Our Present Age Unreachable? Not According to the Gospel!

by Frank Jones


Be we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18)

"So very much is being said in Western Europe and the USA about the change in our culture that some ministers seem to be responding in panic, by altering the message to reach the secularist. Yet when we read the Church Fathers writing in the first four hundred years that the gospel went out, theculture of the ancient Greek and Roman world was every bit as secular as modern Western culture, if not worse. There was paganism, relativism, immorality, unbelief, violence, cruelty and social disintegration then as now. So I do not see our present age as a time for wringing our hands in despair or panicking over what we should do next. … 

What 2 Corinthians 3 is talking about is what won the rotting, collapsing Roman Empire to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the glorious effectiveness of the gospel ministry through imperfect human beings in a culture in which most of the intellectuals rejected the very possibility of absolute truth. But it was the glory of the lives of the Christians that was such a profound argument for who the Lord Jesus is, so that when everything else was falling apart, even the pagans turned to the Christians. One of the Christian writers named Origen wrote a book against paganism entitled Contra Celsum, in which he makes this moving statement:

Everywhere I go, Christ is spoken against by the leaders and what Christ stands for is considered a threat to the government and to the other religions, and yet the glory of Jesus Christ is shining in the lives of ordinary men and women all through this Empire and numbers are every day being converted because they see the glory of Jesus in the flesh and the blood of ordinary men and women.

However secular a situation is, however much the universities or the media say there is no possibility of knowing absolute truth, when you have a Daniel, when you have a Job, when you have just an ordinary Christian walking in the light, walking in the Spirit, loving Christ, faithfully serving God, ministering his truth as best they can, there is a glory that breaks forth. That is the most powerful argument which can break hearts and open doors. It can change everything all around. It is an irresistible power which can change everything … " (Kelly, Douglas F. New Life in the Wasteland: 2 Corinthians on the Cost and Glory of Christian Ministry. Christian Focus, 2003, 58-59.)