Compassion as an apologetic

Not long after the recent bombings in Boston, some asked, “Where is God? How can a loving God allow bad things to happen?” Ironically, it is when such things happen that the light of God shines its brightest. This is how Tim Morey, pastor of Life Covenant Church of Torrance, Ca. begins the last chapter of his book, “Embodying Our Faith.”

When a couple he knew lost their baby—due about the same time as he and his wife’s baby was due—the mother leaned on Morey for hope in God. When Morey first met them, she and her husband had little-to-no interest in God. It was when Morey expressed his church’s outreach ministries to Africa’s diseased and impoverished that the couple became impressed with his church.

“Our ministries of compassion and justice gave them a reason to listen and to begin to entertain the idea that there might be something good about Christianity,” Morey stated. “If our witness is to be plausible in a postmodern world, our faith must be lived out in a way that show God’s compassionate heart. It is not enough for us to talk about God’s love for the world—we have to enact it.”[1]

His church sent the couple meals and cards. They, total strangers, became recipients of the church’s compassion as well.

Morey states that the church’s role in the world is not just evangelism and discipleship, but to also demonstrate God’s love and sense of justice.

“Verbal witness is essential, but in a postmodern society dominated by skepticism and distrust, something more is needed, often before a verbal proclamation is given. Actions precede words. The pragmatic does-this-work spirit of our culture requires that our faith demonstrate its ability to make a difference in the world if it is to be considered at all.”[2]

Morey gives plenty of examples of the way Jesus enacted healing to the sick, the deliverance of the demon-possessed and the hungry fed; as well as the disciples of the early church doing the same. “Jesus’ followers are meant to follow in his steps, trusting that as we serve, people will see God’s heart in our actions and praise our Father in heaven (Mt. 5:13-16).”[3]

The church continued this tradition throughout the ages, but in the 20th century, it lost its vision of servitude as evangelism took precedence. Morey states that service and evangelism should go hand in hand. Not only is this an apologetic to the world, but is also a form of faith formation to the Christian—learning humility, selflessness and generosity—the heart of God.

[1] Tim Morey, Embodying Our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church (Downers Grove: IL, IVP Books), 166.

[2] Ibid. 171.

[3] Ibid. 173.

One thought on “Compassion as an apologetic

  1. Pingback: Truth and grace in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling | A Closer Look

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