Are we peculiar?
While I was down South I saw a higher density of churches than I have ever seen here in the Northeast, which of course comes as no surprise. One of them, as I recall, sported a prominent billboard with the following message: "A Holy God, A Holy Place, and Regular People."
This striking reluctance to apply the descriptor, "holy," to the people of God, a reluctance on proud display, seems to me most sad. The NT writers had no trouble referring to the people of God as set apart, peculiar, and, yes, even holy.
I am reminded of all this as I near the finish of John Bright's wonderful book, The Kingdom of God. This book is powerfully convicting me. Although it was written over 50 years ago, its assessment of the Church seems as appropriate today as ever. On the matter of being "set apart," here's what Bright has to say:
God help the church that so blends into society that there is no longer any difference! Such a church will produce no quality of behavior other than that which society in general produces. It will take on the prejudices of society, and even d emand that its gospel support such prejudices. It will make itself a tool of society whose main business is to protect and to dignify with divine support the best interests of its consitutents. And that is stark tragedy! The end of it is a poverty-stricken church which utters no Word, states no demands, summons to no destiny--but has a host of activities that you would enjoy. And such a church is not the peculiar people of God's Kingdom: it has failed to be the Church and needlessly cumbers the ground.