Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 12 No. 9 September 2010
Page 2

Editorial

The Church on Strike!

Louis Rushmore

Organized labor, unionized or otherwise, in various countries sometimes goes on strike! The word “strike” when used in this way means, “to stop work in order to force an employer to comply with demands” (Merriam-Webster). At times, regional or national strikes may be aimed at governments instead of at local employers. It is not our purpose in this article to discuss the merits or demerits of a secular workforce going on strike.

However, do Christians and does the Lord’s church have the right to go on strike against Jesus Christ or God respecting some New Testament, biblical instruction? Right away, anyone purporting to have the least regard for the Word of God would say, “No!” Yet, how many Christians and churches of Christ essentially involve themselves in a work stoppage – go on strike – respecting one or more passages of Scripture that contain unpopular instructions? For instance, do you or the congregation of which you are a member go on strike – work stoppage – when it comes to church discipline (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15)? Are there other passages in the New Testament that you or other Christians routinely refuse the divine instruction contained therein?

Focus with me for a moment on another series of unpopular passages among many Christians and churches of Christ. What do you do with the Great Commission passages (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47)? A work stoppage respecting work instructions amounts to a strike! Who is brazen enough to go on strike against Jesus Christ? Who is dimwitted enough to suppose that negotiations before the Judgment Bar might favor rebellion (Matthew 7:21-23)? We cannot force God to adapt to our way of thinking or doing things by refusing to obey Him (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

Jesus asserted His authority in Matthew 28:18, after which and based on that authority He initially told the apostles to teach and baptize all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Apostolic teaching passed on to all Christians the responsibility to propagate the Christian faith (2 Timothy 2:2, 24), which includes the responsibility to evangelize the world with the Gospel of Christ. Failing to evangelize the world with the Gospel amounts to a work stoppage – going on strike – respecting that divine instruction. Furthermore, the scope of the Great Commission is worldwide (Mark 16:15-16)! Are you or the congregation of which you are a member on strike respecting the worldwide range of the Great Commission?

Christians and the church cannot force anyone to obey the Gospel, and as such, we cannot realistically either take the world for Christ or take a local community for Christ. We, though, can turn our part of the world or as far as our influence can extend itself upside down for Christ (Acts 17:6). Though we are not responsible for conversions, we are responsible for planting and watering (1 Corinthians 3:6) the seed of the kingdom, the Word of God (Luke 8:11).

Sin occurs both when one violates the Word of God (1 John 3:4) and when one fails to do the Word of God (James 4:17). Sin occurs with commission and omission.

Works Cited

Merriam-Webster, I. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1993. CD-ROM. Seattle: Logos Research Systems, 1996.


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