back to Questions Readers Asked
John asked, "How can we get back to restoring New Testament Christianity in our life time?" That's like asking how we can preach the gospel to the whole world in our lifetime. Itís a definite objective but the question maybe suggests that itís one that can be accomplished, done and dusted.
When I was young I worked in the shipyard along with the riveters but I used to watch the painters and red-leaders painting the gantries and then, later, the two huge dry-dock cranes. By the time they got to the end of the job it was time to begin again at the beginning because the weather, the salt in the air and the hosts of birds worked their destructive work on the paint. So it is with restoring New Testament Christianity or getting the gospel to the whole world in our generation. As we speak people are dying and being born so the process must begin over again since generations are being born and passing away.
But of this Iím sure, we need to have some clear sense of what restoring "New Testament Christianity" or preaching "the gospel" is. We need to "get it right" before we "get it out". We need to know what we want to restore or preach or we wonít recognize that weíve done it if and when weíve done it.
I donít think we can get the gospel to every person in our lifetime, even within the limits of what Iíve mentioned above; but then I donít believe we were ever given such a responsibility. Matthew 28:18-19, for example, says nothing about "completing" anything within a lifetime. Matthew 28:18-19 does commission the Church to get on with the job, ceaselessly. It gives us no reason to get involved in the numbers game. We have no reason to be pessimistic or to feel overwhelmed with a job thatís beyond us. Weíre called to believe the truth and commit ourselves in trust to the Christ and go tell the world about him (Matthew 28:18-19). If we each get on with it, contributing as part of the New Covenant Church, weíre doing what weíve been called to do. Maybe thatís enough to get on with.