The late great John Stott was asked: “What are the top three needs of the church today?” Here is Stott’s prophetic three-fold response:
The church’s most basic need is to remember what kind of community it is, and in particular its double identity. For God calls his people out of the world to belong to him and sends them back into the world to serve and to witness. The first calling is to ‘holiness’ and the second to ‘worldliness,’ using the word as the opposite of ‘other worldliness,’ and meaning ‘involved in the life of the world.’ So the church is called to ‘holy worldliness’, for this is its double identity. It needs constantly to ensure that neither identity smothers the other.
The church’s second need is to be what it claims to be, and so to allow no dichotomy or conflict between its profession and its practice. Without this the church lacks authenticity and so credibility.
In response to the challenge of pluralism, the church needs to be faithful in defending and proclaiming the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ. If it does so, it will certainly suffer for its faithfulness. If we compromised less, we would undoubtedly suffer more.