Re-examining Our Faith for the Sake of New Believers
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Coming to faith is not an easy thing for those who have not grown up in the church, because there are so many cultural accretions that have been added to the gospel that doesn’t make much sense to those who enter our communities from the outside world. It can be extremely confusing for our friendly neighbourhood pagan who comes to faith and is then confronted with a Christian culture, with its hopes and expectations, which look and feel so different from that which attracted him or her to Christ in the first place. Our lists of taboos, don’t do this and don’t do that or do this and do that, appear to be so incongruous with the Jesus they read about in the Gospels, and who drew them in to himself. Suddenly they are overwhelmed by the weight of expectation placed upon them by the community to which they now so precariously belong.
So how do we welcome new believers into the community of faith and encourage them in the Easter faith they have so recently experienced and embraced? This is no easy question to answer for a church that has been confined by the limitations of Christendom for over a thousand years. Our desire to understand and respond to this question must entail a journey, whereby we reassess the very nature of the gospel and the faith it produces in both the life of the individuals, who embrace it, and the community to which they belong. We must be prepared to dig deep into the cultures of our faith communities and seek to determine that which must be retained and what may be left-behind. This journey must be taken, if we are to live out our faith in such a way that it is welcoming to new believers, helpful to their spiritual growth and meaningful to the world they inhabit. Yet we must do this without compromising the very essence of the gospel or what it truly means to be the people of God.