Recently while listening to a lecture of Dr. George Grant's on 'the Rise of Byzantine and the Fall of Rome' his words struck me deeply and caused me to look at some things in a new light.
"It is only when the church fails to uphold justice, mercy, and humble faith that the onslaughts of the enemies of justice and mercy have the opportunity to prevail. Only when the church is not the church do we have to fear." Dr. GrantThe church today is not what it was three hundred years ago. In fact, it is not often occurring in history that the church has done what God intended for it.
Grant made a point on government vs. church. He said we should not be concerned with our Nero's and Caligula's (presidents in our day and corruption in the government) until we have first shown concern for the church and how well it's doing upholding what it's supposed to biblically.
"The church has become the spurned and neglected step-child of the modern era. We have given up on the church and looked for other things to satisfy our deepest spiritual longings." Dr. GrantHe gives the example of youth groups, Sunday schools, and all the programs the modern church is so wrapped up in; the original, heart-felt goal is soon left behind and replaced with having fun and impressing and drawing in people through entertainment. I am by no means criticizing those who participate in these activities but merely challenging you to think for a moment about this. This example is just one of the many areas the church has failed to fulfill their biblical mandate.
Branching off a little but still on the same lines...David Platt discusses people's interpretation of the church in his book 'Radical'.
"If you were to ask the average Christian to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something like this..." The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me." As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn't it incomplete, based on what we have seen in the Bible? God loves me is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if that sentence is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?
God loves me.
Christianity's object is me.
Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and the programs that best cater to me and my family...I will chose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture. But it is not biblical Christianity.
The message is now "God loves me, period." as if we were the object of our own faith. The message biblically is "God loves me so that I might make him-his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness- known among all nations." To make disciples of the nations."
From my view, it seems that the church is the way it is, because it has catered to the 'wants' of the people. As it was in Samuel, the Israelites wanted a king, despite the warnings of Samuel. God warned the people through Samuel saying if kings were to rule over them they would take everything of worth to them, enslave their households, and take a portion of their livelihood. It's true today with the church and the government. We insist on getting our desires, getting our king. We don't heed the Samuels of our day, and of God himself who warned us two thousand years ago what happens when our selfish desires are fulfilled.
The lame church, the way we define Christianity, our want for rulers, it all leads to one reason and one fault. Ours.
So what is to be done? Well, perhaps we should start where God told us to. Obeying Him.