true witness and success
A most obstinate misconception associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ is that the gospel is welcome in this world. The conviction endemic among churchfolk persists that, if problems of misapprehension and misrepresentation are overcome and the gospel can be heard in its own integrity, the gospel will be found attractive by people, become popular, and, even, be a success of some sort This idea is both curious and ironical because it is bluntly contradicted in Scripture and in the experience of the continuing biblical witness in history from the event of Pentecost unto the present moment (William Stringfellow, quoted in A Keeper of the Word, p. 348). I believe this obstinate misconception is rampant throughout the church today, especially in the west. Measurable success must not be the litmus test for the church s health. I realize that when we resist this misconception, we may be perceived as opening the door for the death-knell to toll over the church. But just because we explain the faith better or become better witnesses to it, it doesn t guarantee success. I also agree that just because we are successful (growing numbers, money, buildings, etc.), it doesn t mean we are being a true biblical witness .