Should Christians worry about overpopulation?

Monday Musings for March 14, 2022

Good Morning, Musers,

What does it mean for Christians to be salt and light? (Matthew 5:13-15). That is, what does it mean for us evangelical Christians — we who stand on our heads emphasizing to anyone within earshot that good works will not get them into heaven — to be told that we must do good works nonetheless. But not just do them; be known for them. This is the salt and light phenomenon.

Look also at 1 Peter 3:15 where Peter assumes that we are hopeful people... and that we should be ready to give others a reason why this is true of us. Both Jesus’ and Peter’s teachings set us squarely on the hook: we must be winsome and ready. But this is a far cry from many soul-winning algorithms where we go knocking on peoples’ doors and pray we remember what we learned at the last share-the-gospel-or-else-they’ll-go-to-hell workshop.

The thing is, God is not a methodology snob. We are. All of God’s revelations testify to this. Therefore, we should keep our heads down, prayerfully assess the work that is in front of us and do that work. This is how the kingdom progresses. We are the leaven in the loaf (Matthew 13:33).

Now, I am not against soul-winning strategies or algorithms per se. In fact, the first “official” ministry I participated in involved us (sort of) sneaking into liberal churches under the guise of working with their youth and providing music. Then we would do a bait and switch. We would steer at least one event into a soul-winning moment. Although we “fell” into that method initially, in the end, we propagated it… and thousands of people came to Christ because we executed that algorithm.

But even in those days, I lived a normal life. I was a bi-vocational minister... working as a communications technician… being salt and light. I lead a normal secular life, but I was — and I wasn’t — a secular person. People knew on some level that I was a Christian, but mostly they knew that I gave money to worthy causes, loved my wife, raised our children to honorable adulthood… normal stuff. But normal stuff counts. In fact, your normal stuff is the only bible many people will read.

Now, part of your normal stuff might include improving the human condition in ways that are not overtly religious like caring for the planet. In that venue, population growth is a legitimate concern.

The way I see this, where people serve the world, they serve the kingdom of God. I’m not talking about serving the world’s systems... even though they are intertwined. I’m talking about being a regular person who happens to be a Christian who is doing good things... like running for City Council, organizing a food pantry, advocating for clean water or human rights around the world.

These works are not always overtly Christian. Nevertheless, they grow the kingdom of God. Do not look down your nose at “secular” good just because it is secular. Nothing in our biosphere occurs in a vacuum… and our omniscient God uses everything optimally to advance his kingdom.

 

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