(Yes, its been a long time…)
Two or three weeks ago I wrote an article for our local newspaper. Here’s the text:
WWJD: The Right Question?
No one could have missed the banner raised over the St Paul’s Cathedral anti-capitalist camp, which asks, “What would Jesus do?” It’s an interesting question.
It would be tempting for society to advocate a solution to the greed problem that amounts to, “Stop it, or we’ll make you!” In other words, moderate or regulate. Such things have their place.
Without doubt the Bible has much to say about greed. Perhaps most bluntly, St. Paul, the apostle, wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:10 that the greedy will not inherit the kingdom of God.
However, Paul also identified the root cause of this and other vices. It is the universal failure to worship and give thanks to God even though creation speaks loud and clear of his existence. Mankind inherently knows this, but “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
So what did Paul want to do about a world of greed and other vices? Shouldn’t the Church want to do the same as we look around our world today? Interestingly, I don’t think Paul would ever have asked the question, “What would Jesus do?” Rather, I think he asked constantly, “What has Jesus called me to do, in the light of his saving death and resurrection for sinners like me?” Isn’t that the question the Christian Church needs to answer today?
Paul’s answer was simple: “I am eager to preach the gospel” (Rom 1:15). To share it was his burning compulsion. Ironically, St Paul’s Cathedral did not think that preaching St Paul’s gospel with clarity was one of its options. Instead, it seems to be driven by the agenda of others, confused by the what-would-Jesus-do question.
The gospel of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection offers the only lasting eternal hope for this world. The problem of unrighteousness has been answered by the gift of Christ’s righteousness, which can be received by faith in Christ. Today, as it was for Paul, this gospel is the bright shining diamond against a dark, vice-ridden backdrop.
Stephen Dancer Minister, Solihull Presbyterian Church
You can probably tell I had been preaching in Romans 1 in the weeks before!