Matthew R. Perry

Should I Not Pity That Great City?

In Church Life, Culture, Missions on June 4, 2007 at 8:39 am

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, has blogged about “The Great Challenge of the Cities: ‘The World Goes to Town.'”  He reflects on a recent article by The Economist, which he describes as “one of the world’s great news organizations, publishes several major
survey reports each year — and each is priority reading for the
world’s leaders.”  (Click here to read Dr. Mohler’s article.)

Whenever I think of the city (outside of the city in which I live — Lexington, KY) I think of the book of Jonah.  Jonah avoided Nineveh, which God called “that great city” (1:2, 3:1, 4:11) because of it’s immense population.  Randy Newman in his book Questioning Evangelism equates the Ninevites and their gruesome atrocities to current day Al Qaeda and their atrocities.  Put in this light, we can understand why Jonah had a staunch hatred for these people.   Yet God exhibited compassion has he “relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them” (Jonah 3:10). 

Our cities in the United States are by and large liberal hotbeds.  Usually, they vote to the left toward being pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, pro-evolution — issues that the Bible seems quite clear on.  So many of us who live in the heartland of America who hold to “traditional values” (whatever they may be) have a genuine distrust for the things the city produces.  For many, the cities seem to be on a fast-track away from the authority of God’s Word.

How will we react?  Will we be like Jonah sitting east of the city where we make a grandstand and just wait for the city’s demise?  Or will we be like God and “pity … that great city” (Jonah 4:11) where so many reside outside of God’s camp? 

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  1. We must avoid creating enemies of those whom we need to present the Gospel.

    We need to avoid presenting the Gospel as a “moral” Gospel.

    We need to be careful not to confuse the “City of God” with the City of Man.

    If we take an honest look at ourselves, we would realize that while we may feel like we are no longer sinners, as believers should gain an even greater sense of our need the longer we are in Christ.

    While Nineveh exhibits its sins externally, many of hide ours in the deep recesses of our heart.

    We are so needy for the Gospel every single day…knowing this should put in us pity and mourning for those inhabitants of Nineveh.

    Great post, Brother Perry!

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