Why Is the Church Silent… Again
In preparing to write this article, the very first thought that came to mind was John the Baptist. In Luke 3:19-20 we read: 19 “Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him (John) for Herodias his brother Phillip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, (20) added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.” KJV We know John was beheaded by Herod. John's greatest strength was his focused and faithful commitment to the call of God on his life. John knew he had been given a specific job to do and he set out with singular obedience to fulfill that mission. He didn't just talk about repentance from sin. He lived with boldness of purpose throughout his uncompromising mission, willing to die a martyr for his stand against sin. I know for myself personally I have never had such focus and faithful commitment to the call of God on my life; however, I have now dedicated myself to a more faithful, focused commitment to the call of God on my life. I believe there is now in America and across the world so great a lack of faithful commitment and focus to the call of God on the lives of a great number of Christian pastors and laypeople that many are seen as unpleasing in the eyes of God.
It could be said that of all people no one fulfilled his God-given purpose better than John. John was the last to function like the Old Testament prophets, the last to prepare the people for the coming messianic age. In Luke 7:28 Jesus said: “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” KJV I believe there are three key testimonies of the life of John the Baptist that should become testimonies in my life and that of all Christians: (1) his focused and faithful commitment to the call of God on his life; (2) his singular obedience to fulfill that mission; and (3) he lived with boldness of purpose throughout his uncompromising mission, willing to die a martyr for his stand against sin.
As I am writing this we are in the week of the remembrance of Passover and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. For all who are saved by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this should be a period of time in which we reflect upon the sacrifice made by Jesus for all of mankind; notwithstanding this should be a continual remembrance. From the movie The Passion of the Christ how can we not forget the images of the inhumane, cruel ancient form of capital punishment suffered by our Lord? How can we not forget the images of the cross and the mockery of those who rejected Jesus? With such thoughts in our minds let us turn to the very words of Jesus found in Luke 9:23-26 when he said: (23) If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (25) For what is a man advantaged, if he gained the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? (26) For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. KJV
In the life of Jesus on this earth we must never miss the same three testimonies displayed as were also evidenced in the life of John the Baptist and must be in the life of all followers of Christ: (1) his focused and faithful commitment to the call of God the Father unto God the Son incarnate as man on his life; (2) his singular obedience to fulfill that mission; and (3) he lived with boldness of purpose throughout his uncompromising mission, willing to die for his stand against sin that you, I and all of mankind may be saved. So now as in every day we must not fail to understand and embrace that which is our duty to the Lord our God: At what cost do we follow Christ? At what cost is the cross we are commanded to carry?
In Matthew 10:38 it is written “he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” In Luke 14:26, 27 it is written “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” KJV ~ Jesus’ audience was well aware of what it meant to carry one’s own cross. Jesus gave this teaching to get the crowds to think through their enthusiasm deeper or to turn back. Following Jesus means total submission to him—perhaps even death. To take up our cross and follow Jesus means to be willing to publicly identify with him, to face almost certain opposition, and to be willing to face even suffering.
This article is being written as a reminder to church pastors and their congregations; to all who are saved and followers of Christ. It is written for the purpose of challenging all who are not carrying their cross as Jesus commanded. Failure to listen and heed is noted by God as we all will give an account for our deeds. Henry David Thoreau was quoted saying, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” In an Op-Ed article written by pastor Ken Hutcherson entitled: America, Church Suffer When Christians Stay Silent, he said: “Today, we are in the darkest days since our Civil War. Our enemy is not an army or air force of a foreign power. The enemy is invisible, evil, and its enemy is our Judeo-Christian heritage. Its weaponry system is humanistic in every sense of the word. Like other militaries in combat, their uniforms are camouflaged to fit the battlefield.
The enemy we face today also has a uniform different from a military uniform. The uniform of this enemy is unique and deceptive. It's the uniform of media, public education, politicians, the court of law, and the religion of Islam. Together, these armies have formed a 21st century axis to destroy Christianity in our nation. They have a blatant hatred for God which spreads across America like frosting on a warm cake. This battlefield is not Gettysburg. The battlefield is every home in America. Gay marriage, legalization of drugs, persecution of our children in public schools, abortion, revision of our great history in education, and so many more. The family is part of God's great plan for humanity, and it's being destroyed in America today. America can turn around, but not without the leadership of her pastors. It's time for pastors to take their appointed responsibilities and make a stand to take our great nation back, by demanding an end to the blatant persecution of Christians across our land. It's time to stop running, and hold the ground our Heavenly Father has given to us. For whom much has been given, much will be required. It's time for pastors across America to pick up this torch, and bring back to America a nation hearing the truth, and our civic responsibilities. We cannot do this without your participation. This must be a united effort. If God be for us, who would be against us?”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/america-church-suffer-when-christians-stay-silent-91762/#VUk17kkGzzT3Us52.99
I believe we have many pastors in America who are focused with faithful commitment to the call of God in their lives and who are worthy of Christ as they carry their cross; however I also believe that there are many pastors who are as false teachers or who are not worthy of Christ as a follower. I also believe there are many who are saved and are worthy of Christ revealed by their faithful commitment to the call of God upon their lives and the manner in which they have taken their cross and carry it; however, I also believe there are many who are not worthy of Christ due to a lack of faithful commitment to the call
of God on their lives. Let me confess that I have been guilty of not being worthy of Christ as a follower with what I have failed to do with my cross. I do now dedicate myself that through Christ, I will become worthy by the grace of God of the call of God upon my life and the carrying of my cross as commanded by Jesus. So I write this with two forms in mind: (1) encouragement to those who are faithful and committed to the call of God in their lives and (2) warning and challenge to those who are not. My prayer is that there be continual introspection by all of our commitment to follow Christ and to purpose in our heart a renewed commitment to the cost of following Christ. Let us be reminded of the crisis that not only America but all nations face today and not only nations but each and every individual. The enemy of God and the enemy of our souls is Satan and he seeks continually who he can devour and destroy.
