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The State of the Church Moving Forward

Jessup Think
Jessup Think
The State of the Church Moving Forward

Jessup President John Jackson and noted social commentator and teacher Ed Stetzer join the show to discuss the state of the Church as we move forward from 2020.


Welcome to Jessup think I’m your host, Mark Moore. And our guests on the show today are dr. john Jackson, the president of William Jessup University, and Dr. Ed stetzer. Dr. stetzer, is a professor and Dean at Wheaton College, where he also serves as the executive director of the Billy Graham center. We are really excited to have him on the show, and we’re going to be looking at the church post 2020, particularly how we move forward. Enjoy the show. JOHN, and Ed, thank you so much for joining us on the show calls you john. Dr. Jackson,

he does but the doctor thing we can just dispense with it. Don’t

worry, it is in the introduction. Okay. So the introduction has already happened. You don’t even know what happened. And it is great to have president of William Jessup University, Dr. JOHN Jack’s doctor,

I told you, your doctor. He’s got. He has many leather books and the smells of rich mahogany. don’t depend on me though, to deliver your baby or do surgery.

That’s exactly right. airplane, if someone says a doctor on board, yes.

My daughter’s once said, so you’re a doctor. But you don’t really help people. Like Well, I help people. It was too late, though they were getting moving on. We just jumped on your introduction. Sorry about that, hey,

it’s no problem. It’s no problem. It’s free flowing. Here it is. I feel I feel the flow. And we’re I’m I am just excited to have you on the show to really talk about, I think, a really important topic and one that church leaders across America and across the world are asking right now. And that’s how do we move forward? How are we coming out of a crazy year, but but I agree with you and on points that you’ve made? This isn’t an anomaly, right? 2020 is not an anomaly.

It’s anyways, the new normal, I mean, maybe not with the pandemic part. But gives I think, ultimately, that’s that’s waning. We hope we don’t know about the variants. But you know, but that’s waning, and we’ve been through I don’t have any of your account, you know, 20 plus pandemics since the beginning of the church. So pandemics and the British sweats isn’t around anymore. We’re not you know, we’re not dealing with you know, the black plague. So pandemics em, but I think the cultural tumult and turbulence that we saw in 2020, if it was just a pandemic, but what just pandemic it was, you know, political division, you gotta remember, you know, and the strength in the, in the course of the pandemic, before the, like, weeks before the pandemic, and in during the pandemic, we had to impeachments. So we don’t realize it just I mean, wow. And then we had, you know, racial injustice on display, then we had unrest in the cities. We had. We had economic I mean, that April and May last year. I mean, I don’t know about you, but everyone’s freaking out budget wise.

Well, absolutely. And don’t you think that Ed, we kind of have this on historical I think a lot of times, we’re all theological, but we’re also all historical to kind of go like God, yeah. Right. So

you know, I remember like, when I was at moody church, I just finished up I was finishing up the interim pastor at moody church on Easter is Easter 2020, the rooms empty, right, because everything’s shut down. I think everyone was shut down then right? There was like, Yeah, but then at that time, so I think 6% of churches did shut down. We did a survey later. So we’re standing up there, cuz there’s 3000 3750 empty seats in the heart. And the question was, at the time, were we allowed to go and fell into the film right here, we an essential service, and I actually had a recipe. And so I went down, and we did that. And but then it kind of struck me that 100 years earlier, yeah, the pastor of moody church stood in the same building during the Spanish flu epidemic, or actually was that building went around was a bigger building during the Spanish flu epidemic, and we made it through and and I think part of the reality is, is that this is the greatest global crisis of our lifetime. I think everyone would agree. Yeah. That collectively now individual something like listings that I had cancer last year, that’s the greatest, my personal, but globally, there’s no question. But, you know, we emerged from these things. And, and I think it’s going to be different. I think the church is going to be different. I think there are significant long term ramifications in the church. I think mental health issues are gonna have long term ramifications. I think financial issues are gonna have long term ramifications. And of course, you know, we’ve lost hundreds of 1000s of people to to do this illness as well. So yeah, there’s I mean, this is, but now is the time to start talking about what does the post COVID reality look like? Because we got to be prepared for it. We, of course, we weren’t prepared for the pandemic, because how could you be bear for the pandemic, right? But now we got asked, What’s the post COVID rally look like? And how do we engage it?

