Blind Guides and Small Men
There are two very big problems in today’s churches: a lack of godly leadership, and a lack of godly men. Sure, there are many great godly leaders, and many great godly men, but far too often they seem to be in the minority. So much of the church is made up of weak and compromised leadership, and far too many men who are missing from the action (as opposed to missing in action).
A terrific passage in my daily reading certainly caught my attention in this regard. Ezekiel 22:23-31 is a stand out passage, with vv. 26 and 30 standing out even more. This is one of the many words of judgment Yahweh gives through Ezekiel to the reprobate and dysfunctional nation of Israel.
Verse 26 is certainly quite telling: “Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean”.
The very religious leaders who should have known better, and should have been leading the way in this regard were completely compromised and apostate. They could not even tell the difference between good and evil. And these guys were the spiritual leaders of the nation!
How many so-called Christian leaders today can also be described in these terms? Just think of all those leaders who have jumped into bed with the homosexual activists for example. There are many who no longer see the difference between the holy and the common, so they are actually championing things like homosexual marriage.
One such pastor blatantly and proudly posted a letter in the Melbourne Age just days ago, making an appalling case for homosexual marriage. Talk about selling out your faith and abandoning the clear teachings of Scripture. For what it’s worth, I sent in a letter in reply, but of course the paper chose not to print it. Why am I not surprised?
And even secular leaders who should know better seem to no longer be able to distinguish between right and wrong. Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett wrote a shocker of an article yesterday for the Herald Sun, also pushing homosexual marriage. And he represents the conservative side of politics?
Again, I wrote an article in reply and sent it off, but still no signs of it appearing. I will post it on my site tomorrow if the HS refuses to give me a right of reply. Thus our leadership, both sacred and secular, is failing in their most basic tasks, to lead in righteousness and with moral clarity.
And then there is also the massive problem of men – or the lack thereof. Where are all the godly men? Why do they seem to be so few and far between? Why do we not see an army of godly men leading the church and standing up against that which is evil?
It seems so few men in the pews today have vision, conviction, and courage. They lack moral fibre and spiritual fervour. They lack holy boldness and biblical priorities. And our churches are suffering big time as a result. In this regard I am reminded of a short piece written many years ago by Richard Halverson.
He was a Presbyterian minister and for many years the Chaplain of the United States Senate. His short piece entitled “Big Men” is well worth repining here in its entirety. It is a prophetic word which every Christian man needs to hear today. Here it is:
“Rarely do you run into a really bad man in the circle of business- industry and government. They’re good men by and large . . .
But you meet so many small men! Not small in stature – but men who think little, talk little, and plan little. Like eagles staked to the ground, there’s no soar in them. Ceiling is zero – and their horizons are pulled in to the hub.
Not that these men are selfish. (Some of course are). But it’s just that they’re preoccupied most of the time with their own little bailiwick. They don’t allow their minds to stretch and breathe. They don’t think – they just rearrange their prejudices . . .
These men are indifferent to problems other than their own. They have no concern for those things which do not hold a personal reference. They refuse to be bothered!
Here lies the tragedy of the little man – his unavailability. He is needed but unavailable! Needed by his community – his nation – the world…. And he doesn’t see beyond the four walls of this miserable little existence!
In this desperately crucial, convulsive time, unavailability is a terrible sin. These times demand big men. Not men who are big shots (they’re useless), but men who are big in heart and mind. Great men! Large-soul men!
Men with a vision – whose feet are on the ground but whose eyes are on the far horizon. Farsighted, selfless men. Men with a goal. Men whose hearts God has touched. Men committed – dedicated to God and his holy, high purpose! Men of integrity!”
Yes exactly right. We are all aware of far too many men like this. They have no vision, no passion, and no goals. Sure, they go through the motions: they dutifully roll up to church each week, and do the various church meetings. But their hearts are just not really there.
They are far more passionate about watching Top Gear or seeing their favourite sports team. That is what really rules their hearts. They lack a vision for what God earnestly desires to do in and through them. They cannot be greatly used by God because they are simply unavailable.
God cannot steer a parked car. Only a car that is actually moving can be directed. Until these men snap out of their sleep, their lethargy, and their apathy, God will not be able to use them. They will simply take up space in the pews, and be of no real use to their own families, their communities, or the Kingdom.
Ezekiel spoke to this very problem in v. 30: “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” No one to intercede. No one to stand in the gap. No one who cared.
Many Christian men today would spend barely a few minutes a month in prayer and Bible reading, but they will spend hundreds of hours a month on their various activities – be it their cars, or sports, or games, or what have you. They are worldly, carnal, compromised and simply unavailable for God’s purposes.
