Wow. Things seem to be spiraling out of control. News reports of mass killings seem to be coming in on an almost regular basis. It’s getting to the point where a daily news report withouta multiple homicide from somewhere in the country is becoming rare. We keep hearing about abducted children being imprisoned by their abductors for years while being molested and abused. Terrorism continues to be an issue 13 years after 9/11 (first Ft. Hood attack and the Boston Marathon bombing are examples). Then we have the governmental assault on religious freedom in general and Christian faith and practice in particular. Traditional views on marriage and sexuality (such as marriage is only between one man and one woman and sex is appropriate only within that marriage) have been deemed out of touch and lumped in with all sorts of far right radical religious extremism. Up is down. In is out. Bad is good. Evil is holy.
Amid this chaos the response of the Church has been nearly non-existent. Many preachers continue to preach out of the lectionary scratching their parishioners ears (2 Timothy 4:3) about how much God loves and appreciates them. Well, God loved and appreciated Israel but when they began to allow the infiltration of a sinful culture into their daily living He sent them prophets to warn them of impending disaster if they failed to repent and Nebuchadnezzar to back it up. Where is the collective voice of the Church crying out to a brazenly sinful society “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)?
It seems to me that if there were ever a time tailor made to address the reality and solution to evil it is now. People aren’t just taking their own lives in desperation. They’re vitriolically taking out as many innocent bystanders as possible before they turn their guns on themselves (Sandy Hook Elementary). People aren’t just thumbing their noses at God as they walk away from religion. They are saying it is offensive and against the law to acknowledge Jesus Christ anywhere outside the walls of the local church. Government isn’t just saying that people should be more generous to the poor with their money. It’s saying it has the right to take by compulsion what I’ve earned and give it to someone else who doesn’t have as much as me. Now is the perfect time for the Church to stand up and loudly proclaim that God is not only merciful and forgiving but holy and righteous. Now is the time to point to the sin(s) that is so blatantly obvious in our midst and declare that Jesus Christ died (and rose) that we might overcome its power and allure over us (Romans 6:14). We aren’t to be negotiators over what constitutes sin but announce that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Instead, the Christian Church seems to be trying to figure out how to accommodate people who want to live as the world pleases while giving God lip service. It wants to join the chorus of demands for stricter gun control laws rather than addressing what it is that takes hold of a human being that puts a desire to harm and kill as many people as possible before being killed. It wants to help legitimize unbiblical sexual behavior rather than reveal that lust is a sin that can be overcome by the blood of the Lamb. It wants to elevate hospitality over issues of lawfulness and safety concerning illegal immigration.
There is so much going wrong in the world today. Evil has become a pervasive presence in nearly all facets of life. The suffering and misery caused by evil is touching us all. What an opportunity for the Church of the living God to proclaim that there is a better Way! Now is not the time to excuse, condone, or accommodate sin. That only further entraps and suffocates those caught in its web.
Now is the time to speak out boldly on behalf of truth, holiness, and righteousness. That should be a minimal expectation of those who have been entrusted to lead the Church. They should be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), proclaiming “holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), and enjoining us to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” (2 Timothy 2:22).
The Church is in dire need of committed and sacrificial leadership. Men and women who will put their calling from God above all else. This is the time you were called for. The stakes are incredibly high. Are you willing to set aside the status, the security, and the pension? Countless people enslaved by sin are in dire need of courageous Christian leadership. Are you up to it?
Ray Rooney, Jr.