America and all nations of the world needs voices..not silence. In 2004, there was a prayer given in Kansas at the opening of a session in the Senate. This prayer was given by Pastor Joe Wright. Everyone was expecting the usual generalities but this is what they heard:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done...
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and call it Pluralism.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Very briefly this is what followed: The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. The prayer of Pastor Joe Wright is the horrifying truth about America. The United States has deteriorated into a large Sodom and Gomorrah! America is a land of Evils! Why should God bless America?
It is sad to see how drastically our nation has morally deteriorated and turned from God over the past 40+ years. It is the duty of the Church to speak out against innocent bloodshed and to defend the helpless, but also the already awful consequences realized by the Church for not taking action sooner and the horrific consequences which would one day befall our posterity and our land if the Church remained silent. It is tragic that American pastors and their people have so much trouble finding their voices and their courage in the face of pure evil and looming disaster.
In an article written by Pastor Ralph Ovadal that appeared in The Covenant News in November 2002 entitled Why Is the Church Silent…Again he said: “In the last two decades, a New Sodom has grown up in our midst. In spite of what the Bible says about contending for the faith, reproving the unfruitful works of darkness, hating evil, and standing against the wicked; in spite of the awful historical examples we have of Sodom unchained, beginning with Genesis, chapters 18 and 19; in spite of the brazen fashion in which Sodom's heirs are publicly vandalizing and mocking the Word of God; in spite of the obvious duty we Christians, especially pastors, have to stand against the unbelievable filth, lawlessness, and tyranny of the sodomites, the Church of Jesus Christ, as a whole, is virtually silent once more! She was silent when the law codes prohibiting sodomy were taken off of the books in most states. She was silent when sexual orientation was added to non-discrimination statutes in many states. She was silent as sexual perverts began parading in the streets during "gay pride" month to show their sin as Sodom. She was silent when open sodomites began running for public office. She was silent when sodomites started adopting children. She was silent when "gay theologians" and their friends began wresting the Word of God in order to claim homosexuality is not a sin but is in fact an activity blessed of the Lord. She was silent when a new "gay" denomination called the Metropolitan Community Church was birthed and began spreading.
She has been silent as mainline denominational churches have brazenly boasted of their "open and affirming" policy toward sexual perversion. She has been silent as the sodomite propagandists engage in the worst sort of demagoguery and intimidation to shame and confuse the general public into accepting and affirming "gay and lesbian" youth. She has been silent as tax money has been used by the Public Broadcast System and the government school system to brainwash Americans into accepting and embracing homosexuality. In the face of daily gains by the heirs of Sodom, the vast, vast majority of local churches and pastors have been, and to this day remain, publicly silent. Silent, silent, silent . . . deadly silent. If things do not change, I fear the only way the Church may wake up is when they hear the clanking of their own chains, riven in place by a cadre of sexually perverse task masters wearing pink swastikas. History, observation, common sense, and most importantly of all, God's Holy Writ all dictate that the local churches must take concerted action and raise a righteous roar against the lies being daily spewed out and the atrocious acts being daily played out across our land by the champions of perversion. Why is the Church silent? For what are the pastors waiting? Do they expect the "pro-family movement" to do their job for them? Are they expecting, in spite of their public silence, revival to sweep through the streets of New Sodom and its suburbs? If so, they would do well to consider the all-important question, "How shall they hear without a preacher?" If the pastors of this land continue to act like Lot, living in vexed but silent coexistence with a growing legion of sexual perverts, they should be prepared to end up like Lot—pathetically, impotently whining to a howling sodomite mob, "I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly." They should also expect their children and grandchildren to grievously suffer for the silence of their fathers and grandfathers.
