I heard a sermon today urging us to be bold like Peter and the early church.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
But the preacher didn’t seem aware of the problems with boldness. Being bold in the wrong way about the wrong things is surely one of the ways evangelicals have gone most wrong. Is it really boldness the church is lacking today?
As much as the Bible calls us to boldness and courage, it calls us to meekness and gentleness. Paul seemed to be always holding the two sides in tension in his ministry and teachings, and so did Jesus.
The call to boldness has to come with the call to gentleness – and we need to have conversations and discernment about when to be each. Send out a typical congregation with the command to ‘be bold’, and the results might be unfortunate. (To be fair, this sermon was the first in a series – the content and meaning of boldness might come later.)
We were offered three pictures of boldness at the start – Braveheart, Gladiator, and the unarmed man standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square. I wonder which of these pictures of boldness will be foremost in congregants’ understanding?