No Contact- No Impact!
It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Having Matthew 5:13-16, "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? described the appropriate lifestyle of disciples in Mt.5:1-12, Jesus now explains that the professing disciples who do not live this lifestyle of the kingdom is worth about as much as tasteless salt or invisible light - nothing.
The typical Western individualistic mind-set views Jesus' reference to salt and light as pertaining to showing forth Jesus from their hearts and letting this "little light of mine shine" out of their lives. However the address is in the second person plural not only because more than one person is being addressed, but because it is the corporate impact of the disciple community, i.e. the Church, as an alternative society, which is here in view. The hill-top town of Mat.5:14 is a symbol not of a conspicuous individual but of the collective impact of the whole community of faith. Modern Western individualism is such that we easily think of the light of the world as a variety of little candles shining “you in your small corner and I in mine,” but it is the collective light of a whole community of believers which draws the attention of the watching world and makes an impact for the extension of the kingdom of God.
However, the popular eschatology of our times, especially in America, is that the Church is basically the useless Body of Christ as far as making any significant impact on culture and creation is concerned.
The following testimony is typical of the no contact and no impact on anything except a person's soul theology: "The reality is that our present creation is moving at breakneck speed toward the rising of the Antichrist and his subsequent placement of the Abomination of Desolation in the soon-to-be-built Third Temple in Jerusalem. In other words, ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE - literally! I have no intention of investing one ounce of my energy into attempting to resurrect this rotting, stinking, leaking corpse of a fallen creation. Instead, I plan to pour ALL of my energy into saving souls OUT of this ever-darkening worldwide shop of horrors. Then, when Jesus returns in power and glory, rolling back the skies like a scroll as he arrives triumphantly with the blast of the seventh trumpet, then those people whom I have hopefully lead to salvation in Jesus Christ, will then be found worthy to rise and meet Him in the air."
In contrast, the following illustrates the impact of contact with a worldview wherein one's faith is viewed as being comprehensive - touching and involving every aspect of life - even though that faith is false and its followers or deceived.
Indonesia has some 17,000 islands with 266,000,000 inhabitants. It is the fourth most populous country on the planet, and has the largest Muslim population of all nations.
Many non-Indonesians are surprised to learn that 87%, or 231.4 million of the Indonesian population claims to be Muslim. In fact, Indonesia has more Muslims than any other nation on earth. The number exceeds the number of Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan combined!
How did it happen that this part of the world, so far from the Middle East, came to have such a large number of Muslims? Michael Baer, in his book, Business As Mission, shared this: "I once asked an Indonesian Christian why the country had become so predominantly Muslim...She said that when the Western Christians came, primarily from Holland, they built missionary compounds and missionary churches and expected the Indonesian people to come to them. The Muslims, on the other hand, came as traders, farmers, merchants, and businesspeople and simply lived among the natives."
The significance of this answer cannot be overstated.
Dr. Darrell Furgason, an expert on Islam, has said: "In places like Africa and Indonesia, the church has been intellectually crippled, with one hand tied behind its back. Western missionaries generally brought the Gospel in the way they learned it, as a purely soul-saving faith, with no real bearing on anything else - religion was a mostly personal matter, nothing to do with things like politics, science, law, economics...African people were given the Gospel, but not how to build a righteous nation, how to apply Christianity to everything ...Muslims see their faith as all-encompassing..."
Salt is no use as long as it stays in the salt-cellar. Light is no use under a bowl. It is the town conspicuously sited on the hill which people notice. It is the salt out of the shaker in contact with the world around it that makes a difference. The outcome of distinctive discipleship is intended to be that other people will notice and, though sometimes they may respond with cynicism and persecution, ultimately the light will have its effect and they will recognize and acknowledge the goodness of the God who is its source. Also everything that salt touches and light penetrates in a culture will be impacted.
Because most Christians have reduced the "Gospel" to that of "Jesus living in my heart and taking me to heaven when I die", we have withdrawn into our "Salt-shakers" and Lighting galleries" called church buildings and have no contact and no impact on our culture or creation.
The Gospel includes, but is far more than personal salvation. The Bible speaks of the Gospel of the Kingdom. And guess what? The Kingdom of God is larger than human souls and is presently available and powerfully operative in the community of faith where it is announced as Now and Not Yet - but not just Then - in the sweet by an by. It is all-encompassing, and that's Good News!
The Sacred-Secular Divide, SSD, is not part of the Muslim mindset. Yet, regrettably, it is a big part of the thinking of millions of Christians.
Reducing the Gospel to a matter of personal salvation has been done to the detriment of many nations, not the least of which is the United States, where we are now experiencing the painful outcomes.
We have brought it upon ourselves.
No Contact - No Impact!