Are you ready?
Yes, we are!
Are you sure?
Yes, we are!
Do you have all that you need to get the job done?
Yes, we do!
That’s good, because we are about to open the gates and let you try and win some. Remember that our motto is To Win, To Save, To Protect. You are to win some, run back to the fortress, give the appropriate password and you and the new recruit will be let back into the keep. Under no circumstances are you allowed to linger out there in the world because you just might get polluted.
Don’t forget the five Rs.
Reach, Rescue, Run, Return and Remnant. Reach a lost soul, Rescue them from the life on the outside, a society that is drowning in their sin, grab their hand and Run immediately from their community and finally Return to us so that we all can remain the Remnant.
Does this sound vaguely familiar? Does this sound like the church you sit in every Sabbath? Is it possible that somehow growing up in this faith we have adopted this model of Christianity called the Fortress Model. Last Sabbath, I was sitting in church, surrounded by people who dress just like me, eat like me, pray like me and mercy even listen to the same music I do, and one of our pastor’s describe us all, the average Seventh-day Adventist church, as a light on a hill that serves a beacon to the community while living in this Fortress and I’m stunned.
Is this really us?
Is this really me?
Jon Paulien in his book entitled the Everlasting Gospel, Ever-Changing World sears the image into my mind with such vivid imagery “Every so often the inhabitants of such a fortress city may send out the army, snatch up a few captives, and bring them back in through the gate, slamming it tight behind them. Souls are won but not at the expense of those who remained inside the city. That is the fortress model of ministry. Evangelism occurs, but most of the members of the fortress are not required to have constant contact with “outsiders”.”
So Kemi, what’s the alternative?
There is a second model, if you are familiar with Matthew 5:13-16 you know that there is a light on a hill and also the salt. Paulien later goes on, in his book to describe the Salt Ministry as one which “mingles with the food and blends in with it. It becomes part of the crowd, so to speak… The salt has an effect upon the whole. It is a quiet ministry, an infiltration ministry. It changes the wolrd one bite at a time.”
Now at this point, I have to mention that not everyone is called to Salt, it is a calling and you have to be spiritually grounded and strong to take on this task of mingling in the world but not becoming of it. This is where I lost it. WHAT IN THE WORLD!!!! What is this, shouldn’t we all be spiritually strong, why do we sit and aid and abet the devil by telling people it’s okay to sit on the hill and be a light but not evangelize and mingle with the world because they are weak yet we fail to provide them with the conditions to make them grow. I mean should we all have this burning desire to reach a fallen world?
Whew! So as I sit in church, and I am presented with the merits of both models I try and wrap my head around the division. Why do we need to have two models, why can’t the Fortress be the Salt that affects the community and what good is a Fortress to its inhabitants if it prevents them from truly fulfilling the Gospel Commission which as I recall calls us to Go Ye Therefore….
What does it say about us, our church, the Seventh Day Adventist church, if the majority of our members need to be kept behind walls, in our little exclusive communities in order to preserve our Christianity, how in the world do we grow spiritually if our only means of evangelism is our quarterly excursion outside of the Fortress?
I mean can you be salt in a fortress, or does the salt have to leave the fortress in order to remain salty?
Or does the fortress kick the salt out because the salt wants to leave the door open?
So as the fortress does it mean that I can now justify my whole adventist exclusive community that is my entire friend’s list?
Or is it a voluntary separation?
Okay one more question and then I’ll stop.
Are you salt or are you fortress, or are you striving to be a salty fortress?