Friday, September 2, 2011

Dark Ages

We live in the “dark ages”- a time of spiritual darkness. The last several decades have seen a decline in Christian Spiritual life. In the United States of America, we have seen a gradual and continuous turning away from God. We now live in a culture which is increasingly becoming secular (a culture that has rejected the need for the sacred and in many cases denies the reality of the sacred). Interestingly enough, at the same time the culture is becoming more “spiritual.” This new spirituality (which is not new at all) is a spirituality that is formed from the “bottom up.” It starts with man and seeks to ascend into heaven.
 This is not to say that the membership rolls of some assemblies have not increased. In fact, there has been an increase in the numerical growth of the “mega-church.” However, the church has no impact upon the society. In fact the vast majority of assemblies are only concerned with the maintenance of their own organization. These organizations are no longer churches in the Biblical sense. They do not exist for the purposes that the God intended. The purpose of the Church is primarily two-fold: (1) to worship God and (2) make disciples to share the Gospel. Worshipping God must be done in the manner in which He proscribes (“in spirit and in truth”). The making of disciples should result in “going” to take the Gospel to the lost and ministering to those who are converted.
                Worship has been replaced with entertainment, evangelism with “programs” and discipleship with pop psychology. Worship no longer exalts and honors God, but rather serves the purpose of entertaining the “audience.” Discipleship has been replaced with “feel good” talks that are relevant to immediate, felt needs of the listener- to the neglect of eternal, spiritual needs. Evangelism has been reduced down to inviting someone to attend the Church service.
                Even “good” churches (that is churches which hold to sound doctrine and understand the Gospel) fail in actually sharing the Message. Many will financially support foreign missions but most will not do missions work in their own back-yard. Local evangelism is supplanted by pre-evangelism (acts of benevolence and inviting the lost to “come to church”). Even many those who profess Reformed Theology have become hyper-Calvinists or Armenian in their methodology.
                Reformation is our only recourse, and in the pursuit of reformation, perhaps the Lord will be gracious enough to grant revival. Reformation is a return to Biblical views and obedience to the commands of God.  Revival is the pouring of the Holy Spirit of God upon His people. We cannot conjure up revival but we can seek reformation. We can turn again to the Father- in brokenness, in repentance, and obedience- rebuilding the walls that have been torn down. 

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Perhaps I am an incurable optimist, but dark as they are, I still have hope. Dr. Carpenter is accurate in his assertions, yet this age, dark as it is, has more light and truth available to it then did the age of Roman Catholic dominance. There was little truth to be discovered, since the scriptures were, for the most part, unavailable. With the technology of communication, men who would otherwise have never heard of the doctrines of grace or words like propitiation, atonement and ecclesiology, have been a part of small pockets of revival of the old truths of the reformation within the church. Perhaps God will grace us with another awakening of men's hearts to the truth of the gospel. After all, Christ has not yet returned, so all the elect have not yet been brought in.