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A Turning Point

Mark Noll issues a call for reassessment.

Mark Noll, “What Kind of Turning Point?” Comment, Summer 2020.

Mark Noll addresses the difficulty of ascertaining what the future will hold for us beyond the current pandemic. He cites contemporary thinkers and historical precedent to help us in thinking about where we are and where we need to go from here. 

Noll argues that now is a time for “self-examination, self-assessment, self-criticism, and self-redirection.” He is surely correct in this. God has given us this moment in time, not so that we might pine more earnest for the status quo ante, but that we may take the time to reassess everything about how do church and Christianity. The great need, according to Dr. Noll (and I agree) – is to seek “deeper love of God coming together to expression in a purer love to neighbors...” If we can achieve Such a reformation in character, we will be ready for whatever the future may hold.

It’s precisely at this point that the Christian community’s failure to make disciples who love God and their neighbors comes clearly into view. We’ve done many things, and drawn many people into our fold; but we have not made disciples whose widespread dispersion throughout culture and community has salted the world with the love of Christ. At the very least, we must rediscover the spiritual and moral demands of the Gospel, and worker at helping people grow into the likeness of Christ. Dr. Noll insists that “...strengthened character in response to the coronavirus is the best preparation for the future.”

The decisions we as Christians and churches make now will determine the shape of our future: “For better and for worse, the influence that Christian communities my expert on policy decisions depends on character decisions in the present.”

This article is a serious call to reassessment, suggesting very strongly that merely getting back to “normal” should not be our goal. We need to be devoted to equipping the saints of God to bring the love of Christ to bear in their own spheres of influence if we are “to make this hour a turning point toward the good.”

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