ImageIn one of his Easter sermons, Dr. Robert Schuler, the Pastor of Crystal Cathedral, preached about a railroad worker who had to close a bridge in order for the train to pass by.  However, as he was closing the bridge he saw that his little boy was in the wrong place.  He had two choices – close the bridge, thus killing his little boy, or go and get his boy out and allow the great disaster to happen.  One life versus hundreds. As the train safely passes the bridge, the father shouts: “The safety of your travel was bought with the blood of my little boy!” Robert Schuler masterfully turns this event into the fact that God was not forced, but willingly gave His Son to die in order for us to receive everlasting life.  Jesus died so that we may have life.  Good Friday is good because Jesus died in our place.  The Good News is that Jesus who died on Friday rose on Sunday. The great missionary outreach of the 19th century happened because the universal church took seriously its responsibility to the world. They saw themselves responsible not for the salvation of the world (because Jesus is the only one who can save), but for the proclamation of the gospel so that everyone will hear.  They felt the gospel could be  proclaimed universally in their time. They also believed that God would hold them responsible.  The idea of the responsibility of the chosen people is proclaimed with great force by God to Ezekiel.  “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.  But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.” (Ez. 33:7-9). Paul at the end of his life could declare that he had finished the task entrusted to him to proclaim the gospel: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7) The picture is very different when we look at all of our denominations comprising the universal church.  We have become narcissistic, introverted, and we defend one sin after another.  The newer churches of Africa and Latin and Central America cannot believe how much time the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists in America spend defending homosexual behavior when for them it is clear that it is a sin.  How much energy, how much time, how much talent do we waste at our annual and biennial conventions!   While we spend so much on ourselves, every year we are sending fewer missionaries into the world.  In fact, the increasing number of missionaries come from the poorer countries that see the need to evangelize the world, especially Central and Western Europe who are descending quickly into paganism.   Have we squandered our resources? Whose blood will God ask from our hands in the Day of Judgment?       




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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...