Tuesday, May 09, 2006

4000, 3000, 5000 and God's view of #'s

I'm encouraged to see that this week will likely push Solus Christus beyond 4000 hits. It's prompted some thinking on a biblical view of stats. (Scroll down on the right sidebar to see the statcounter. I'm helped to know that 4000 total hits is still an infinitesimal number of hits according to most blogosphere standards. There are more blogs started each day than hits we've received in ten months! Slow down big fella lest the head swell!)

Additionally, the numbers are a bit misleading. I've probably accounted for 10% of the hits myself due to posting (and correcting typo-filled posts!).

Nonetheless, there have been a fair number of new hits over the past two months (about 2000 hits). So, we sense a growing awareness that Solus Christus is serving a small portion of Christ's Kingdom. To that end, we are humbled and thank the Lord.

Numbers are tricky. I can hear the church growth guru's standing over my shoulder shouting, "God's interested in numbers, just read the book of Acts." Ok. I have. I agree. Stop shouting.

The tricky part about numbers is that they can quickly begin to trump their proper importance. Do you think that Acts 2:41 would have been less significant if the Lord only added 2000 souls to the Church that day? Or would have been more significant if He had added 6000 that day? I think the numbers in Acts are vitally important. (Check out the 5000 in Acts 4:4, and the continued numerical growth in Acts 6:7; 9:31; 11:21; and 16:5).

My point is that numbers should be in their proper place when evaluating "ministry success." Was Jeremiah sucessful? One convert through a lifetime of ministry? Noah? 120 years and only seven converts to show for it? I'm inclined to agree with Paris Reidhead who said in his must hear sermon - Ten Shekels and Shirt - something to the effect of, "It's likely that most modern mission boards would have terminated Jeremiah's support or tried to send him to a 'more productive' field of service."

Maybe we'll show some real biblical success over the next two months by having 2000 fewer hits?

If you've been encouraged to seek the Lord as a result of Solus Christus, we praise Him. Thanks for stopping by. And may the Lord add "hits" according to His wise prerogative - and in such a way that He will be glorified, Christ will be treasured, and His eternal joy will be spread!

Solus Christus!


Pastor Cody said...


I have listened to Ten Shekels numerous times. I have used many of Reidhead's thoughts in sermons and writings.

2 Peter 2:5, however, is the only reference I can find that comes close to saying Noah was a preacher. It reads he was a "herald of righteousness". Where am I missing that Noah was a preacher who was supposed to be seeking converts?


Jordan said...

Pastor Cody,

Good question. My understanding of "herald of righteousness" - II Peter 2:5 - is that Noah was commissioned to uphold and display the glory of God (By the way, NASB translates "kayruka" as "Preacher," not "herald" - which is the most common translation of that Greek word. That particular form of "kayrux" is used three times in the NT, and the ESV, which I assume you are using, translates it as "preacher" in both of the other two instances - see I Tim 2:7; II Tim. 1:11).

That, I think, is what it means that God is righteous. He protects and promotes His own glorious Self. So to say that Noah was a "preacher of righteousness," in my estimation, means that he "imitated God" who shines and shares His infinite glory.

However, even if Noah wasn't a "preacher" per se, he was nonetheless a receipient of God's righteousness by faith (i.e., Hebrews 11:7), and therefore, in my estimation, was under the universal obligation to "spread eternal joy." So, the breakdown in numerical stats, on Noah and Jeremiah's part, was not the absence of the message preached, but the "blinded minds of the unbelieving." Otherwise, I'm inclined to believe we would have heard more about their disobedience to speak the truth - something God has never minced words about. Quite to the contrary, we have the longest book of the Bible (Jeremiah - by word count) as a strong depiction of his message, and I deduce, the same could be said for Noah. We just don't have the record of Noah's interesting, and probably very amuzing on occasion, YHWH-conversations.

Now, was Noah called to be an evangelist? I don't know. It could very well be the case that his arc-building enterprise was a "tract" in and of itself. I would find it difficult to believe that no one asked any questions about the odd "floating" structure. After all, what was it supposed to float on? And, when they did ask, I would find it even more difficult to believe that Noah replied, "Sorry, I'm sworn to secrecy."

So, yes, I believe he was called to preach - in a sense. However, I'm inclined to view Noah's ministry more for "filling up wrath" than effecting mass conversions (see again, Hebrews 11:7, which teaches that Noah condemned the world through the construction of the arc). Haven't heard that one recently in a missions talk?

My aim in alluding to Reidhead was to highlight that one can reliably document (viz., The Bible) that God is sometimes pleased to NOT increase numbers. Go figure?


PS - It was great to hang out with you in Louisville!