CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Dysfunctional Churches Mean Dysfunctional Societies

Oct 22, 2013

A good part of the reason why Western society is in such a contemptible mess is because Western churches are in a contemptible mess. Instead of being salt and light as Jesus commanded (not suggested), the churches are mostly asleep, apathetic and anaemic. Far too many Christians are compromised, carnal or corrupt.

Even scarier is the fact that many churches are actually promoting the ungodly agendas of the world, instead of resisting them, and being a standard for truth, godliness and righteousness. Far too many churches are just taking up space: they are doing nothing about halting the moral and spiritual decline all around them, and are in fact often contributing to it.

There are enough Christians in this country to have a real positive influence – an influence for good and for righteousness. Yet the majority seem to have their mouths shut and their eyes closed. They see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Evil is triumphing all around them, yet they say and do nothing.

This is reprehensible and it is something Christ will deal with come judgment time. What lame excuses will be offered when we stand before our Lord and try to explain why we did nothing to be a Christian witness in a very needy world? The most recent example of the church missing in action comes from the ACT.

The leftist government there has just passed a homosexual marriage bill. This silly legislation is of course not only in breach of the Federal Marriage Act, but is nothing more than a stunt by the Labor/Green social activists in the ACT to push their radical social engineering agenda. It passed by just one vote (the Liberals voted against it).

It will be challenged by the Abbott Government in the courts, but it is another waste of taxpayers’ money, and another example of unrepresentative government. But the real question is this: where were all the Christians in the ACT? Why did we hear so little from so many of them?

There are enough Christians there alone to have put enough pressure on their local members to not head down this path. A simple phone call or email would have sufficed. Yet how many actually did so? Very few I suspect. So once again the church has failed miserably in its obligation and responsibility to be salt and light.

The recent March for the Babies in Melbourne is another clear case in point. Three or four thousand brave troopers risked much from the rent-a-crowd haters as they marched for life. Many were physically abused and all were harassed, intimidated, bullied and treated to the most vile filth imaginable. They are true saints.

Yet as I have asked before: Why were there not many tens of thousands of believers there? There are plenty of megachurches in Melbourne. If those churches alone had even a healthy fraction of their congregations at the march, the numbers would have swelled past 15,000 easily. Yet this was not the case. Why not?

Did any of these megachurches even bother to inform their members about this march? Do they even give a rip about the 100,000 babies killed each year in Australia? Or are they too afraid of offending people, rocking the boat, and losing a bit of their collection money?

They have much to answer for. The leaders especially will one day stand before their Lord and give an account about these matters. And because of this gross dereliction of duty, our freedoms and religious liberties are being stripped away from us.

Eric Metaxas has recently spoken on this very issue. In a piece entitled “The Tragic Inaction of the Church” Joy Allmond discusses his concerns about a sleeping and apathetic church:

“The author of several books, Eric Metaxas is perhaps best known for Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. . . . But Metaxas does more than write and speak on the feats of these great heroes of the faith. He urges the Church of today to take the same kind of actions.

“Before we can take on our role as the Church in areas like social justice activism and preserving society, we must be aware of our current freedoms and our position in regard to the state. ‘There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the separation of church and state. The church is to be protected from the state. Not the reverse,’ explains Metaxas. ‘People have divorced faith from public life, mostly because of this misunderstanding.’

“We have also confused the terms freedom of worship with freedom of religion. So, what is the difference? Freedom of religion allows us to take our faith into the public square as we leave our corporate worship settings. ‘The founders have said that we can and should do that,’ adds Metaxas. ‘That means we can exercise our faith freely in the workplace, or wherever we are.’

“Freedom of worship allows us to worship within the confines of the church building. However, that freedom is not valid outside of that church building. Furthermore, that means that whatever views you have on the hot-button social issues, such as abortion or same-sex marriage must be kept within the walls of your home or your church building.