So I think and mark that, that a lot of what happened in that pandemic is that it was a revealer. And I use that word at the very beginning, it revealed revealed things about church revealed things about family about culture, economics, governments, etc. But I also think it was an accelerator COVID accelerated a number of things. And I think we’re seeing Ed did a great presentation today at Jessup and we’re seeing the reality of what some people call the rise of the nuns. Yeah. Well, that just means essentially the what I think Ed said earlier, the the end of nominalism we’re seeing more and more if you’re a committed Christ follower. That’s an intentional choice. And for me, Mark, the question of the church post COVID is okay, in light of the fact that our culture is moving in really challenging ways. We’ve had a pandemic. How does the church respond? I actually think it’s an amazing opportunity for evangelism.

Yeah, no, I think you’re right. I would say to just to touch on that there’s a fascinating article in The New York Times by Ross Douthat, he’s a former evangelical, practicing Catholic, it’s called waking up in 2030. And it’s the subheading is the suspended time of the bat demick has put history on fast forward. So it gives a right where what you’re saying is that all of a sudden, these social issues, these cultural issues, right, so we think we’re in a pandemic, and we got economic challenges. And then, you know, we saw the killing of George killing George Floyd, and then people with great awareness of racial issues. But then everything just hit fast forward. And we saw in and around, you know, we’re still going through these issues of, you know, what do societies change his mind on same sex marriage? That’s now the the majority of the majority of you, it’s the vast majority of you. But now it’s like, well, what does that mean for schools like, William just Wheaton? or What does that mean? And what does the transgender revolution mean? Right? So all of a sudden, these conversations are and the Equality Act right before us. This is like, suddenly super accelerated. And I think that articles will helpful because what happens is, we would have had 10 years to do to work through these crises, these cultural changes, but we don’t there before us. And I think that’s part of the cultural turbulence that we’re experiencing right now.

And I think in some ways, great reference both with the article and the thinking, sometimes technology emerges, where the emergence of that technology accelerates past the level of where our social discourse and moral worldview has been developed, I think of Biomedical Ethics. Many, many years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I was in a Catholic hospital on a on a medical ethics committee, they let me just sit in Well, I was way over my head. Yeah. But it was amazing to see how disciplined the Catholic thinkers were about ethics. But they were saying, you know, many of the technologies we have, and this is in the early 1980s, are advanced beyond our ethical frameworks. And I think some of the social pressures, some of the technological realities have actually gotten past where our ethical frameworks are. I think the church is gonna have to grapple with those issues. What do we do when we’re in a culture? By the way, do we think it’s any worse in our day, then Rome, Corinth yaffa says, Come on. Fair, I know, a greater remind students of that, yeah, yeah,

we have remarkable freedoms. And I think part of the reality is, is that we have had a home field advantage. This was home field advantage for us. You know, I came to Christ in the charismatic movement of the Episcopal Church. It wasn’t shocking, you know, it wasn’t I mean, it was like, Okay, I was irreligious, you know, we were grew up nominally Catholic, but then to the world around me, I became religious, but that was generally a good thing. I think now, what we’ve done is we’ve lost our home field advantage, we’re now maybe that’s generally not a good thing that converting towards religion, particularly maybe evangelical religion, could make you angry or mean, or did I forget some of the terms that you used earlier? And I think that part of the reality is, is that still it’s not subsequently followed by a beheading? It’s right. It’s, you know, you can be you can go to work, you drive your truck for ups, you can work as the account and you can work as the banker. But I think the reality is it is getting, I mean, we’re gonna have socio cultural pressure in and around some of these issues. And it’s just beginning. I think there’s more to come.

