“But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.”
“Letter from Birmingham Jail”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Written in 1963…can you believe it?
He was directing his words to a very specific event in human history, but the general truth of God saturated all of his words. You can’t ignore the relevance of his words. They are true today as they were then.
What’s that say about the church?
“Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.”
Today the church isn’t closing its mouth or hiding behind doors about something so blatant as the segregation and degradation of race. Instead the church of America has become so intensely tolerant of the things of the world that many of those who claim the name of Christ can’t be recognized as different than anyone else in today’s culture. We were intended to be a transformational force by the very real and sincere delivery of the gospel. People are then transformed…and their families, their communities, their culture. However, in the Euro-USA church (I can’t speak to that which I’ve never witnessed), we have let the culture of the world shape us. Perhaps we’ve traded our dream of Christ and heaven for an American dream.
“There was a time when the church was very powerful—in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”
The idea that so much of the church chooses to sit idle and let time pass while twiddling their thumbs instead of standing up for the oppressed, feeding the hungry, taking care of those in need, and preaching the good news is appalling. We are the ekklesia, the “called out ones,” the ones who are supposed to be shining examples of Jesus. Today we tolerate sin, We often enable when we should voice concern. We call biblical accountability “legalism” and then think it’s ok to be not only “in the world” but “of the world” and call it being relevant.
It’s time to turn up the heat.
Call me crazy…but I think it’s time to finally start acting as our brothers in the past.
It’s time to stand out.
It’s time to speak up.
It’s time to stand and speak…not with a liberal social gospel or a conservative social gospel, but with a biblical and evangelistic gospel.
Because here’s the truth brothers and sisters:
Hell is real.
Don’t forget that.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
— Matthew 5:14-16
Now I don’t normally speak like this. But, I can’t stand down. And, I won’t shut up. Not when there hasn’t been significant church growth in America since the year I was born, 1991. I’m just as responsible as you are, brother, sister. Together we are the church.
Together we are supposed to effect change for the cause of our Father in heaven.
I’m praying that you and I both can allow the Spirit to move in us and through us. I pray the church would start moving back to the heart of the Bible. We need accountability. We need to challenge ourselves. We have to be different.
That’s what we were made for in Christ. We are made to shine His glorious light through the shattered pieces of our past as He continuously makes us new.
We are made for His glory
We are made for Him
We are called to share…