“‘They have freedom of worship in China, and they had it in Germany in the 1930’s. Today, that is we have—freedom of worship. So today, we are slowly privatizing our faith because of this great misunderstanding,’ says Metaxas. ‘Once we leave our homes or our churches, we are expected to accept the secular humanist view of everything.’

“This privatization of our faith is believed to be an outward sign of a loss of religious freedom. The publicity of faith is what Metaxas and countless others believe to have made our country great.” And Christian heroes like Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer “were motivated by more than justice; they were motivated by the Gospel. They were not merely social or cultural Christians. They took Scripture very seriously, and then they took action.

“Metaxas urges today’s Church to do the same—to be involved in everything from culture to politics, willing to speak the truth humbly and boldly in love. ‘If the Church had been the Church in Germany, had stood up and spoken loudly, as one, they could have won. But they were timid, just as Christians are timid now on so many issues. The Church has to be heroically, courageously vocal. People will suffer because the Church has not stepped up and lived out the faith we claim to have’.”

Yes people are suffering because of the cowardice and indifference of so many Christians. We need men and women of faith who will courageously speak out on the vital issues of the day. Their damnable silence and apathy is not just killing our churches, but killing our societies as well.

All the great Christians have known about the need to speak out, and to be a courageous witness for Christ. Let me conclude with a few quotes from them:

“Even a dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” -John Calvin

“It’s going to demand a lot of courage before too long— to really live and maintain the true Christian life according to the Word of the Living God.” -Leonard Ravenhill

“Courage is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry. Courage is good everywhere, but it is necessary here. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go and make shoes to fit them. But do not keep on all your life preaching sermons which shall say not what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say.” -Phillips Brooks, 19th century American clergyman

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” -C. S. Lewis

www.heraldsun.com.au/news/act-legalises-samesex-marriage/story-e6frf7jo-1226744362166
www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=9643

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17 Responses to Dysfunctional Churches Mean Dysfunctional Societies

  • Hi. Bill. I attend a Pentecostal Christian Church here in Perth and although our pastor is a good man and does some excellent teachings and discipleship in many distant isolation’s, this action to promote homosexual marriage in the ACT did not even rate a mention. We are a big enough church to support a representative within the church to be aware of all things challenging Gods Instruction his commandments and the rebuttal of those that are intent on Blaspheming against Him. This in my view is the whole intent of efforts to enshrine same sex marriage.
    Passing an act in a state parliament is the first of many small steps designed to eventually force churches to condone and bless same sex marriage as a direct affront to God and as perceived acceptance of the disease prone act of Anal Sex. In essence as intelligent beings we might just as well give up on all attempts to eradicate pandemics for this is surely one of them. And far from being contained it is being promoted by the highest in many lands.
    The implications of an old hymn we sang in schools and churches so many years ago is now long forgotten in both the singing of it and in the Christian principle of it, and that is “Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to war”. Seriously we often talk about wearing the Armour of God, yet often we seem more comfortable wearing blinkers. Churches need to get together on this one and make sure we have a register of all proposals pursuing this moral destruction so that we can be aware and use the full force of our numbers to nip this in the bud.
    The Bible tells us that if we do not warn anyone of their wrong doing their blood will be upon us. Believe it, act on it lest we or our generations pay the price.

    Dennis Newland

  • My heart hurts every time that our Governments enact or legislate or propose ideas, or suggestions which are anti-Biblical. I pray, and then feel quite reprehensible that I have done so little to oppose the downhill slide which is taking place in our society. I sometimes send an objection to our MP, or sign a petition online to uphold Light and Truth, but do have a belief that my voice will be inaudible because of the raucous minority, and that my protest that will achieve very little. I am sad that the ACT has passed their new “Marriage” Bill…and wonder how or if it can be overturned.
    I believe that the Media is our greatest enemy and is Anti-God, as it gives undue publicity to matters like gender choice and homosexuality as a normal way of life, when this weekend there was a report of the dramatic rise in HIV in young gay men, and there was no linking this with the acceptance of homosexuality being pushed by all forms of media, which they condone as being politically correct. I am one of the Christians who would like to do more, who would like to protest effectively, but don’t know how, being elderly and inactive. Prayer is my chief weapon.
    Lorna Rogers