So Mark, I completely agree with Ed’s assessment. I think right now, just every follower of Jesus in North America is a missionary. And that’s a man. That’s kind of a shocking worldview. We have had this quote homefield advantage before, we have thought of Gosh, no, America’s Christian. And that’s always been a debatable and be sort of laughable at one level. This is not a theocracy. This is not a quote, Christian, baptize, sanctified nation, for all the glorious privileges and wonderful things we have here in America. So in light of that, if you’re a missionary, how do you think about reaching the culture? How do you think about incarnating the gospel? How do you think about manifesting the love the light of Jesus? How do you be? This is my sort of crux of my life that I struggle with personally and fail miserably all the time. How do I be full of grace? Yeah. and full of truth. Yeah, I don’t want any compromise the truth. On the other hand, I’m always been thankful that the passage in john where it says the law came through Moses, but Jesus came full of grace and truth. I’ve always been grateful with my Baptist heritage full of truth, that the word grace came first, because I think a lot of longtime Christians do have what I would describe as elder brother faith, that that parable of the prodigal that I think a lot of long term Christians, like me, grew up in the church, maybe have an elder brother kind of faith that works righteousness, a legalistic kind of thing. So now the question is, in a missionary context, how do we be full of grace, full of truth? I think that’s an opportunity post COVID Mmm,

yeah. And what’s great about That is I think that’s what the New Testament writers that was the environment they were in right. There wasn’t home field advantage. They were missionaries. And so we can look to the new testament to find that kind of

playbook. So let’s see if this works for you, Mark, do you have this broad theological background that has theological background, as well, and I just think about this. So we’re in a context now in North America where the Gospels get to be lived out in the epistles. And that’s actually the way the New Testament evolved. Jesus lived. The Gospel writers wrote about it later. But then the epistles emerged from people who had an encounter with the living Christ had an encounter with the resurrected Lord, and or the word and teaching of the apostles. So now you read the epistles, you read Corinthians, you read Ephesians, read Colossians, those were letters to real life churches in real life settings, who were dealing with real life issues, many times huge morality issues. How do we as a church now deal with that? I think the epistles are going to come alive to untrusting

there’s, I can see that I can see the the context of the instruction of these churches that were struggling because I don’t think a lot of people are struggling now. And I would say I mean, I you know, I’m not speaking contrary to what you say, I would say, the reality of the gospel of the kingdom as described and preached by Jesus in the gospels, then applied and lived out in cultural context. But man, I tell you, when I when I look at Corinth, you know, I look at the letter versus Second Corinthians sure to sound a lot like where we’re living today. And and so I think the the teaching the didactic nature of the epistles, the the, you know, the call to live as strangers and aliens, but faithful on preaching through, just preach through Philippians at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City room serving as the interim. I’m a Baptist to like, like Jesus and all that as you go. Yes. And we got about the same more or less that even before Jesus, that’s true. That’s true. Thank God for john the baptist shown us the way. There’s no john the Lutheran just to point that out. There’s boy, john, john, where’s john? That’s true. We love everybody. I’m here at William Jessup. But I but I do think that the call to living as you know, first Peter talks about, you know, strangers and aliens. And that’s just going to resonate to people in 2021. and beyond. Well, I’d

have to say this coming from California, and my friend Larry Osborne, and I’m sure many others did but but preach to First Corinthians many years ago, and just call it letter to the Californians. Did he really do? And live? If you live in California, you kind of feel like,

like Garth is pretty much the party. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think part of the reality is, is that I mean, just the whole meal you in which the New Testament was birthed, you know, probably I should I should write not all of it. You know, the gospel. Some of the gospels are written in a, you know, a Jewish, Matthew, for example. But when you get to the epistles, it’s a pagan context with a few exceptions. And so that pagan context reflects to us today we do live, we’ve lost our home field advantage. The mission is now from everywhere and to everywhere, it always was, but now we know it more every Christian is on mission, in their context to show and share the love of Jesus, the complexity of that has changed. I mean, 50 years ago, people weren’t asking the same questions they are today. So this requires a deeper discipleship, a deeper engagement. That’s why the certificate programs at William Jessup are so important to see what that’s good. No, I just leave it I think because one of the things we don’t have that right now we in college to go over things I’m asking it we got is, you know, the week has Billy Graham center in particular, how do we equip regular people to because that’s, I mean, the theological complexity that everyday people are dealing with today is something you know, I became a believer I started you know, I think I did to seven from the navigator started memorizing Bible verses Aygo. Nobody was asking me some of the questions you’re asking me today. It’s complex today.

