What does the Bible say our responsibility is in light of large scale geo-political events? As a pastor, do you have any insight in how to shepherd members of my congregation through this issue?
Most Christians would agree that the Old Covenant mediated by Moses at Mt. Sinai is different than the New Covenant mediated by Jesus through His death at Calvary. That requires a minimum of two divine administrations or dispensations. And if we assume that the eternal state is different from the present church age, we can postulate a third dispensation. If there is a difference between the eternal state and the Messianic Kingdom, then we have a fourth dispensation. One doesn’t have to embrace the full seven dispensations of the Scofield Study Notes to be a “Dispensationalist.”
As a legacy of the Soviet Union, many Central Asian Muslim peoples spoke and read Russian as their first language. If you gave them Scripture in their national language, they would accept it, but they couldn’t read it. But if you offered the Bible in Russian, which they could read, they would refuse it, because in the popular mind, the “Bibliya” is a Holy Book only for Russian people. How could we reach this Russian-speaking Muslim population, estimated at over 26 million people?
In appealing to the testimony of Scripture, Christians have largely agreed that there is no more foundational statement regarding the Bible’s ontological identity than this: Holy Scripture is the Word of God (Sacra Scriptura est Verbum Dei). This correlation is commonly referred to as the ‘Scripture Principle’. It is, in fact, this principle that undergirds the above conviction that Scripture is the primary theological source.
Contextualization is not optional. Hear me, working to contextualize what you’re doing is not just mere pragmatism – “how to get stuff done” and “be more effective” (though those things are important). It is about loving people. A church that does not seek to contextualize itself, its ministries, the gospel message, and every other avenue of communication inevitably creates more barriers than bridges for the advancement of the gospel in our communities.