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.