That’s right. And let me just throw something in that it will seem absolutely contrary to the narrative we’ve been working on all day about, you’re just

excited to be done with this. You’re like, I want to go. He’s going to go a different way. So whose podcast is as it is? Today, the breath? So is this like a school podcast? It is. It is. Cool. You

have all kinds of great folks watching and listening. So here’s the deal. Yes, right. First Thessalonians. Yeah. Which some scholars argue, I think, or at least they used to that it might have been the earliest thing. Yeah. So if that’s the case, I think it’s First Thessalonians two says this, make it your ambition, to lead a quiet life. And essentially, have your life be a witness to outsiders. I don’t do the quiet life thing. Well, so. Like, how many of us go like no, I want to be a world changing culture changing transformational Christian. Paul says in the earliest letter in make it your ambition, to lead a quiet life and to have your life be a witness to outsiders, but your speeches and Ephesians let your speech be seasoned with grace. Yep. What they’re like, Where’s the transformational, you know, drive the barbarians from the central, and then you go back to the Old Testament, pray for the city and the prosperity of the city which is called in Jeremiah. What does that mean for us here in America today when we’re not on the home field anymore?

Well, I do think in part, there are different roles for different people. All of us have The role to live a quiet life and, and to you know, just show through our loving deeds and actions, the love of Christ. So that’s for me, that’s my neighbor. That’s a baseline for him. That’s the baseline. So for me, that’s how I want to engage my neighborhood. That’s when I’m engaging my community. So I think all of us would be there as well. I think that for some, we’re called to engage in the public sphere. So that’s why I’m, you know, I’m on Morning Edition ran VR on USA Today. But even there, I try to, you know, Krishna today, I try to articulate something that calls Christians to live the very thing you’re talking about. So earlier on one of your professors here as to, you know, telling question about James Davidson hunter and his idea of in his book to change the world faithful presence. Well, I think that’s what you mean. James Davison Hunter is just describing, live a quiet life and love your neighbors. Make a difference. You make the world a better place. Yeah. And so I do think that that’s the call we have and that, you know, pray for the welfare of the city, work for the welfare of the city, are and those were to, don’t forget that that’s in Jeremiah. That’s, that’s the Lord speaking. By the way. It says yes, says Lord of hosts. But that’s right, given to written to the Lord’s word to the exiles in Babylon. Now, I mean, again, if California is Corinth, then certainly the West is Babylon. Yes. And so what could we do is we work for the wall for the city. So So what so in Sacramento, right or in Rocklin, where we are in Chicago, where I am, one of the things that most Christians can and should be engaged in is showing and sharing the love of Jesus to their neighborhood. Amen. And a subset of them will be politicians, and some of them will be doctors. And some of those will be cultural commentators that those all matter. But all of us need to join Jesus on mission moving to the neighborhood, joins us on mission and show and cheers, love there.

That’s so good. I think that’s rich. And Mark, I want to take over too much more. But he says, think about Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther, those are wonderful examples of being worshipers of Yahweh worshippers followers of God and being present in positions of responsibility in pagan atmospheres. And so that’s our world today. And so again, we’re all historical sometimes. Come on, let’s let’s be a church that engages in the public square, figures out how to deal with people who don’t have our worldview, and say, How do I interact with love, Grace, compassion, kindness, be full of grace, full of truth? Love it.

That is really listening all day? Yeah. Which is great. What’s his podcast called? Is it called Jessup? Think Jessup think? Oh, very cool. So that’s very good to Joe Jessup. The President is thinking right here. Thank you trying to keep up with the company in this room. There’s a lot of a lot of New Testament scholarship over here. I’m not a New Testament scholar. So you could fix all that New Testament.

No, it’s good. And you recently wrote about the gospel centered church. Gosh, I thought was really interesting. Because here, Jessup we’ve been kind of running with that language of gospel worldview gospel. So what is a gospel centered church?

