What Distinguishes a Forerunner from Any Other Christian?

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As representatives of God, every one of us is called to be a forerunner who is willing to publicly share God’s heart for America. Moreover, the message of a forerunner is inextricably linked with our commission from Jesus to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to obey His instructions (Matt. 28:19–20). However, “forerunner” is not a synonym for “Christian.” Not every Christian identifies as a forerunner. What distinguishes a forerunner from other gospel-minded Christians is an awareness of the role that nations play in God’s redemptive plan to draw the hearts of people to Himself and a burden to warn others about God’s judgment upon rebellious nations that push people away from God. A forerunner emphasizes the importance of not only individual righteousness, but also of collective righteousness.

Simply put, a forerunner is a cultural influencer who delivers God’s warning of national judgment with the goal of eliciting a spirit of repentance that will ripple into cultural change among both individuals and their communities. At the heart of this appeal is the transformative power of the gospel. A forerunner hopes for the blessings associated with repentance, but like the prophet Amos, a forerunner also fearlessly warns the rebellious, “Prepare to meet your God in judgment” (Amos 4:12b).

We do not know when this moment may come—only that our holy and just God will not ignore rebellion to His moral instructions indefinitely. For individuals, the forerunner message is a call to honestly evaluate our relationship with God and to repent of any attitudes and habits that interfere with our faithfulness to Him. For communities, the forerunner message is a call to make systemic cultural changes that embrace God’s moral standard.

God has equipped each of us with talents and spiritual gifts, varied passions and interests, and unique experiences. These will inevitably influence the way we choose to lean into the task of warning others and calling them to respond in faith. Some may choose to emphasize the warning stronger than others. There simply is no one-size-fits-all approach to warning. Just as God uses a wide variety of approaches among churches and individuals to share His gospel with a broad array of personalities, so also God uses forerunners of all stripes to communicate His warning message to Americans of all persuasions. Today, God is calling His diverse forerunners to run ahead, in America, to prepare each of these personality types to meet their God.

A gospel presentation without the cross and individual righteousness is not the gospel, and a forerunner message without a warning of national judgment and collective righteousness is not a forerunner message. As we preach the gospel, contrast the culture, and endeavor to influence the way people think about moral matters, we cannot lose sight of the fact that, fundamentally, a forerunner warns. Let us then rise to the challenge—not with a spirit of fear, judgmentalism, or cynicism, but with a spirit that balances our grief over national waywardness with a hope that individuals and nations will, indeed, prepare themselves to meet our holy and just God before He arrives in judgment.

This article comes from Transitioning: A Biblical Understanding of Transgenderism.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.