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