Despite working in ministry and urban development for more than 30 years, I am still utterly confused by many modern philosophies, ideologies, and worldviews that draw in Christians and non-Christians. One can spend hours researching a specific topic to discover that they are gaining the information from an unreliable source. Just the other day, I spent hours on google and YouTube studying “Critical Race Theory,” and after all that effort, I was more confused than ever. Even with an earnest desire to uncover what is right, the theory is so complex that I could not make heads or tails of it. Last year I read a book on how to be an anti-racist, and after it, I was unsure if I am of the anti-racist philosophy or merely against racism due to the exposure of many competing worldviews. I proudly declared myself an anti-racist in a public forum last year, only to be condemned by a friend shortly after. How can we define anything or anyone in a world so complex, filled with so many competing ideologies that almost no one truly understands? I follow seemingly countless writers, yet I always find myself returning to the only book and the one God who does not author confusion but defines my faith.
God’s word is not designed to be confusing; it is written as a guide that leads us to the cross by way of His Kingdom path. The narrative of Scripture is nothing but the inspired words of God. He is the teacher and definer of our faith and of the life we live through him. Part of the Gospel’s beauty is its simplicity, and our focus should be applying this “simple Gospel” to our work on the Earth and his coming Kingdom. Entrusting our lives to this Gospel changes and transforms us more than any other thing in this world. I have attended professional counseling that has greatly benefited me and helped me heal. However, it was of no comparison to the transformation and restoration I received by entrusting my soul to the Almighty Counselor. I have read many authors whose writing inspired me, but it never fulfilled me and often left me with questions never to be answered. But, I have followed God’s word and have never been unfulfilled in it or questioned its inspiration. I have had my trust violated in ministry and been hurt by people seeking to make a name or prove a point. Yet, God has never failed me and has always been worthy of my complete trust.
The simplicity of our faith is what has carried me thus far in my journey. I desperately want to know Him, who is the author and finisher of my faith. Every day I spend time reading, writing, praying, and meditating on him and his purpose for my life. I want to know the depth of His love and be guided by the Holy Spirit in all of my actions. Yet, in my many years in pursuit of Christ, he has never once asked me to define and explain “Critical Race Theory.” The Gospel is not like this; it is designed to be known and understood by all. What the Gospel means for my life is that I make His greatness known to the world and that I follow wherever he leads. It means that I have not only a desire but an obligation to show others God’s love for them and tell them how God has shown His love to me. He has a grand plan, and we all have the incredible honor of playing a small part in His story. The fact that the message of the Gospel can be expressed so simply in a children’s song “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so” is so beautiful, so pure, and exactly how God designed it. He wants all of his children to be able to understand his message.
This past week, a group of pastors and I had the privilege to speak with Dr. John Perkins on an online zoom call. Dr. Perkins is now 90 years old and has lived an incredible life marked by service to the Lord. Yet, on this call, he continuously told us to “love each other.” After teaching the Bible for over 60 years, towards the end of his life, he knows it all comes down to this simple truth: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. I am a simple-minded man. I serve a sovereign God, who amid this increasingly complex world is asking me to make disciples, using the simplicity of this Gospel. The simple Gospel guides me every day to love God and follow him all the days of my life. I will listen to his word and obey whatever he leads me to do. At Christian Service Mission, we serve simply because he tells us to love others. In all of our works, we are merely seeking to give glory to God in all we do. God loves you, and we love you too.