Regional President & District Executive Minister, Converge MidAtlantic
This week we celebrate one of the great spiritual leaders of our history. As a devotional on Monday, I listened to Dr. King’s message “Paul’s Letter to American Churches” on YouTube. He preached this sermon several times in the late 1950s. One occasion was at the Minnesota Pastors Conference in January 1957. Several Converge pastors may have been in attendance that day. In the sermon, Dr. King takes themes from several of Paul’s letters in the New Testament, and he delivers them as if the Apostle were writing to American Christians. I think there is much that can be learned from this message. It is incredibly relevant for today. Here are just four of my takeaways.
Americans have led the way in the advancement of science, medicine, technology, and business, but we haven’t advanced nearly as far spiritually and morally. Dr. Kings quotes Jesus, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul?” We should seek to bring our moral advances beyond the level of our material achievements.
Every Christian has a basic responsibility to live as a Christian in an unchristian world. Dr. King uses the word “Christian” meaning someone who truly seeks to follow Jesus. Instead, many American Christians pattern their lives around cultural, materialistic, political, and social standards. Dr. King quotes the Apostle Paul, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
In the body of Christ there should be no disunity and division. Dr. Kings said, “I’m concerned about any church that refuses to cooperate with other churches with the pretense that it is the only true church.” I think Dr. King would lament the infighting and separating among churches today. Instead, we should seek unity in diversity as described in the Bible. Paul wrote, “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
Finally, we must always embrace God’s amazing grace. In our efforts to reach a higher standard for ourselves and our communities, we will often fail. Dr. King reminds us that God is gracious, compassionate, and abounding in love. He offers us forgiveness and renewed strength, especially whenever we stand for truth and justice. In the recording, Dr. King prays at the end, “Help us to realize at all times the relevance of the Gospel.”
It is good for us not only to remember Dr. King’s legacy but also listen to his teaching.
Brian Weber, Regional President & District Executive Minister, Converge MidAtlantic
Brian served as a pastor in the Converge MidAtlantic district for more than 15 years. Originally from the Philadelphia area, he mobilized efforts to start new churches in the Greater Delaware Valley and to send missionaries around the world. Brian is a graduate of Wheaton College and earned his Master of Divinity degree at Bethel Seminary of the East. Before his appointment as district executive minister in 2018, Brian worked for three years with Compassion International.