Well, I did a series I think you probably read a five part thing on five, kind of ours of a gospel centered church revitalization. So I think ultimately, when we talk about gospel centrality, a lot of you know, sometimes that’s code word for reformed, you know, hang around the, the gospel coalition, which really is the reformed relish. That’s true. And and it was meant to be it was meant to be foundational. They had no choice. Yeah, choice today. Exactly. But I’m pumped. So but when I’m talking about gospel centrality, I’m talking about how the gospel in our understanding of the gospel is not just the ticket to entry to the Christian life. Yeah, it’s not just the ticket to enter heaven. But ultimately, it’s a shaping reality of the Christian life is that you know, that I’m, I hear the words of Jesus as the Father has sent me Even so send a you I joined Jesus on his mission, that gospel mission that shapes me the recognition that I have, not in my own, but through Christ be life in him. But then also I live out the implications of that gospel. You know, the gospel is not something you do the gospel is something Jesus did, right. But I live out the implications of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. So for me, I love when people talk about, you know, you got to be careful, you don’t want to just slap gospel on the front of everything. You know, people did that with missional for years, and I saw one person say, missional t shirts, I’m like, What the heck. So but what I would say is, I think ultimately, what we need is a deeper engagement of the gospel, the gospel, the power of Christ understood that the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the living in the power of that new life in Christ. And I would say there are contrast to that, you know, there’s verses of Christianity that are cultural diversity, Christianity that are more shaped by a cable news than they are by the gospel. There are verses of Christianity that are more shaped by could be nationalism, as well, there are expressions of that. So that gospel central I think it’s good language I like to use around here

and I tell you that I personally have grappled, some people adjusted but notice I’ve grappled because words like biblical Yeah, words like Kingdom mean a lot to me, given the context and journey I’ve been on but I finally have a seated, not that they need to say Let’s, let’s place the gospel with centrality. let’s describe what we mean by the gospel. And then let’s make sure that we’re making very specific reference to the kingdom. Very specific reference to Scripture. Because again, if the gospel is a watered down word, it gets watered down or gets reinterpreted. It can end up losing time. You know, Grace has lost its meaning. Oh my gosh, yes,

but I do love. I mean, I love the rot that emphasizes the kingdom too. I mean, we are Kingdom citizens. You know, to be fair, you know, Eton’s thing is for Christ and King. Yes. But ironically, you know, that’s a theological phrase that came from post millennialism. Yes. So it’s not it’s not even something that we would use the same way it works today. Yeah. But it meant something different. When we came up with that slogan,

when I was a young student at Fuller, I had not come across George elden, lad. Oh, yeah. Now, and when I did, and for some of the listeners that go like what you know, that’s an ancient manuscript, but for me, it was a life giving and raised in a Baptist context and thinking about church and getting people saved and going to heaven. And then recognizing No, there’s actually the kingdom of God. And it’s now and we live in manifests, by the way, live and manifest the gospel under the rule and reign to the power of the Holy Spirit in our present age. And by the way, I think that I think every tribe brings a gift to the nation that is the body of Christ. And so you mentioned reform, I just want to honor a lot of our reformed thinkers have been clear, and and precise, theologically, and that’s a gift to the body of Christ. I think a lot of our charismatic Pentecostal friends have been more than they are many inside have been absolutely focused on life in the spirit of that the power of transformation. That’s a gift to the body. Again, full of grace full of truth. Oh, come on the word full of spirit. It’s the miracle of and

and you guys here and now I’m now I’m doing what he did. So you guys here are introduced word interdenominational describing Yes, and so so you have cuz I know Wheaton is the same way. But Wheaton historically, has felt more like Presbyterian ish and stuff like that. Now, ironically, now, it’s a lot of Anglicans and charismatics. And you know, and I’m the lone Baptist I think in the whole place, who’s, who’s gonna somebody has to keep everybody accountable. And he’s got to exactly exactly inviting them back through the waters of baptism. So So how do you like even on hiring and things that’s or do you build like a diverse evangelical team that holds these it got charismatic, she got reformed, we got Baptist,

I think we’ve done so I’ve been so pleased. We talked about the language. We’re a nation, not a tribe. So we’re a nation with many tribes. And I think both in our faculty and certainly our student body, we have about 50 denominational tribes present a lot of people these days nondenominational, but not 50 different tribes. And then on any given semester, this is fascinating to me over 500 churches, we ask every student, where did you come from our students represent over 500 churches on any given semester. Now some of them have a home church, where they came from then they have their church in the local community. But I just think that’s a great representation of the body of Christ. Love it.

I love it. I think I think as we move forward, of course, there are a couple of challenges because neither your school or my school, our church base, right, it actually helps us if we’re a church, because that can easily step confessional standards. So we all may do what some people are doing, we may end up being a church, that’s fine create, there’s a kind of a way you do that legally to make that work. But yeah, but the but the other thing because it gives us confessional identity. But I think as we look to the future, two things First, the rise of nondenominational evangelicalism. That’s the largest group now. So what you are what we are, is now the largest group of Southern Baptists used to be now they’re the second largest. And I think that’s only going to continue. But at the same time, I would say in nondenominational evangelicalism, it’s kind of a drift, it’s kind of unsure what it believes, unsure where it’s going, and some institutions are going to have to help it more itself more in a, you know, institutions naturally, naturally drift, and particularly academic.

Every study suggests this sort of automatically drift to the left. I think it’s a little bit structural here at Jessup. I’ve really appreciated our School of Theology leadership, just really trying to help us say, what does it mean to be gospel centered? What is the nature of the gospel? And then I think without this, I hope my reformed friends will not be upset without a 20 page theological statement. Westlands can have 20 page precision, precision, and I appreciate that. My sense is that where we are emerging with reading some, we have cessationists on campus, and we have continuation so we have all kinds of people on different theological spectrums, but I think we’re going to get that common core to get enough clarity, so that we say yes, that’s the essential core, and I’ll freak some people out here, but I think if you go back to the Nicene Creed, and just at least start there and go, Okay, now, what do we mean by that? And what does that mean the modern, no kingdom of god there? I know. I know. It’s,

it’s kind of like even since the Luzon statement, yes. A lot was on the issues of sexuality. We don’t have to deal with it on those things. Right. So so the Nicene Creed, the apostles creed, they’re all also products of their time. Yes, when they weren’t dealing with somebody we’re dealing with, but I do love that broad. Mirror evangelicalism is sometimes what we say mirror evangelists Are you like this because of my Baptist background, your Baptist background we

want to be confessional not creedal. Okay. Yeah, fair enough. So, you know, there are many amazing confessions in Baptist history, New Hampshire, London, etc. And those confessions, were ways to articulate this is what we feel drawn together as a movement about. And so we want to find a way to be confessional without being creedal, where you’re sort of saying, if you’re not, if you can’t ascribe to the blood, you’re out. Right.

Right. And that’s, I think that’s historically more of a Baptist, traditional, second linen, second Baptist Church. So first church, I started, again, not strong in the kingdom, but again, it’s they’re all products of their day. But But I love that. And I think ultimately, that if of angelical ism is theologically adrift, or at least parts of it are theological, adrift, I do think that we’re going to have to say and remind one another, do what the writer of Hebrews says, provoke one another love and good deeds, when it comes to doctrine as well. You know, we just saw a major Christian school faculty overwhelmingly vote, to actually say that the position of the denomination, which is an excellent, well articulated, biblical position, is is you know, this is their object to it. They they they lost confidence. So fundamentally,

we’re talking about history that that faculty of that particular school voted 70% that 2000 years of church history is wrong. And horrifyingly wrong. Yep. That is horrifying to me. Yeah, no, I

agree. And, and so so here, but here, and so we see it in institutions, and I think institutions do naturally drift left. And everyone should think that if you, I mean, Harvard, you know, we just go to all the schools, right? So we know that to be the case. But it may be more so because of their institutional factors in academia. But so it is true. I mean, drive through the cities of America’s major cities, and you’ll find church after church that once preached the gospel, that once was gospel centered, and today has kind of abandoned both its view of Scripture, its view of the diversionary power of the gospel 100 other things as well, so So I do think that because what happens is we get a bad rap people like you, me who say we got a stand for certain things. All three of us not leaving you out. Sorry, sorry, Hey, hello there,

but we get a bad rap. Because people but when you don’t stand for something, you drift for something. And I think ultimately, that’s the distinction between the two. I can’t quote mark, but there’s a Chesterton statement, it goes something like this, the problem when people begin to drift is not that they don’t believe something, it’s that they’ll believe anything. That’s good. And I think I guess not exact quote, but I think that’s kind of the place we’re in. We’re in such an experiential era. We’re in such a relativistic era. We’re in such a Post truth era, that a lot of folks even within the church, have no clarity about what it means to say the Lordship of Christ. Yeah. JOHN 14, six is offensive. When Jesus says on the way, the truth and alive, no one comes to the Father, but by me that’s offensive to the modern ears. And I would suggest to you even to the modern churched.

