CultureWatch

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

Darkness Covers the Land, but God’s People Say and Do Nothing

May 23, 2015

OK, headlines are meant to grab your attention, and so the use of hyperbole is common. Well, now that I have your attention, then yes, of course, there are some Christians doing things and saying things during the dark times we find ourselves in. But they are clearly in the minority.

Most of the church is sleeping through its own execution. All around us the world is exploding, and all around us the church is imploding, yet most believers don’t seem to give a rip. And if they do care, they sure don’t seem to be opening their mouths very much.

silence 3Everywhere we hear the sound of crickets chirping while things continue to go down the gurgler fast. Even more incredible is the fact that in so much of the world Christians are dying the most horrific deaths, often at the hands of devout Muslims, but most Christians in the West seem not to care in the least. They are dead silent. And that may well be because they are dead – at least spiritually speaking.

I am now in America, the most Christian country on earth – at least nominally. And there may be what – 80 million evangelicals here at least? On a long train ride through the west and midwest, I spotted plenty of churches. Every time I saw one, I shot up a quick prayer to God that revival would hit them – big time.

While some churches, some leaders, and some individual Christians here are taking a stand and speaking out on the vital issues of the day, including the worldwide persecution of the church, most are not tragically. The same would be true in Australia and other parts of the West.

Yet Scripture so often speaks of the need to speak out and be a voice for the voiceless. We read about the role of the watchman for example in Ezekiel 3 and 33. We read about how the trumpet must sound, and how it must send a clear signal.

As 1 Corinthians 14:8 says, “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” Our problem is not just an unclear call, but no call at all. No one seems to want to sound the alarm. As Isaiah 56:10-11 puts it, “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.”

So the world is going to hell, the churches are in decay, true Christians are suffering greater persecution than ever before, and the church in the West is basically snoozing through it all. When God cannot get his own people to speak up, then he will find other means by which to get the word out.

Remember Balaam’s ass? And recall the words of Jesus when he said, “I tell you, if [the disciples] keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 12:40). So God can and does use even those who are not his own to get the word out. I have written often before about one such stone who speaks loud and clear, putting to shame those who claim to be followers of Christ.

This agnostic often speaks out on those matters which Christians should be speaking out on. I refer to Australian commentator and non-Christian Andrew Bolt. His newest piece is entitled, “Churches’ silence just indefensible.” Amen brother to that headline, amen!

He refers to the growing assault on Christianity around the world, the Islamic war on all things Christian, and the Western churches’ silence on this. He begins:

It is religious persecution on a horrific scale, involving massacres, bombings, slavery, beheadings and mass rape.
So why don’t our churches protest against this slaughter of their own? Yes, Christians are now the prime target of unbelievably barbaric attacks in the Middle East and Africa, yet Australia’s bishops, ministers, priests, church “social justice” units and Christian aid groups — usually so vocal — are now near mute. Nothing better demonstrates the fear our political and media class has of offending Islam than this failure of churches to speak out to save fellow Christians.

He looks at a number of examples of this, such as in Africa:

In Nigeria, the Islamist Boko Haram has killed more than 10,000 Christians in six years and abducted more than 1000 women. This month more than 200 of the 700 women and children rescued from Boko Haram were found to be pregnant. “Every day they would come around and tell us we were infidels, that we should convert and accept their religion,” 27-year-old Lami Musa told the BBC.
In Kenya last month, Islamists attacked a university, letting Muslim students go but murdering Christians. More than 140 were killed. In Libya in April, Islamic State jihadis filmed themselves beheading 30 Ethiopian Christians and warning Christian viewers to convert. In February, 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt were also decapitated.

Plenty of other examples can be mentioned:

In Italy, police arrested 15 Muslim boat people for allegedly murdering 12 Christians on their voyage from Libya. In Iraq, the Islamic State last year drove out the 10,000 remaining Christians of Mosul, leaving it without Christians for the first time in 2000 years. Three-quarters of the 1.5 million Christians who lived in Iraq under Saddam Hussein are now gone.
In Syria, the Catholic St Vincent de Paul reported Islamists had kidnapped Christians and told them to convert or die. Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Aleppo, said the Syrian city had lost two-thirds of the 170,000 Catholics it had a few decades ago. Priests and bishops had been kidnapped or murdered and many Christians had fled.
And the reaction? The secular media seems reluctant to describe just what is happening.

Yes we expect the secular left lamestream media to be silent on all this. They tend to hate Christianity almost as much as the Muslims do. But the real shocker is the silence of the lambs – the Christian churches in the West. Says Bolt:

Yet even our own churches in Australia — normally so keen to defend every other faith — seem unwilling to defend their own. The only press release issued lately by the Uniting Church that discusses the Middle East criticises not the murder of Christians by Muslims but the alleged meanness of Jews to Muslims, drawing attention to a “critique of the policies of the Government of Israel”.
The Baptists’ web page of “articles and statements” includes criticisms of government policies on boat children in detention, illegal immigrants and global warming — all part of the Left’s catechism — but it says absolutely nothing about the murder and rape of fellow believers.
Melbourne’s Anglican diocese has a list of news items on its web page that has nothing about the Middle East since October and then it criticised not the Islamic State’s persecution of Christians but Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
You have to go back to August to find Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier issuing a press statement on the persecution of Christians — a request that the Government take in more Iraqi Christians “facing forced conversion or death”.
The churches are not alone, of course, in failing to take on Islamists even in the life-and-death defence of their own. Feminists have been virtually silent on the rape of the Yazidi women and did no more than tweet bringbackourgirls a year ago in what appeared a token protest at the abduction and rape of women by Boko Haram.
Our gay groups and the Greens have said nothing about the Islamic State stoning gays or throwing them off buildings.
But why this silence of the churches?

