend to any kind of relativism. We believe, abide by, and proclaim God’s absolutes. Since we are not of the darkness we are not bound by any cultural worldview that is hostile to Scripture. We are not premodern, modern, or postmodern. We are the light of the world. We are aliens and strangers who represent the Kingdom of God. We know the truth and it has set us free from bondage to any worldly culture. We must contrast the surrounding darkness rather than conform to it.

    “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16

    “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” – John 17:17

    “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” – John 4:23

    “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'” – John 8:31-32

    “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

    “The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.” – Romans 13:12-13

    “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” – Ephesians 5:3-13

  • As we address the world, we are to call them to repent and believe. [21]

    “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” – Acts 2:38

    “And after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.” – Acts 16:30-32

  • Right doctrine and morals are required of those who would become God’s people. They must separate themselves from the works of darkness (including false religions). Belief in God’s absolute truth and obedience to his absolute commands are not optional.

    Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” – 2 John 9-11

    “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
    Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
    And I will welcome you.
    And I will be a father to you,
    And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’
    Says the Lord Almighty'” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

    “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

  • Many years ago, while vacationing in the mountains, my wife and I found ourselves on a rough path in the woods with no flashlight and not enough time to get back to the road before nightfall. A pair of helpful young men joined us on the path, going before us with their flashlights. They were not ashamed of the fact that they had light which we did not, nor were they timid in showing us the way. Thankfully, they did not extinguish their lights in a misguided effort to avoid embarrassing us or to identify with our condition. Being the light of the world requires us to be unashamed of the gospel and bold in our witness. Others’ lives depend on our faithfulness to these principles.

Article details

Category: A-Z Index, E, Latest Entries
Related topic(s):

First published (or major update) on Saturday, July 15, 2006.
Last updated on February 13, 2013.

Original content is © Copyright Apologetics Index. All Rights Reserved. For usage guidelines see link at the bottom.
Apologetics Index: Research resources on religious movements, cults, sects, world religions and related issues

Our website includes some affiliate links. That means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each purchase you make. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Apologetics Index earns from qualifying purchases. Your support helps us provide this site free of charge. Naturally, as our Editorial Policy states, our content is never influenced by our advertisers or affiliates. Details.