Well, as we set upon the end of one year and the beginning of another, I cannot help but look back and reflect on this last year. I think we can safely say that we have seen definitive evidence of the decline of the church’s influence in the American culture. With the re-election of a president that is one of the most pro-abortion, anti-life records in political history, a president who has openly promoted the profanation of marriage by endorsing homosexual unions, it has become clear that our country has embraced a non-Christian ideology. This is not major news, many Christians have been sounding the alarm for years, but it has gone unheeded. But now as we face a new year before us, my question for the church in America is “What is it going to take?”
Consider this, we have seen the growth of megachurches and seeker friendly country clubs for years now. Every week, hundreds, even thousands of people walk the aisles, prayer “the prayer,” sign a card and are proclaimed “Christians” in their congregations. Those people are never taught about sin, righteousness, judgment, condemnation, the wrath of God, repentance or the sacrifice of Christ. Instead, they are given gospel-light messages that consist of Christ loving them so much that He’d rather die than live without them. They are told that God only has their best life in mind and all they have to do is follow a ten step program to get a better job, better marriage, or better kids. There is no call to holiness, no attempt to cause the people to question their worldly mindsets, no testing to see if they are actually in the faith. What is left are a room full of goats who have been mesmerized into believing they are in fact sheep.
In these same churches, the sheep that do exist are either marginalized or simply shoved out the door to make way for the vision of the “goat-herder in chief.” This has allowed the growth of these country clubs masquerading as churches to go virtually unchecked. With little to no opposition inside the churches, they grow like a virus in a compromised immune system, with almost the same deadly effect. The more churches that adopt worldly advertisement growth techniques, the less the true Word of God is preached. The less it is preached, the worse the compromise within the body and the more sin is tolerated. The end results are people who claim to be Christian, or even “spiritual,” but who have no personal sense of the wickedness of their sin. Thus they allow and even promote blatantly sinful behavior. Can the re-election of a man who is anti-christian, anti-life and pro-homosexuality be a surprise then?
That is not to say that there are no real Christians in America. They are still many sound biblical churches faithfully preaching the Word of God. But I fear that even truly born again Christians have become more affected by worldly philosophy than they realize. Go into most churches today and ask Christians what is more loving, to confront sin and unrighteousness boldly, pointing people to the need of Christ’s propitiatory death on the cross, or to win friends through kind works, easing them into the gospel. Inevitably, many will choose the latter. Most Christians today have succumbed to the world’s belief that it is simply unkind to point out sin and to warn of the judgment to come. They believe the message is “too harsh” and will drive people away. The result is that a small percentage of truly born again Christians are going out of their way to share the gospel with the lost in our country. And an equally small number are trying to call out the churches who aren’t even on the biblical program.
So how did this year end with the country embracing a false Christian president who embraces universalism, denounces true Christianity, promotes murder of the unborn and homosexuality? Simply because the church has allowed our influence to wane. We have allowed the propagation of false churches by not calling out with a unified voice against them. We have not resoundingly called them false teachers and have been willing to work in conjunction with them as “co-belligerents.” As they grew, we simply let them go on unchecked. Additionally, we have not combated the false gospel of “Jesus loves you just the way you are,” with the bold proclamation that all mankind is deserving of the wrath of God and the only escape is Jesus Christ.
The American culture has watched a watered down version of the gospel propagate throughout the country and sees it for the phony message that it is. They have no desire to be a part of it and walk further and further away from it. Yet, the true gospel has not been preached with boldness and regularity. The true church has involved itself in any number of other activities – politics, protests, Tea Parties, etc. – yet does not offer the true message of salvation to a world immersing itself in sin. The country sees the true church as harsh and judgmental for it does not call to the world in compassion to the Savior.
So today, on December 31, 2012, I ask you as a member of the true church of Jesus Christ, “What will it take?” Will you, in this next year, be willing to step up to the plate? Will you stand against the false gospel of the country club churches? Will you call them out for the false teachers they are? Will you work to make sure your church steers away from such nonsense? Will you get you and your congregation worked up to preach the true gospel to a lost and dying people? If not, what will it take?