  • Some did speak out (along with Mormons, Muslims and Jews) but it seems to be too little, too late….
    http://www.acl.org.au/2013/10/statement-by-abrahamic-faith-leaders-of-canberra/

    Mark Wong

  • Many so called ‘Christians’ are ignorant, blinded to Bible truth and lack a back bone to stand for truth and righteousness.
    I have written to 15 church ministers on Bible truth and not even one reply. I contact MP, in emails and a personal letter.
    Keep the fire burning, Bill and those who stand for Bible truth. Stand out to speak the truth.
    Judith Bond.

  • If you seen what is being taught in our seminaries you would understand why our churches are so weak. Schaeffer was correct when he commented on the false piety that passes as Christianity. I went to Westminster Seminary and the last thing they would ever consider is getting involved with cultural redemption or even commenting on the immoral direction our nation is taking. There is no prophetic voice coming from our pulpits and our church leaders are part of the problem. Many are solely businessmen and not really called to be pastors. There only concern is keeping the peace by tickling ears and collecting the tithes.

    Hector Falcon

  • http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/rush-to-save-gay-marriage-bill-20131021-2vxek.html#poll

    OPPOSING THE BILL: (Back row) Rabbi Shimon Cowen; Bishop Trevor Edwards, vicar general of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn; Monsignor John Woods, administrator of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn; Pastor Sean Stanton, of Australian Christian Churches; and Rabbi Shmuel Feldman. (Front row) Pastor B.J. Hayes, of the Canberra National Adventist Church; Imam Adama Konda, of the Canberra Islamic Centre; and Arnold Cummins, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/rush-to-save-gay-marriage-bill-20131021-2vxek.html#ixzz2iUX4jZCO

    There is a web poll in this article that those in favour of traditional marriage may wish to vote in.

    Jo Deller

  • Excellent article Bill. I have taken the liberty of reproducing the first few paragraphs on my blog
    http://itaintthesame.wordpress.com
    with full reference and attribution to you. I hope this is OK.

    Lindsay Smail

  • NSW Petition to save Marriage in NSW here-
    http://family.org.au/petitions/?page_id=47

    Jo Deller

  • PLEASE SIGN & CIRCULATE

    This Petition of citizens and residents of New South Wales expresses concern at attempts to redefine marriage so as to include same-sex unions.

    We believe marriage, defined as the union of one man and one woman, should continue to be affirmed in legislation as it:
    (i) confirms the importance of motherhood & fatherhood;
    (ii) protects the biological identity of children;
    (iii) provides the optimum environment for the raising of children; &
    (iv) is vital to the stability, economic and social wellbeing of children, families and society.

    Furthermore, we are concerned that the ramifications of redefining marriage and the circumvention of the Commonwealth Constitution will include:
    (i) the promotion of homosexual ‘marriage’ and practises, and their moral and practical equivalence to heterosexual marriage, to children from primary schools and upwards;
    (ii) the diminution of religious freedom and free speech as anti-discrimination legislation is extended to criminalise any criticism of homosexual marriage or practises; and
    (iii) legislation that is inconsistent with the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 and therefore invalid pursuant to section 109 of the Commonwealth Constitution.

    The undersigned petitioners therefore ask the Legislative Assembly to oppose any and all Bills aimed at redefining marriage in state law.
    NSW Petition.

    PROTECT MARRIAGE in the ACT & Australia here- http://family.org.au/petitions/?page_id=44

    Jo Deller

  • The churches are losing influence because of the all pervading “political correctness” that has become far too strong. Examples include women’s ordination, and condoning homosexuality. For the churches to increase their influence, they must reaffirm traditional church teaching. Namely, sex is God’s gift to mankind, to be exercised within marriage between a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all else, for the procreation of children, and to show the love between husband and wife. Women’s ordination is contrary to 2000 years of Catholic church tradition which dates from the apostles.
    Tony Harris

  • Bill, I am sorry I rudely called the Chief Minister of the ACT ‘stupid’ but I don’t resile from the rest of the email I sent her:

    “No matter how many laws are passed in how many jurisdictions there is no such thing as same-sex ‘marriage’ as far as ordinary people are concerned.

