Author Topic: Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"  (Read 788 times)

Dave Likeness

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Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« on: January 26, 2019, 04:06:51 PM »
Congregations are declining in membership in 21st century America.  It may be in part because
they have grown too comfortable with a fellowship of "morally upright and like-minded people."
The local parish can become stagnant when they shun "the tax collectors and sinners".

In Matthew chapter nine, the Pharisees are upset that Jesus went to Matthew's home with
his disciples and ate with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus said, " It is not the healthy who need
a doctor, but the sick.......I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Today, Jesus wants us to share the gospel with the sinful and hurting, not just the pious who seem
to have their act together.  Someone has said that the church should be a hospital for the sick,
and not a museum for the saints.

Bottom Line:  How can a congregation lose its focus on reaching out to sinners?

« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 04:12:59 PM by Dave Likeness »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2019, 04:14:14 PM »
I take the hospital image a step further. Hospitals need workers: doctors, nurses, housekeeping, food services, social workers, and so on, if they are going to care for the sick. Church member should see themselves both as the sick in need of the healing of the hospital; and also the staff who provide healing for others in need. When members see the church just as a place that meets their needs (which it should be); but also a vehicle by which they are able to use and grow in the gifts God has given them for the common good.

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dave Likeness

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Re: Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2019, 04:41:00 PM »
Brian, you are correct that the parish laity need to be involved wholeheartedly in the mission of
the church.  It takes pastor and people working together to reach out into the community with
the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2019, 10:33:27 PM »
The medical/clinical metaphor is one that has been used in Orthodoxy for centuries.

http://www.orthodoxwitness.org/the-church-is-a-therapeutic-center/

An excerpt:

Quote
Orthodox people view the Church as a spiritual hospital, a clinic, a hospice, a therapeutic center, and a fitness center—all combined in one! The aim of the treatment is to provide spiritual cure, maintain wellness for its patients (faithful members) and lead them to eternal life!

The cure we obtain in the Church is not for the benefit of our souls alone—it does not pertain only to the future life. It includes our bodies and our life here on earth. In fact it is the most complete program, addressing all our needs—spiritual, emotional, material and intellectual.

The Church takes a broken human life and restores it in all its dimensions, renews it, transforms it, sanctifies it and enriches its interpersonal relationships, bringing the human being to a fuller communion with society and nature, and ultimately unites it with God.

The main task of the Church and her ministers (bishops, priests, elders) is to make us well (make us like Christ). Unfortunately, the great majority of the people are not even aware of this truth, and therefore are not taking advantage of the spiritual treatment provided by the Church. The result is that we do not get well and we die in our sin (cf. John 8:21-24).

Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

JoshuaEM

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Re: Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2019, 03:39:51 PM »
I’ve never liked the hospital metaphor. Hospitals cure people and send them home. Church is hospice, we care for dying people. Some we care for for a few years, others for their whole lifetimes. In any case there’s no discharge from baptism.

Per the original post, I think more pastors ought to know their local coffee shop and bar. Eating and drinking are what Jesus did best.

Josh

« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 04:45:39 PM by JoshuaMc »

Dave Likeness

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Re: Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2019, 04:12:13 PM »
Josh you make a keen observation.    The local parish pastor cannot hibernate in his church office
behind a computer screen .  He needs to get out into the community where the people are gathering.
I enjoyed attending our high school football games, basketball games, and baseball games.   Of course
our parish had boys and girls on the various teams and yet I was able to talk with all types of spectators.

There are other community events which blend themselves to interaction with the people in your area.
Our city of 22,000 had a "Good Neighbors Festival" each May  There were carnival rides, food, and
entertainment on the main stage.  Our parish had a booth which handed out free Bibles and some
invitations to worship with us and send their children to our Vacation Bible School.

One of the biggest magnets of our parish was our excellent Pre-School with great teachers and
facilities.  I was always present at the opening orientation night with the parents and their children.
I spoke  about the goals of the Preschool classes for 3yr old and 4yr olds.  I kept a visible & available
presence in the Pre-School for their various activities.  Our parish was blessed with many youth baptisms
and adult confirmands from the families who sent their children to our Pre-School as well as VBS.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 04:16:19 PM by Dave Likeness »