Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Downward Spiral of Society and the Response of the Church

I seriously doubt that any conservative (read Biblical) Christian would deny that the moral climate in the US is as cold as it has ever been. For decades Christians in America have been subjected to humanism, secularization and even open societal sins. Pluralism led to postmodernism. This is to say, if we accept that everyone has a viewpoint that is of equal validity then there can be no absolute truth. If there is no absolute truth then there is no value system to judge what is morally right or wrong. If there is no judgment system then those who judge are oppressing the judged. However, there is inconsistency in this “brave new world” as the judges are judged for their judgment.
But I digress. The real issue facing the church in America today is “What can we do?” It has been said that the acme of insanity is to do the same thing over expecting different results. If the church in the US is truly concerned about the state of the nation then there must be a change. The change cannot be expected to take place in the society at large until the Church changes first. Only the Church has the foundation for truth (that being the revealed truth of God) and truth is absolutely necessary for any society.
The church of God is the seasoning and the light of truth in the world. I regret time and space do not permit me to offer an analysis of how I believe we have arrived at this point. But really how we got here is somewhat irrelevant. There is no time to scout the source of the blaze while the house is burning down. No, this is a time for action.
 I have been so encouraged by many in the last decade or so who have been calling for revival. Some are even meeting and praying corporately for God’s unique intervention in our situation. Certainly revival is desperately needed. Praise the Lord for those who are praying for revival and I join with them in prayer.
Unfortunately, revival is completely out of our hands. It is a non-normative act of God which we have no control over. I do not say this to discourage us from praying for revival. I sincerely hope that many will seek it. Historically, revival has come to those who desired it. Not all who desired revival received it but none have received a revival who did not seek it.  Let us continue to pray for the mighty intervention of God in our nation, but let us not stop there.
While revival is in the hands of God there are things that we can do that are completely within our power. So while we pray for revival let us also apply ourselves in these other areas.
1) Repentance.
Maybe the tendency is to say that we are not engaging or endorsing the sins of the society so we have nothing to repent of. But we can see scripturally that we all have mixtures of sin even in our most pious acts. We are not yet perfected and sin dwells with us. Must we not humble ourselves first before we can expect God to exalt us? Must we not come broken to Him in an honest assessment of ourselves if we are to expect Him to act on our behalf? Should we not remove all that hinders our walk in order that we can see the spiritual needs of others?
Repentance is in our hands and (I believe) the first step to bringing the needed change in the world. Let us tend to our own gardens before we complain about the weeds in our neighbors garden.
2) Reformation.
Please understand I am not using the word in the sense of “reformed theology” but rather in the sense of spiritual reformation. Repentance is an ongoing act and so is reformation. Repentance begins with verbal affirmation of sin but it does not end there. Once we have identified our failures we must set about to correcting them- individually but also corporately.
Have we (the church) been good stewards of the resource God has given us for the promotion of His glory? Have we been faithful witnesses of Gospel of transformation to our neighbors? As we have been going about our days have we been making disciples? Have we been good stewards of the life-breath God has given us or have we been caught up in distractions and vain amusements? Have we tolerated and down-played sin or have we brought Scripture to bear in the ears of our neighbors? When we have confronted sin, have we done it with the proper attitude of grace and humility or with self-righteous, arrogant attitudes? For so long we have stood but could it be that we lost our diligence in soul-watch that now we are beginning to slide away?
These are the types of questions we should be asking ourselves.
3) Resist.
I do not claim to know what this will come to mean for us in the future. At the least, by resist I mean this is not the time to grow silent, to be fearful or to capitulate. This is not the time for slumber. Perhaps our last several decades of laziness have been a contributing factor to our present sad state. We must stand as a light to this dark culture. Only we as the church have the medicine for this dreadful and mortal disease. This is not the time to hide our light in fear, in shame or apathy. The world around us is in desperate need of reconciliation with our God and only we have been appointed to this task.
4) Rebuke.
The patient cannot understand the seriousness of his sickness if the doctor is silent about the diagnosis. This is the time to rebuke. Please understand I am not advocating a “shock and awe” ministry. There is no Biblical merit for calling others to Christ by insult. I am talking about boldly sharing the truths of Scripture in full humility. We must understand it has only been the restraining grace of God that kept us from the most heinous sins prior to our conversion. Our faith was a gift and nothing we merited. This should produce humility not arrogance. But let us not mistake fear for humility. We must pointedly speak the truth.
We should not stop praying for revival. In fact we should be seeking it more than ever before. But we must also take responsibility in the areas where we can as we wait for the gracious hand of God. Revival may or may not come. But even if revival does not to come to us consider the great good that can be done by us through these simple applications. The church will be better suited to stand for whatever the future holds and our steps may be the means by which God revitalizes our nations.

I truly pray so. 

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