Actually, we did a study a few years ago, by the way, when he quoted john 14, six and kind of spelled it out there that was for my benefit. You know, what? I suggested professor who knows what I know. But one of the we did a study a few years ago have regular of angelical church attendees, and half of them 49%. When asked to kind of give an answer to whether or not people who have basically we gave them a universalistic or a pluralistic answer, half of them said that, well, I’ll say that again. regularizing attendees of evangelical churches, half of them actually indicated that they hold a universalistic or pluralistic view of salvation.

If so, if you’re a pastor listening to this, if you’re a church that you’re listening to this you just need to forget everything else. Anybody said, folks, oh, it’s stunning.

It’s tough. So basically, you got you have people in a bed jellicle churches or Universalists? Yeah, and, and and we sort of knew that because they sort of fun gift. Because if they really believe that Jesus died on the cross for us and in our place, and he was the only way to heaven, we would live and act differently. That’s an that’s why my passion of my life is evangelism is showing and sharing the love of Jesus. And I know you your pastoral ministry, and now here, even Jessica, one of the distinctions, even in this community, California is much more secular than many contexts. It’s also a rich environment to reach people for Jesus. It is and by the way, some of the leading churches United States are here in California, nothing that’s accidental, some of the major movements of God, Jesus people movement, Azusa Street, etc, Charismatic Renewal movement all launched in California.

I think that’s not an accident of history. I think that’s the contrast the divide between California is sort of innate secularism. You look at the Gold Rush days, all of that. And then you think about the spiritual movements that have been birthed in California if you’re a California and you’re Christian. In my mind, you got an amazing missional opera school. I love it.

Yeah. Well, thank you for schooling me. I knew I was just gonna get the ball rolling. Yeah, you’re worried about getting this talk.

So I literally host a radio show. So I’m about ready to say Hey, everyone, welcome back. So yeah,

it’s all good. Now with john on the weather.

It’s always nice. The weather like always as nice as it is right now. Absolutely never rains in California. It’s always perfect temperature.

117 No. Never. But now as we kind of maybe are landing the plane a little bit. I would love it. To kind of hear from both of you on things that you’re seeing around the country around the world that gives you hope for the future, or for the church moving forward,

I would say students like yours and mine, we see the students and, and, you know, they’re, they’re paying a price to come here, you know, they’re there. They’re, in many ways choosing a Christian college university, because they, you’re not every one of them, but many of them because I want to be shaped by a Christian worldview. And I love I love that fact. I would also say to i, just a few minutes ago, I was I was meeting with my publisher intervarsity. I’m publishing a book on the future of evangelicalism. And to be honest, I’m literally two years late on delivering the manuscript, but it’s been really hard to. So they asked me, so do you have hope? I mean, what’s the hope? And I said, Yeah, I do. I mean, you mentioned earlier, john, the future of the church is tied up in African American, Latino and Asian church. That’s stronger than you said it. But I have super hope in what I see. In the Latino congregations and Africans. I think we’re gonna learn a lot from African American churches and more. So African congregations. I’m super hopeful about church planting, it’s still God using church planning, all over the context. And for me, and then you just jump in and have whatever you have for sure. But for me, I would also say that I’m hopeful that the last few years has been sobering to Christians at multiple levels. And part of it’s sobering, that we have some real we’re have legal challenges coming our direction, right? We have cultural challenge already come our direction. We have challenges inside of angelical ism in the last few years has revealed I’ve written widely on people debate about people get, but I would say that there’s a lot of stuff we got to both fix. But there’s a lot of opportunity that we got to be on mission.

Yeah. So I’m gonna go after this. I’ll start with a negative, but I’m going to redeem it quickly. He didn’t say that’s true. So I think that COVID has revealed that the American Evangelical Church is horrifyingly deficient in discipleship Oh, come on, baby. I agree. And I believe that every American church of all sizes, shapes and etc, will grapple with what it means to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus developed disciples of Jesus, every church going to be a discipleship Training Center, and then I’m going to shock you what I see happening, partly because of our students, just like Ed said, in terms of passions, a church who’s not involved in the local educational experience, the K 12 education, I think is going to become a form of irrelevant So researchers will be involved in education. Number two churches be involved in vocation. I first learned this from my African American friends, you would never go to an a dominant African American church, without them knowing about the school down the street, and knowing about who’s employed who’s not employed, the vocational realities. Yeah, a lot of Anglo dominant churches. We don’t have a clue what’s happening with the church right down the street, nor do we have a grip on what’s happening vocationally. So I think education vocation, third one I’m gonna shock you with, I really believe that this pandemic is going to send floods of Christians into the healthcare world. Oh, interesting. And I think that’s gonna be an amazing fantasy. Quite frankly, one of the visions that I have is I think that in here in our community in Northern California, if we had 100, community health clinics open up on church campuses staffed by licensed people from those churches, we would radically shift the provision of health care, instead of churches being away from the system and complaining about the system. I’d rather we marched right into,