Indeed, they are likely to spend hours a day playing stupid Facebook games, but couldn’t even be bothered to press the ‘like’ button or the ‘share’ button to another post featuring a Bible passage or a great Christian quote. They are small men who have no vision of a great God and what he so desires to achieve through them.
Between the lax leaders and these mousey men, no wonder the church of Jesus Christ is so ineffective today. No wonder we are not making a difference. No wonder we are not being salt and light as Jesus commanded us to be. No wonder we are just taking up space.
No wonder the world simply laughs at us and ignores us. What does so much of the church have to offer? Absolutely nothing, far too often. As A. W. Tozer once said: “The most critical need of the Church at this moment is men – the right kind of men, bold men. The talk is that we need revival, that we need a new baptism of the Holy Spirit – and God knows we must have both – but God will not revive mice. He will not fill rabbits with the Holy Spirit.”
Or as he said elsewhere: “The need today is for leaders identified so fully with the cross-carrying Jesus that they have no life apart from Him, no ambition except to make Him appear glorious in the sight of men. Such as these will seek no place, no reputation. Christ Himself will be their glory and their all.”
Where are all the leaders? Where are all the men? Until we can find more godly leaders and more godly men, our chances of being real salt and real light to the world will be very slim indeed.
11 Replies to “Blind Guides and Small Men”
I was sorely disappointed by this pastor’s view and wrote on his facebook page to express my disappointment. I detected his apostasy a couple of years back when he was invited to our faith forum and he would not even subscribe to the exclusive claim of Jesus as the sole mediator and savior!
This is probably not a very important question: I know you are mainly speaking to men, but I wonder whether in this case it is strictly for males? How different would your message be to women?
Anyway, I sent off one of your articles on the urgent importance of Christian social/political involvement to my pastor and asked for his thoughts.
Yes we certainly need on-fire Spirit-filled women as well. But sadly when you have a prayer meeting, or a revival meeting, or a special Christian get-together, so often it is mainly women who roll up. Where are all the men? Why are men not taking active involvement here? So yes we need both, but I see a dearth of godly men as a real problem in today’s church.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Bill, people like you and all who lobby to protest our culture must get so frustrated and disappointed. The Christian community should be able to generate 100,000 submissions to parliamentary committees opposing same sex marriage; 100,000 letters to the Queensland Attorney General protesting the injustice done to anti-abortion campaigner Graham Preston; 100,000 to every food manufacturer that pay a religious tax to the Muslim Council to get their product certified halal. We could make a list of dozens of causes that affect Christians, but we are all too timid, apathetic and negligent. There may be a time coming when it will be criminal to oppose abortion, homosexual activist and Sharia Law. We will have ourselves to blame but we may be too lethargic to even do that.
Jesus calling us the light of the world, the salt of the earth and ambassadors of Christ is starting to sound like sarcasms.
You are exactly right Des
Where is everyone? We are so very grateful for people like you, but we need so many more to snap out of their comas and start standing up and being counted here. Let’s pray to that end.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
It is not inappropriate for those of us who are happily married to sympathise with the sexual self-denial demanded by Scripture not only of those with a homosexual orientation, but also of heteros who can’t find a marriage partner, or who are in loveless and sexless marriages.
What is not justifiable is exegetical sophistry to appease the zeitgeist and affirm our own trendy credentials.
In this respect, some liberals display a sight more integrity than some erstwhile conservatives.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is one of the UK’s foremost church historians, whose biography of Cranmer won the Whitbread, and whose A History Of Christianity was made into a BBC series.
He is also a practising homosexual, is theologically qualified, and wrote in his Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700, “This is an issue of biblical authority. Despite much well-intentioned theological fancy footwork to the contrary, it is difficult to see the Bible as expressing anything else but disapproval of homosexual activity, let alone having any conception of a homosexual identity”.
Thanks for the quote Bill.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Thank you Bill for being as a man where God has placed you, a watchman on the wall. I believe that the Rev Fred Nile is one such godly man also in his sphere of influence, though he is decried by many, even Christians, as a right wing fundamentalist.
As a Christian woman, I long for strong and yet kind godly leadership by godly men in all areas of life. No doubt God will raise Himself up a Deborah if He can’t find a David, but men out there, know that you are God’s first choice for leadership.
Thank you Bill
In the book (why men hate going to church) he talks about various stages of male decline in the church. He talks about the wars, and how the men are away and the women are left to carry on. So they did and to their credit they kept the church functioning as best they could. A couple of years of that and hey presto, the men come back, battle scared mixed up and struggling to come to terms with what happened. The men not wanting rock the boat when returning settled into just being cozy.
Where are the Christian leaders who will stand with Margaret Court and provide a show of strength? Where are the leaders who will urge their congregations to stand against this wave of immorality?
Good question Gary. But don’t get me started…
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch