There is no group better trained or equipped to derail the
Enemy of God more than the Church. Yet no group looks more disconcerted and
mystified by evil today. The Church has
that deer in the headlights look.
“What?!...Am I supposed to move, or what? Maybe that bright thing barreling down on me
will just go away.” Guess what Church? Sin isn’t going away anytime soon. So neither is evil: the stench of sin. Are you ever going to stand up for your God
They legalized infanticide and changed its name to something
more palatable (abortion) and we’ve learned to live with the stench of it for
more than forty years. Even when Kermit Gosnell’s
infamous house of human dismemberment was made public there was no unified statement
of condemnation from the Christian Church.
The smell had always been there and so we weren’t surprised when someone
opened the lid to the garbage can and took pictures and we saw what we
saw. We just hurriedly closed the lid,
sprayed some air freshener around, and went back to the business of planning
VBS and our latest plans for building expansions. Rock on.
For millennia Christians have known that the Bible
identifies homosexuality as a sin.
Suddenly some ingenious homosexuals decided to start describing their
sinful indulgences as “gay” and a large portion of the Church got on board with
it. The Church let them co-opt the
rainbow and hasn’t done much of anything about the targeting of its own
children by homosexual activists (Boy Scouts still find a welcome mat rolled
out by many mainline churches despite deciding to allow practicing homosexuals
to join and participate). Some entire
denominations are even thinking about ordaining practicing homosexuals as
pastors of God’s flock. The stench of
sexual immorality weighs heavy in the air while some Christians pat themselves
on the back for their open-mindedness and tolerance. Their theological acuity has evolved beyond
giants of the Church like John Chrysostom, Augustine, and Martin Luther (to name
a few) who all agreed that Scripture plainly identifies homosexuality as a sin. Wonderful.
Then there is the plague of theological pluralism that is
running rampant in the Church. Creation
is a myth. The Flood was a localized
event. The walls of Jericho didn’t fall
because they didn’t exist. Isaiah didn’t
mean that a “virgin” would conceive. He
meant a “young woman.” Jesus was walking
on a sand bar not the water. He
ministered to epileptics rather than cast out demons. And His resurrection was only meant to be
taken as a metaphor; not literally! The
stench of disobedience and faithlessness wafts higher and higher. Yet some of the largest churches in the most
prominent denominations are staffed by pastors and associates who reject most
(if not all) of the tenets of the Apostles Creed. But they are kind. They are accepting. And some are even entertaining. So they stay.
Bless their hearts!
Much of today’s Church acts as if sin is an antiquated
doctrine. Kind of like the way people
used to think the Earth was flat but now we know better. Do we really know better, Church? I know Jesus talked a great deal about love
and was Himself the personification of love.
But I don’t recall reading about any ‘deer in the headlights” kind of
episodes when He was confronted with sin and the stench of evil. He didn’t ignore Satan in the
wilderness. He didn’t jump back into
Peter’s fishing boat when the demoniac of Gadara ran screaming from the tombs
straight for Him. He didn’t educate the
crowd in John chapter eight that adultery was simply an ancient rubric God used
for the ignorant Hebrews of old and that a woman who had sexual relations with someone
who wasn’t her husband was now a private matter and of no concern to Him or His
heavenly Father. He didn’t tell the
Sadducees “You know what? That view of yours on resurrection…sounds just as
good as any other I’ve heard.” No, seems
like He said something about them being wrong because they knew neither the
scriptures nor the power of God. And
when Satan entered into Judas (Luke 22:3) Jesus didn’t say to him “Can’t we all
just get along?”
The Church has an example.
Jesus set a high bar for love and forgiveness (“greater love…seventy
times seven”). But raising the bar for
love did not lower it for sin. The guy
who believed he was closest to Jesus (Apostle John) would write “If anyone
loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). That doesn’t sound very accommodating. The guy who wrote two-thirds of the New
Testament (Apostle Paul) wrote “Take no part in the unfruitful works of
darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Expose works of darkness. Hmmm. I
wonder what “works of darkness” he meant?
For many in today’s modern Church the only works of darkness are those
that fail to affirm anyone doing anything they feel they want to do.
Its high time for the Church to start acting like the Church
in the midst of darkness. We need to
stop acting like we don’t understand how depraved the human heart is (Jeremiah
17:9). When human life is “aborted,” a
sexually immoral behavior is “ordained,” and the bodily resurrection of Jesus
Christ is deemed a “metaphor” by Christian leaders the Church shouldn’t
resemble a deer in the headlights. It
should look more like an angry mama bear charging when she deems her cubs to be
in danger or under attack.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to
stand against…” Paul says. God expects
His Church to identify and engage sin thereby diminishing the lasting effect of
evil. Spraying air freshener in the
garbage doesn’t work. All it does is
taint the stench with a sickly sweet smell which usually makes it worse. The only way to get rid of the stench is to
remove it from your presence.
Accommodating sinful behavior is spraying air freshener in the
garbage. It does nothing to rid the
world of its stench of evil. Only a sold
out sacrificial commitment to holiness can clear the foul smell in the air
today. And only a Church that is
committed to Christ can take the garbage out.
…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
Doesn’t the word “prevail” imply some things that seem
woefully absent from today’s Christianity?
Ray Rooney, Jr.