Monday, February 20, 2006

The Balance of Doctrine and Social Engagement

In the last century, there always seems to be a tension between doctrinal commitment (right thinking) and social engagement (right living). In the early 20th century, there was the battle between fundamentalism (more doctrine concerned) and liberalism/modernism (more societal concerned), and then in the mid 20th century, there was the separation of the fundamentalist and evangelicals/neo-evangelicals, who were concerned about the fundamentalist’s separatism from social engagement (1). And more recently, there’s the Emerging Church Movement, in which, their passion and zeal for missions and outreach appears to have left doctrinal (propositional) truth behind (2).

In light of these historical patterns, I believe this is a reminder for FPC to seek a balance in our church. We need and should have a lifestyle that always seeks to understand truth (propositional) about God and all of his revelations in the Bible, because if we don’t, at the most basic-level we won’t have a message or a gospel to bring to people (1 John 5:12). But we shouldn’t just stop there, we also need to have a lifestyle that engages our society/community with love and compassion through the gospel message, especially to other Christians and the poor, because if we don’t, we will fail to be the type of Christians that God intended for us to be (1 John 3:16-18).

Recently, I have been excited about our current sermon study of the gospel of Mark and our pastoral version of “Preparing to Sharing”, because I think both these things carrying out the balance of doctrine (preparing) and societal engagement (sharing). Obviously, there’s still a lot of work in order to create a church lifestyle of doctrinal commitment and social engagement, but I am encouraged to see FPC moving in the right direction.

Lastly, I want to encourage all FPC members to attend Pastor John’s or Pastor Kho’s confessional classes held in March, regardless if you have been confirmed or not, so that we can continue to grow together in Christ through biblical truths, thus increasing our joy in Christ and increasing our knowledge of the gospel message, for which we are commanded to bring to the world. Also, if you have a desire to each the poor or to our existing and surrounding community through the gospel and would like to share your thoughts on exactly how to do so, please talk to Pastor John or Mike because they would love to hear your thoughts.


(1) From

(2) See Dr. (Scot) McKnight’s article, “The Future of Fad? A Look at the Emerging Church Movement.

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