Have pastors, and Christians in general, adopted the attitude of some of the Corinthian Christians Paul acidly rebuked? Do they have the notion that being silent in the face of a vicious assault upon righteousness and truth is somehow a holy act? The enemies of God, and of our families, have in this case not only slapped the Church in the face, but they have also kicked her pastors in the pants and spit upon the Word of our God! They have boldly preached that evil is good and good is evil; they have legislated immorality; they have taken truth hostage; they have rewritten the Bible; they are training up a cadre of corrupt "theologians" to spread their vicious lies in the Name of Christ; they have brainwashed a generation of children; and they are thumbing their noses at the blood-washed followers of Jesus Christ with full confidence that the sleeping giant is a selfish pygmy with a crisis of confidence in the Word of God and God the Word along with no inclination to do anything about anything New Sodom sets its mind to do next. The tragedy is that thus far they are right!”
It is my belief that we do have many pastors and their congregation members who are in fact speaking out against the enemies of God; however the voices are relatively small. As I began this article with the thought of John the Baptist we would all do well to be as he was in the face of those who called evil good and good is evil. John was not silent when he came face to face with Herod and his sinful ways. John knew very well what price he might pay for not being silent. The time is well overdue for all who are followers of Christ to take a public stand against sin no matter what the cost may be. Love will rebuke evil, but will not rejoice in it. Love will be impatient of sin, but patient with the sinner. When will the true shepherds of God confront the howling wolves who boldly declare that they speak the Word of God in the Name of Christ? When will the leadership of local churches, the elders and pastors, sit down and, by the Lord's leading, work out a plan to consistently and publicly tell the truth about homosexuality and confront those in their area who champion those acts labeled by God as abominable, lawless, unnatural, and filthy? What is so difficult about local churches consistently airing truth in the theater of operations which God has trusted to their care? Surely Christ's charge to us, his disciples, that we "teach all nations . . . to observe all things whatsoever" He has commanded must include making it crystal clear to the world what the Bible says about homosexual acts, how that revealed Law of God should be expressed in civil law, and what will happen to our nation if it is not!
When will we take our cross and boldly proclaim to the world…Repent?!! When will we become faithfully committed to the call of God in our lives and with singular purpose of mission publically stand against that which is sin. Jesus carried the cross for you and for me in order that we may carry our cross to follow him.
I believe the answer to the question why the church is silent again is to be found in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 where Jesus speaks about all who are followers of Christ today. We find written the seven letters dictated to John by Jesus to the seven churches. Since both the challenge and promise with which each letter ends are personal rather than corporate, the letters were for individuals as well as congregations. Letter 1-To the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7): (Criticism) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. (Admonition) Remember the height from which you have fallen! (Challenge) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Letter 2-To the church in Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11): (Admonition) Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. From history we know the ten days refers to the reigns of 10 Roman Caesars, covering a period of 250 years.
(Call) Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Challenge) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Letter 3-To the church in Pergamum (Rev. 2:12-17): (Criticism 1) Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. These were actual physical sins in the time of Balaam but here are mentioned in the spiritual sense. Idol worship can be anything you venerate, whether a false god or part of creation or material possessions. When intended symbolically, as it is here, sexual immorality stands for the worship of another god. (Criticism 2) Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. These pagan practices crept into the church at Pergamum, just as they had in Ephesus. (Call) Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Challenge) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Letter 4-To the church in Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29): (Criticism) Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. Jezebel was also the patron of the 450 prophets of Baal who Elijah slew on Mt. Carmel. The Lord views idolatry as infidelity and Jezebel had encouraged the worship of Baal, leading the people into spiritual adultery. (Admonition) So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Call) Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. (Challenge) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Letter 5-To the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6): (Criticism) I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Admonition) Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. (Call) Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Call) Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Challenge) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Letter 6-To the church in Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13): Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Call) I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Challenge) Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Promise) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Letter 7-To the church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22): (Criticism) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.
But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. The fire of the Spirit had gone from the Church in Laodicea leaving its members engaged in “form without substance” ritual. Not that they minded. They were happy as clams with their no commitment, no responsibility religion. So it is in much of the emergent church today. They look like a church and do some things that a church does, but you won’t detect the power of the Holy Spirit there and the gospel of our salvation is only obvious by its absence. Even though their congregations are often large and well financed, their spiritual condition is one of poverty.(Admonition) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Call) Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Challenge) To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
It is my prayer that all who are true Christians and followers of Christ and find one or more of these criticisms in our lives will heed the call and challenge given us in these letters. It is my hope we will be silent no more and at any cost will speak boldly, loudly, and without ceasing against sin. Let us be as salt and light to all and with boldness and uncompromising purpose carry our cross always remembering Jesus Christ who carried the cross of our sins and salvation by mercy and grace.
The Church is silent again as we continue to elect politicians that carry their anti-God agendas with them into public office; when we fail to speak through the media with an onslaught to repent; when we fear the mighty ACLU and the liberal media and politicians by not publically confronting them; when we fear losing our jobs/careers by speaking out; when we fear the might of our government and the IRS against church leaders if we fail to remain silent; when we believe the enemy of God is greater than God; when we compromise our faith in Christ; we are silent again as we were when abortion was in the process of being legalized; when prayer was removed from the schools; when we fail to pray without ceasing we are silent again. Too many Christians in America are infected with the complacent disease that allows the rebellion and sin virus to spread as the plague it is in the souls of America without being confronted and called to Repent?
For comments/critique contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org