Yesterday, I posted on two passions I have at once: the small church and the Civil War. I wondered if I was stretching things a bit by putting these two items together, but I do not think so now. Both the Union and Confederate side of this war can teach us much about the different factions that may be in the church.
First, take a look at the Union side. The Union, being the more industrialized portion of the country at that time, use the new technology and methods at their disposal. Railroads to send supplies and soldiers to certain battles quickly, telegraphs to convey information to various outlets quickly, factories to build munitions and ships and guns quickly—all were being used to a greater degree than were in the South. In the South, technology was far more limited, which gave them a far more limited ability to communicate.
Next, take a look at the Confederate side. Whereas the Union looked ahead to innovate, the Confederacy looked back and sought in their Cause to maintain what they felt was a far superior life to the Union. That superior notion to what always had been actually worked to their detriment. While the Confederacy (at least at the beginning) had far better war tacticians and strategists on their side and kept the Union at bay at best and running for their collective lives at worst—they were able to stem the tide of the war, even when they would be outnumbered at every point.
Smaller churches may find themselves unwilling to move forward in the warfare to which God has called them. Methods will change, and we must find ourselves willing to take advantage of particular methods that may change as this culture changes, without compromising the non-negotiables of Scripture, Trinity, Christ’s atoning work, the church, and that Christ will return. God has shown us in His Word what those non-negotiables are (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37), but we must be willing to move ahead with the tools before us, rather than clinging to hard to a time and a way of life gone by.
(Tomorrow: Lessons from Reconstruction and the Attitude of Change.)