Good question Andrew. Good question.

The judgment of God cannot be far away on our Western churchianity which refuses to speak out on what really matters, and instead rambles on about heretical trash like ‘having your best life now’. Lord have mercy on your people.

m.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/churches-silence-just-indefensible/story-fnpp4dl6-1227361920703

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14 Responses to Darkness Covers the Land, but God’s People Say and Do Nothing

  • Basically what I read on the Anglican page was basically look like a leftist website rather than a Christian website.

  • I agree wholeheartedly… but have my own opinion about Andrew Bolt being an agnostic! Personally I have believed for years that he is an undercover believer and is deliberately lying low in order to be more effective as a voice of reason in a largely agnostic/atheistic nation. In fact, to use the quaint expression: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” But don’t tell anyone!!

    PS I recognize this tactic (i.e. being silent about my faith in Christ) because I have, at times, used it myself in order to be more effective when debating controversial issues. It is a fact that, sadly, when some people know you are a Christian, they close their ears to your logic. (But at the same time I will never deny my relationship with God through Christ.)

  • There are many passages in the Bible that I think can address our time, but, without placing one above another, Isaiah chapter 2 comes to mind:

    Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways and walk in His paths.”

    For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

    O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD. For you have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways; they are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they are pleased with the children of foreigners. Their land is also full of silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is also full of horses, and there is no end to their chariots.Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. People bow down, and each man humbles himself; therefore do not forgive them.

    Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

    For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up – and it shall be brought low – upon all the ceders of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall; upon all the ships of Tarshish and upon all the beautiful sloops. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. But the idols He shall utterly abolish.

    They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. In that day a man will cast away his idols of solver and his idols of gold, which they made, each for himself to worship, to the moles and bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks and into the crags of the rugged rocks, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Sever yourselves from such a man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for of what accounts is he?

    I wont follow up with a commentary, mainly because I believe Scripture is clear enough to provide its own.

    As we speak, Ireland goes to the polls to vote on homosexual marriage (not only a contradiction in terms, but a great evil). I may have said this before, but in the Romans 1 notes of our Bible here, it says “From a biblical standpoint, the rise of homosexuality is a sign that a society is in the last stages of decay.” While Bono from U2 has been publically opposed to homosexuality in a book I read, you only have to go to the U2 website today to see that they support homosexual marriage.

    We are living in dark and evil times, but we will not give up. There are millions of children being home-schooled across the western world, and many of those are because God has led their parents into it, and bring up God-fearing and Biblically literate children to face the years ahead. As long as they follow that, they will not fall; The LORD’s word in Isaiah is enough to see that.

  • If all those statements are true then Edmund Burke was right: EVIL will always prevail when good men do nothing.
    We must examine ourself, and see if we are truly in the faith.

  • Andrew Bolt has the ability to clearly see and say what is wrong. I wish people would take more notice.

  • Andrew Bolt is a lone wolf…

    Of reason, logic and sound mind.

  • I think that ignorance is a major factor in this as well.
    I feel a sense of helplessness when I hear these stories.
    We very rarely hear of this a part of our church news.
    Questions like;
    -How far can I trust the media about a story’s accuracy?
    -What are the things we can do about it?
    -To whom do we make protest etc? never seem clear to me.

    Perhaps I can facilitate an information/action service for our church if I can get the right consistent connections.

    Is there a web site that we can trust that gathers this terrible information?
    Does such a web site suggest paths of action?

  • To partly answer my own question; http://www.vom.com.au/news/

  • The so-called Christians that have the media coverage are the mega churches that have apostasy preaching headliners concentrating on the “live your best life now”.
    The cheering arm waving people are misled down the path of destruction by these money grubbing false preachers.
    They are too busy deluding their followers to focus on the tragedy the real believers are experiencing.
    If these mega churches turned their massive media coverage to the carnage, the world would pay attention. However, they are locked into political correctness and promoting the gay equality script.
    Only individual Christians not trapped by these Satan controlled churches see what is happening. These are the people that will choose their God and Savior when confronted with “convert or die”. The mega church leaders will quickly convert and hand their wives a burqa.
    Hold tightly to your faith in Jesus and pray for our brothers and sisters facing Satans murderers.
    Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

  • Like Ann Johnstone, I also think it suits God’s purpose for Andrew Bolt to either be an Agnostic or ‘stealth Christian’ in order to remain untarred by the Christian brush. Which leads to the question; are we obligated to reveal our Christianity if that just leads to being sidelined. Is it enough that the fruits of character be on display, rather than the label?

  • Ann Johnstone and David Williams, I am not sure I would go as far as describing Andrew as a “stealth Christian”.

    See his blog and program today, where he looks at the Irish referendum vote Yes (62:38) for “gay marriage” (whatever was actually put to the voters). He is not expressing a Christian understanding of marriage as God-given; he calls it a fundamental tradition.

    I hope my comment in reply appears tomorrow in reasonable time.

  • I sense that Andrew Bolt had a Christian upbringing, possibly Dutch Reformed. He is an agnostic because he cannot believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • Bill, I think you’re exaggerating about the church doing nothing. After all, the pope is about to release “a much anticipated encyclical about climate change”.

    No, seriously, it is a great challenge to all of us comfy christians suddenly faced with a deeply hostile atmosphere. We all have to “up our game”

  • EVIL WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL WHEN GOOD STAND AROUND AND DO NOTHING

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