The American church must repent for its lackluster commitment to Christ, its obsession with cultural relevance, its failure to discipline sin and its love of money.
I am a Christian who has benefited enormously from the church, and it breaks my heart to watch these failings go largely unaddressed although I often understand why.
When a believer calls the church to repent, it can be tantamount to treason. Since Satan is the “accuser of the brethren,” should any and all accusations be exclusively from the outside? The concerns of the believer are easily swept away as the catcalls of a dissenter, and ignored. The most common response is a functional shunning. While you may not be made to physically leave, you can certainly be treated like you’re gone. Rejection hurts all and we are left with an uneasy, silent complacency even when we know better.
A faith is tested by what it costs.
In ancient days, God used prophets to boldly call his people to forsake their infatuation with pagan culture and lackluster devotion to God, and turn their wayward hearts completely to the Lord.
The message and the outcome were often the same: the prophet called for repentance and warned of judgment, and the people ignored or rejected those claims. Some were martyred. And what they predicted came to pass.
Take a look around now.
The snowballing catastrophes of 2020 are directly tied to impotence of the modern church.
A battle has been simmering for decades now, erupting this year with ideologies on either side of the widening social cavern.
One upholds the supremacy of the sovereign God, the primacy of the family, the sanctity of life and the pursuit of truth.
The other is in a full sprint away from anything that resembles historical Christianity, embracing a confusing spectrum of sexualities and genders, abortion, violence and both social and economic Marxism. One ideology is largely silent, while the other is deafening.
On Sunday morning, an increasingly small number of preachers might still address the severity the situation, but outside of those very specific boundaries, most believers are cowering. Why?
We have ceased to be a fellowship on a mission to proclaim the righteousness and salvation of Christ. We pay lip service to that ideal but we don’t live that way. We have forsaken God in favor of worldly wisdom.
The Christian church is the most powerful conduit in human history for change. More than that, it is the barricade between demonic attack and lost souls, whom we are called to bring to knowledge of salvation.
This world was made to be supernaturally affected by Christ’s faithful followers if they abide in Him.
“Abide in me and you will bear much fruit… but apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
The church has become obsessed with remaining relevant in a changing world, increasingly seeking out secular psychology and shifting cultural norms for guidance in lieu of prayer and obedience to the Scriptures.
The church’s power comes from abiding in God. If the church severs itself from that life-giving vine and grafts itself to the wisdom of the world, it becomes impotent- and a powerless church provides no stopgap for rampant evil.
Back in March, I watched with bated breath, preparing for the full-scale revival that was certainly waiting in the wake of COVID-19. It never came.
In June, I thought, surely, the increasingly violent race riots would sound the alarm. This time, the church was roused, rubbed its eyes and hit the snooze button. We’re awake in a sense, but groggy and stumbling.
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky. Why don’t you know how to interpret the present time? And why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” Luke 12:56-57
The time for subtlety has passed. This world is in the greatest state of confusion I’ve ever seen, and it’s getting worse by the hour.
Christian, wake up! Get dressed for battle, because the enemy prowls like a hungry lion seeking whom he may devour and if you aren’t ready, it will be you.
We don’t fight against flesh and blood but rulers and principalities, powers of the air that are agents of Satan, making calculated efforts to undermine your testimony to the living God. Just as the wicked flee when no one is pursues them, the righteous are as bold as lions. Even if you are the only one who will do what is right, do it and do it now.
Pray for our nation. Tell your friends and family to reject sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Forgive your brother who has offended you, and ask his forgiveness of you as well. Do not validate another divorce, another abortion, or another violent outburst, but instead love the Lord and the people around you enough to be a voice of sound reason and rebuke.
Have honest, respectful conversations about what’s happening in our world and don’t be afraid to tell the truth, because the truth sets people free.
Read your bible, love your spouse, pray with your kids and ask God for the strength to live for Him, with every moment that we have left here. Put down those vices that you know aren’t pleasing to God — drugs, lust, wrath and malice, envy, strife, ungratefulness, discord — and beg his forgiveness.
Repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Brooke Demott contributes regularly to The Palladium-Times on matters of faith and family, and their place in the modern world. She can be reached at email@example.com.