Roaring Lambs

Bob Briner

From: Roaring Lambs: A Gentle Plan to Radically Change Your World, © Zondervan Publishing House, 1993. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Let’s face it. Despite the fact that roughly 80 percent of Americans claim to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, we’re not doing so hot. Collectively, as the church of Jesus Christ – the church against which the gates of hell shall not prevail – we’re struggling.

I can almost hear the chorus of defense. What do you mean we’re struggling! Church attendance is at its highest in decades. Look at all the big, active churches we’ve built. Consider the tremendous contributions of Christian television – networks that span the globe with the message of the Gospel. And what about the church-based anti-abortion victories? Why, we’ve gotten so strong that the president listens to us on this and other issues.

The chorus continues.

Look at all the truly Christian colleges and universities that are turning out graduates who go into the world with the Gospel. And what about the Christian publishing industry? Why, almost every community has a Christian bookstore where people can buy Bibles and helpful Christian literature.

Okay, Bob, things might not be perfect, but don’t blame the church.

Well, things are not even close to being perfect and to a certain extent, I do blame the church. For despite all the fancy buildings, sophisticated programs, and highly visible presence, it is my contention that the church is almost a nonentity when it comes to shaping culture. In the arts, entertainment, media, education, and other culture-shaping venues of our country, the church has abdicated its role as salt and light.

Culturally, we are lambs. Meek, lowly, easily dismissed cuddly creatures that are fun to watch but never a threat to the status quo.

It’s time for those lambs to roar.

We don’t need to take the rap that we’re just a bunch of do-gooders who need to be placed now and then by highly publicized visits with the president or an occasional feature story in the local newspaper on one of our many conventions and crusades.

We don’t need to take the palliatives from our leaders who tell us, “Don’t expect too much” when we decide to get involved in positive, constructive ways in our communities.

We don’t have to be satisfied with a half-page religion section once a week when, in reality, religion is so much more than an add-on feature to life.

We don’t have to sit back and wring our hands at the way our culture is going down the drain.

We don’t have to be content with a position on the sidelines when our Lord Himself has assigned us a starting role on the winning team.

My point is really quite simple. Look around you. Can you honestly say that Christian influence is felt in Hollywood? That a Christian presence is evident in the major art galleries and museums of our land? That when you turn on the television you are aware of an underlying foundation of Judeo-Christian values in that medium? That as you pick up the morning newspaper you see objective (not favorable, just objective) treatment of religion in your community? That when you browse through the best-sellers at the airport bookstores you will find even one novel written by an active, church-going, born-again Christian?

Do you honestly believe that our big churches and highly visible Christian leaders have brought about a movement that is taken seriously in this country?

We feel we are making a difference because we are so important to ourselves. We have created a phenomenal subculture with our own media, entertainment, educational system, and political hierarchy so that we have the sense that we’re doing a lot. But what we’ve really done is create a ghetto that is easily dismissed by the rest of society.

We need to reclaim the territory, not in a triumphalistic sense, but out of a strong conviction that this is where we belong. Our churches are growing. Our colleges are full. Subscriptions and sales are up at our magazine- and book-publishing companies. And our broadcast media continue to bring our own music and teaching into our homes. In short, our subculture is healthy. It doesn’t need more attention. It’s the world that needs help.

It’s time for the lambs to roar.

What I’m calling for is a radically different way of thinking about our world. Instead of running from it, we need to rush into it. And instead of just hanging around the fringes of our culture, we need to be right smack dab in the middle of it.

Why not believe that one day the most critically acclaimed director in Hollywood could be an active Christian layman in his church? Why not hope that the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting could go to a Christian journalist on staff at a major daily newspaper? Is it really too much of a stretch to think that a major exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art could feature the works of an artist on staff at one of our fine Christian colleges? Am I out of my mind to suggest that your son or daughter could be the principal dancer for the Joffrey Ballet Company, leading a weekly Bible study for other dancers in what was once considered a profession that was morally bankrupt?

I don’t think so. In fact, I believe it has been the pessimistic vision of the church that has prevented generations of young people from venturing out into the culture-shaping professions of our world. I’ve always wondered why we could be so quick to sacrifice our children to become missionaries but stand in the way of their becoming broadcast journalists, film and television actors, photographers, and painters. It’s almost as if we believe God is strong enough to take care of his own only as long as they stay within the safety of the Christian ghetto. And yet, the Bible gives us countless examples of people, like Joseph, who no only served as an advisor to the “president” of his day but also used that position to influence the entire land.

Can’t we do that today? Shouldn’t we be encouraging and equipping our sons and daughters to become Josephs too?

I believe it’s not only possible but absolutely necessary for Christians and Christian values to become a vital element in the overall moral and cultural discourse of our nation. Without our strategic involvement in the culture-shaping arenas of art, entertainment, the media, education, and the like, this nation simply cannot be the great and glorious society it once was. If we are to be obedient to our Lord’s call to go into all the world, we will begin reentering the fields that we have fled.

Are you ready to roar?


From: Roaring Lambs: A Gentle Plan to Radically Change Your World, © Zondervan Publishing House, 1993. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bob Briner was a sports agent and media entrepreneur before turning his attention to writing. His best-seller, Roaring Lambs, was a bold call to Christians to stop complaining about the world and to start engaging it. The book inspired thousands of evangelicals to do just that, especially in the Christian music industry. Bob Briner died of cancer in 1999, but his legacy lives on not just in books, but also in a CD called Roaring Lambs, which features a wide range of talented Christian artists.