In the decades following Christ’s Ascension, the primary means of spreading the gospel message was missionaries who preached in public places. In some towns that meant going to the local synagogue, because it was assumed that this was a pre-existing witness in the community. In other places where there was no such witness, it meant preaching in the town square, where virtually all news and information was shared. It didn’t much matter the source; government, salesmen, religious figures — everyone used that means.
Fast forward to our times. We are in a transition in some ways, with no single focal point for news and information. It’s a complex situation where virtually all sources of information that people actually use are controlled by various commercial gatekeepers. Preaching in the town square has been relegated in our culture to things one ought to ignore because it’s almost surely a huckster or crank.
And the idea of going to the current religious houses to share our message is downright dangerous, in the sense that, while some might be initially polite, the entire institutional structure is more resistant to new ideas than even the synagogues of the first century. They are deeply invested in a means of control and delivery, so you have to approach them from within their own channels, which is where the message is most likely to be squelched.
If you’ve read the Radix Fidem covenant, you probably know just how radically different it is from the mainstream religions of our day. And the only way any of the media gatekeepers would talk to us is if we did something newsworthy, which is typically bad news for our message. How would we gain a hearing? How would we propose to establish a mission to the world around us, much less to any exotic places different from our own? Sure, it’s possible that the Lord will in some individual cases break through those barriers, but such is the exception, not the standard.
For most of us, gaining a hearing is one-on-one. We have to establish that our faith and religion have the power to bring peace with God and all the blessings that come with that. We have to demonstrate those blessings. We have to establish a rather noticeable shalom that speaks to however many are seeking for their own peace with God.
In most cases, that sort of demonstration is something that arises alongside some other ostensible activity that most humans pursue. And it works best if that ostensible activity forces those other people to spend time with you engaging something demanding on our human resources. As long as everyone gathers in one place to quietly pursue their own jobs with little interaction, it’s pretty hard to demonstrate what makes us different. Most of our mission activity will arise in situations where the interaction tends to be fairly intense.
That’s because our real message to this age is not that God’s peace means no tension. Quite the opposite; our religion declares that tension is unavoidable. Friction between humans is the norm. This is what we are counting on as the necessary plowing of the field before planting gospel seeds. The key is not the lack of tension, but how tension is handled. A genuine peace with God means a readiness for human differences. The genius of true faith in a fallen world is not getting too tightly wound into this world and it’s sorrows. That’s what makes it a mission: We are there for some reason other than the ostensible one. We are infiltrators. While determined to be an asset and blessing to those running the show, our primary purpose is otherworldly.
What we are looking for is provocation. We want people to manifest a hunger for divine revelation. It really is up to them; we aren’t selling anything. And there is no way we can be sure they are drawn by the Spirit or by something lesser. You may be able to discern the difference between genuine seeking and someone just looking for an escape from sorrow, but that may be how they come to the place where God can speak to them. So we give folks room to play along without any genuine sense of conviction and commitment. And the best way to do that is to keep in mind that what we offer ostensibly is Biblical Law. The mystical truth behind that Law is not something we can easily explain in the first place.
We can explain the heart-led consciousness up to a point, and if that’s all we can offer them, it’s way more than they had before. It’s a prerequisite for genuine faith in the first place. But talking about it is not the sole gateway. Sometimes folks need to experience just how impossible Biblical Law is without it. With each individual, you’ll have to discern what they need first. Don’t doubt that the Lord can guide you that way; that’s routine with Him. Your heart knows.
This is part of what I’m doing when I talk about how to envision a genuine faith life. We aren’t selling Radix Fidem; that’s just how we go about it. It’s our chosen identity. What we want to offer is a path for folks to find their own peace with God. We know that it requires heart-led consciousness and some grasp of biblical understanding to give shape to the wordless urging of the Spirit in the heart. Indeed, it’s quite possible that folks will pass through Radix Fidem on the way to something else. Never begrudge someone for that. But this is our vision and it’s how God uses us in participation with His revelation.