2018 Theme

Our fallen world has never been friendly to God’s way and God’s will. For some of us, this ever-present truth has become even clearer in recent years. The academy calls Christian morality bigoted. The courts choose the sexual revolution over religious liberty. Hollywood alters a nation’s moral sympathies from one season to the next. And racial animosity continues to rear its ugly head.

How should we respond?

Together for the Gospel 2018 offers this: the culture may call churches to conform, but God calls us to be Holy. Set apart. Sanctified. Distinct.

If we want to make a difference in the culture, we must be distinct. It’s definitional for Christian discipleship. It’s part of the church’s mission. Renouncing the world for the sake of the world. Rejecting sin in order to save sinners.

In other words, it’s not nostalgia that our churches need, or strategies to reclaim the culture, or more political posturing. Nor should we separate ourselves and forsake our neighbors. Instead, we encounter the world with something otherworldly. We respond to cultural chaos with a new culture—a culture of faith, hope, and love; a culture steeped in grace and truth; a culture exulting in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Amidst social change, our focus must fall first upon our churches (1 Peter 4:17). The more our culture opposes God and his people, the more the gospel distinctness of our churches should shine. Opposition sets a backdrop for the display of the glory of God in our lives.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. (Psalm 67:1-2)

Christians respond to ominous cultural change by actually being the church, that the nations might know the way of God.