In the city and for the city...
(Tim) Churches mired in the conceit of being urban and cosmopolitan speak frequently of being "in the city" and "for the city." Leaving aside "in the city," what does it mean to be "for the city?"
There's no one better to take that question to than our early church father, Augustine. As Rome fell, Augustine wrote his magisterial City of God. It was a voice from the City of God to the City of Man--which at that time was the City of Rome. To Augustine, being for the city didn't consist of taking in a play, hanging at the local pub, or hiring Indie musicians to lead worship. He'd been down that road quite a ways prior to his conversion and he was younger than that now.
Instead, Augustine wrote against these things--relentlessly and as an insider. He'd spent his entirely dissipated youth...
drowning in Vanity Fair and knew its wickedness.
Augustine loved the city enough to judge it and call it to repentance. This is precisely what our current crop of self-proclaimed Vanity Fair evangelists refuses to do. They love playing footsie with the decadence, and so they connive at, and accommodate, the very spirit of the age whose condemnation would have led to many repenting and fleeing to the Cross. How shameful. How tragic. How devoid of Christian love and compassion. How utterly false.
God give us men in the pulpit who love the city as Augustine and Schaeffer and Edwards and Lloyd-Jones and Newton and John the Baptist and Jeremiah and our Lord loved her, demanding she produce fruit in keeping with repentance.