you know, that’s a black church thing, ideas versus a very common things. When I was I preached for James Meeks. Yes. Oh, they got the whole team.

There to me, they’re in carne. That’s why I have so much hope in the in the black church, the Latino church and the Asian church. Second Great Awakening, I felt preached to 10,000 people and started churches, but then he also started schools, right hospitals, orphanages, why do we have any dissonance between the work of evangelism which I’m 100% for, yeah, and the work of manifesting the love care, compassionate region,

I am ready for the altar call that’s up past the offering plate anymore. So that’s true. Let’s rip that up.

No, that’s perfect. And I think that is where the church needs to get reengaged which the church used to be Yeah, involved in all of those and in establishing hospitals and other church event hospitals. So for sure, right. And so, so in many ways, maybe this is the church moving back to where we were back to the future. Yeah, well, cool car

well used to be I do. But you know, what I did earlier in the seminar I did earlier, which he didn’t give me enough time. So I didn’t get to the end of it, is actually I gotta bring you back. That’s well, fair enough. I would love to come back. There are three kind of historic examples. You know, one of them was cyprian. And cyprian was the the Bishop of Carthage, Carthage, Carthage. And you know, the Christians have been persecuted intermittently at the very moment. They weren’t, but they certainly were harassed. And so then the plague of cyprian comes through, which is unfortunately, it’s called the plague of cyprian. It wasn’t his fault. He just described it. Yeah. And he brings the Christians into the town square and says, we’re going to care for people. We’re going to care for others who those who persecuted us, those who arrest us. We’re going to use our own money and resources to do that. And over and over again. And we see this and the kind of the thing I’d love to get to that I didn’t get to today was Julian the apostate. So now that’s an emperor named Julian the apostate his mother didn’t call him Julian. History calls him that because he you know, Christianity we know about, you know, Constantine and well, they go back and forth and there are some Emperor’s are Christian, some are a pagan. So Julian wants to back it up and go back to paganism. So he’s really upset at the Christians and he writes, and he says this in the letter he says, Those in pious Galileans. That’s what he called them, because they didn’t have piety because they didn’t worship the gods. They were atheists. It’s strange, but these in pious galleons, they care not only for their own sick and dead, but for all is all ours, also welcoming them into their yabe. And I think ultimately, that’s going to be key. Now. It’s not the only thing. I think we’re gonna have to advocate for issues and culture. I think we’re gonna have to build institutions like William Jessup and more. But I think ultimately, I want to be known as an pious Galilean, who cared for those around us and showed us the love of Jesus. See how they love one another. Amen.

Come on. Amen. Well, that’s great. Thank you guys so much.

Again, Jessup just saying Okay, yeah, just think thing we just think could still use same in the same vein, yes, for something else. But next time you’re out, you can be back on one day, if I can be welcomed back into California. I’m going to come because my daughter’s interested in the school so we got to come at some point and have a visit where she can check out the school and more the great work folks are doing here at William Jessup. It’s just been neat to see. Thanks for having on the program.

Thank you for listening to Jessup. Think Be sure to follow us on Twitter at Jessup think we would love to hear your thoughts on the episode and engage with any questions you have. Our aim is to provide a framework for further reflection and deeper exploration of these important topics. You can also help the show by leaving a review on iTunes these reviews help the podcast reach new listeners. Until next time, I’m Mark Moore and this is Jessup.

If you’re interested in learning more about Jessup, please visit us at William Jessup is the premier fully accredited four year Christian University in the Sacramento area offering over 60 academic programs in undergraduate and graduate studies designed to see every student equipped and transformed into the leader they are called to be as you go, don’t forget to hit subscribe and share so you never miss an episode. Thanks for joining us for Jessup. Thank you.

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