Culture of Liberation

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear Family and Friends,

You may recall seeing the Support/Challenge Matrix in some of our publications. This diagram effectively demonstrates ways of being and operating that create a cultural pattern for a person or organization.

I was recently challenged to define what I mean by a culture of liberation. Is the concept biblical? Does it fit with our Incarnational Trinitarian Theology? The short answer is yes, it is biblical, and it fits with our theology. Further, it describes the emerging culture of GCI.

One of the greatest gifts Jesus gave us is freedom. Luke tells us Jesus has set us captives free (Luke 4:14-21). He is the one who has freed us from the dominance of legalism and the culture of fear and manipulation. He is the one, through the power of the Spirit, who has filled us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He is the one who moves out of the culture of apathy. He joins us to the purpose of the Father in pointing us to the eternal kingdom and away from the culture of self-centeredness and entitlement.

And yet we are called to participate. To do so, we must come out of the prison cells of our old self and our old surroundings and embrace the freshness of life in him. We are free because of him and through him. He is the one establishing the culture of empowerment and opportunity in us. It is his good pleasure to do this work in us.

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul talks plainly about what a healthy church community looks like.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:14-16)

Rather than a community that gets swept up in and entrapped by the noise, rhetoric, and false news of the day, in Christ we are freed to be a community that boldly “speaks the truth in love.” Striking the balance of high support and high challenge toward one another—out of “grace always”—is the sign of a healthy church, where leaders and members speak honestly and lovingly to one another. Being honest and loving is how we are joined and held together, and it is all from him who is the head of the church—the one who empowers us through the Spirit.

This may seem like a nuance, but a culture of liberation is not license. Rather it is a strong commitment to Christ and to one another. Empowerment and opportunity do not let us off the hook for being our brother and sister’s keeper. Being united in Christ means that we are for one another; we are accountable to each other—even (and maybe especially) when we experience differences of opinions. If it takes strong bones, toned muscles and elastic ligaments all in alignment for a human joint to operate smoothly and effectively, imagine how much active participation it takes from you and me to be a part of a mature healthy church?

The culture of liberation that we are growing into allows us to be free from sin, death, guilt, and shame, and yet it goes further. Not just “free from,” but “free for.” We are free to become the best versions of ourselves as we grow in relationship with Jesus and with one another. I think of freedom in Christ as an invitation and empowerment. I am free to join him and participate in much of what he is doing. I am free to see how he is at work in people around me, and I am free to share his love that he has liberally bestowed on me.

Brothers and sisters, it is Jesus who has joined us together. It is Jesus who liberates and empowers. May we embrace, celebrate, and perpetuate the culture of liberation that he is showering upon us.

Praising him for my liberation,

Greg Williams

14 thoughts on “Culture of Liberation”

  1. Thanks Greg. What a gracious gift from Jesus to be freed from worry and to trust God no matter the circumstances. Freed from pride to admit it when I’m wrong and clean up my side of the street; God’s life long project for me. Freed from being self-centered to serve Jesus and others. I cannot be sufficiently grateful! Thank you for the reminder.\!

  2. Thanks, Greg! To know Our Triune God empowers us to participate in the good going on in our communities as we become the unique, loving persons God created us to be in Christ!

  3. Greg, your words are insightful and hugely relevant to the time we are experiencing. I find it meaningful that „speaking the truth in love“ is linked to spiritual maturity. It reminds us that responsibility and freedom go hand in hand. Living up to that verse has become even more challenging as in our western culture the lines become increasingly blurred. The future will demand of us more courage and self-sacrifice. Thanks much for being willing to take the lead.

  4. Greg, your words are insightful and hugely relevant to the time we are experiencing. I find it meaningful that „speaking the truth in love“ is linked to spiritual maturity. It reminds us that responsibility and freedom go hand in hand. Living up to that end has become even more challenging as in our western culture the lines become increasingly blurred. The future will demand of us more courage and self-sacrifice. Thanks much for being willing to take the lead.

  5. Dr. Williams may I add a hearty Amen! We are set free for freedom’s sake! This read encouraged me greatly. Let us hold dearly to our individual liberty as we lead others to true liberation!

  6. Greg, thanks for continuing to point us to the loving God who is freely both with us and for us! Your letter also brought fond memories of the work of our old friend, Dr. John McKenna, as he often spoke of that freedom and of ours within in. Thanks again.

  7. Greg, thanks for this validation of who we are in Christ or who we can become, no matter how chained in confusion we may presently be.

  8. Greg you brought out the twin factors of liberation in Christ–what we are free FROM and what we are free FOR. Very well expressed.

  9. Thanks Greg. Liberation is truly understood from the “Vicarious Jesus” teachings of T,F. Torrance and embellished by Ray Anderson’s understanding. Not only did Jesus live His life for us and in our stead, but also his vicarious response to the Father covers our response to the love and grace of Father. Some may ask: What is left for us to do? As you said, our response is to participate!
    Bob Thurlow

  10. Greg challenges us to think of freedom FOR rather than holding on to freedom FROM. Joseph Tkach Sr. challenged us to be saved FOR good works rather than BY good works. These small words are like a “running thread” in the fabric of our denomination – an affirmation that our Lord continues His good work with our small group.

  11. Yes, we are saved FOR good works, FOR freedom from old the shackles of fear – fear primarily rooted in our distrust of our loving Savior’s absolute an certain love for us all. Freedom FOR abandoning ourselves to a complete relationship with the triune GOD.
    BY, FROM, FOR – little words that mean A LOT !

  12. Thanks Greg for keeping us looking to the One who has set us free and reminding us that we are made new in Him and enables us to now live for Him 2 Cor 5:15, Rm 6:18

  13. Thanks Greg for Sharing this powerful message how Jesus Have liberated us To be free To participate With Him. I pray daily That we will continue to grow in His grace and knowledge even in our disagreements To become The healthy church that He desires.

  14. Truth is liberating, especially when given in love! Keep up the good work – we appreciate it!

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