Lesson 2: When identity with Christ creates social tension, higher commitment is required.
In a climate of moderate or even serious persecution, the social tension caused by identifying with Christ chases off people who have a low commitment to Him. However, the group remaining will be composed of people with a higher commitment than previously. This purified community of Christians demonstrating love, forgiveness, truth and hope, creates an even greater contrast to the surrounding community thereby attracting new adherents.
There is a counterintuitive lesson here. Often church leaders are tempted to lower this tension by compromising biblical standards. Instead of people joining the church because of lessened social tension, potential church members calculate that if no difference exists between being a member of the church or not, why bother joining at all? The result is not that more people join, but that they stay away. This is a helpful message for our mainline church friends to consider.
I’ll post the other lessons soon.
Let me know if you have a correction or comment!