We were looking at Acts 10 this past Sunday. The two big questions we opened with were these: (1) Who do we expect to be saved in the church? (2) How do we expect those who are saved to behave once they join the church?
It is my view that those two question essentially determine the kind of culture that will dominate our church. If we believe only certain kinds of people will be saved, or we expect people to become certain kinds of people once they’re saved, the kind of people we expect everyone to be will inevitably become those who dominate our church culture.
Much of the time, we talk a good game of the gospel being free for all. We happily talk about the possibility of saving faith for everyone. But so often, when we see people coming to faith, we very quickly expect them to start acting and behaving just like us. It either means we believe we have attained gospel-centred cultural perfection or we reckon that our culture happens to be the only one sanctified by God. In either case, we are to lead people toward gospel values and it is funny how many churches find gospel values align readily with their dominant ethnic and class values (which, in the majority of Evangelical churches, is white and middle class).