I recently had a friend ask me a question about a verse in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul will have passages where every verse seems to have different possible interpretations and where they can seem impossibly difficult. As I was researching this complicated passage, I couldn’t help but think “The Old Testament is so much simpler!”
In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, the Apostle Paul talks about being “all things to all people.” In the rest of the passage, he talks about different groups with whom he demonstrates this. While that passage is not an exhaustive guide to ministry, it provides significant insights into how to reach people for Jesus.
Based on studying this passage, and thinking of this in the ministry context of the Bible, I have five reflections over the past few weeks on what it is to be “all things to all people.”
“If Christ is risen – then nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen – then nothing else matters.”
On this Easter Sunday, we celebrate the most important event in human history. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I’m struck by the profundity of Pelikan’s quote. Because the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is either the most important event in human history or it is utterly meaningless. There is no middle ground, no gray area with the resurrection. It happened. Or it didn’t. Jesus died and rose, or he didn’t.
Originally posted April 6, 2012
Statistically, we know that the vast majority of Americans believe in some form of a higher power. There are relatively few who are atheists. Since people do believe that there is something, and since it’s so easy to think of the majority of Americans as Christians, many simply attach themselves to Christianity.
But what does it mean? Christianity?
For so many, we call ourselves Christians but then never pray, or read the Bible, or go to church, or experience fellowship with other believers, or show any actual desire to have a relationship with Jesus. Without these, how can a person be Christian?