    “Why? Because homosexuals have no right to unilaterally change the meanings of ancient words like husband, wife, mother, father, bride, groom, son, daughter, niece, nephew, uncle, aunt, grandmother, grandfather …

    “My point is that sex – not gender identity – is very important and that normal people – unlike people in Canberra’s sheltered workshops – don’t accept the feminist/queer 101 studies ridiculous claims that gender is just a social construct.

    “So you are a very stupid woman in trashing marriage and society will reap the consequences of your stupidity.

    “The report in the ABC news online featured two men with ‘their’ children, a one year old baby and a three year old toddler.

    “As a mother of five and a grandmother of six I was very, very distressed to see such little children deprived of a mother through the selfishness of so-called adults who just want to prove a point.

    “Shame on you for supporting such cruelty.”

    Antonia Feitz

  • I have written to Tony Abbot asking that he use the authority vested in him by virtue of his office to overturn this farcical legislation which contravenes the Constitution. My confidence in him is very limited following an article published in our local Catholic paper in which he is quoted as saying that (to paraphrase) political decisions should not be made on the basis of personal religious beliefs!!! WHAT??? I wonder if he remembers the simple morning offering he would most surely have learned as a little child? “My God I give to you this day, all that I think and do and say and I unite it with all that was done, by Jesus Christ your dearest Son.” Our mother would bless us as we left the house and say, “Mind you don’t forget what you’ve prayed this day.” She taught us what it meant too.
    Tony needs our prayers, that God would increase his faith and give him the courage to act with integrity and in a manner consistent with being a follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which he does declare himself to be. All through salvation history we see what happens to God’s people when enculturation leads to apostasy and it is happening, big time, to Christianity today. We have to live the gospel and resist the tide that threatens to overwhelm
    the Christian values on which democracy, as we understand it, has been built.
    Anna Cook

  • Speaking of dysfunctional churches, Bill, the latest Crosslight magazine had a “debate” on “marriage equality”. It was the most wishy-washy debate ever. All 3 presenters seemed to have no problem with gay marriage.

    David Horton

  • Thanks David. yes that is bad news indeed. They seem to have lost the plot big time.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Our enemy’s ammunition is cynicism ignited by the spirit of envy and propelled by hate. Our ammunition is faith ignited by the spirit of generosity powered by love. This war is a tragic scenario: Hate attacks and destroys Love but the aftermath is that Love transcends Hate. Christ was put to death by humankind but His supernatural resurrection pictures this insight to me.

    “The Word was made flesh and dwelled among us full of grace and truth.” The precious truth that Jesus taught has come down through the ages to us, like a flickering torch borne by courageous souls, many giving their lives for their belief.

    The way Christ showed does not promise worldly gratification but emphasises spiritual riches. Jesus said when tempted by Satan “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Christian teachers need to recognise the enemy of their faith and have the courage to reflect the inconvenient truth Jesus revealed to us.

    Rachel Smith, UK

  • A common misunderstanding concerning the separation of church and state is that the church is under God and the state is not. While these 2 spheres of human interactions are separate in the sense that they have their own area of authority given to them by God in which the other is not to interfere in – though there is sure room for wisdom, suggestions etc. to be exchanged between them. both of them are under clear and strict instruction from God to do within their spheres the will of God.
    Praise the Lord for those in the church in Canberra who have spoken up against this bad law. The next step could be that they combine to march just like the people in France have done when their bad law was passed against the expressed majority will of the people, which they should have had the democratic right to have enforced.
    It’s not too much to ask, is it?
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

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