Compromised Church

4 thoughts on “Compromised Church”

  1. You sound like A.W. Tozer in the little book our small group is reading slowly and painfully called “The Radical Cross”. And I mean that as a compliment!

  2. Lots of good things to think about here, Brian. Off the top of my head, here are a few thoughts that occur to me as I read this. As I have been spending a lot of time with my 23 year-old daughter and her friends, I have a lot of thoughts about these things from their perspective. First, we are living in a culture where we have seen so much abuse of scripture and spiritual manipulation by those in positions of power that it seems the more religious authority one has, the less a lay person is likely to believe what he or she has to say (at least an unchurched lay person; I fear it’s more true that I’d like to admit with those in church as well).

    Following on from this recent history of spiritual leaders who have used their positions and false interpretations of scripture to manipulate their people into the kind of behavior they desired, many young people feel that now they are back at the beginning, having to question even the most basic tenets of scripture. Of course they may be wasting time doing this, but they are also seeing a lot of hypocrisy as they are evaluating these things, and this is causing them to lose even more respect for the traditional views of the church. Some examples that come to mind immediately are when the church places an uneven emphasis on certain sins, making them appear unequal in severity. The pastor of a church filled with people who are gluttons, or where gossip is rampant, really has no credibility to speak out against any other sin if she isn’t confronting these things that are clearly problems in her community.

    I think in your first three paragraphs you probably have most people agreeing with you. The problem comes in your fourth paragraph, and stems from what I mentioned above. I disagree with your definition that tolerance equals celebration, but I suppose that depends on your definition of “celebration.” I think for many who are working through the issues of scripture, and are not as convinced in the absolutes as you are, their default position is that one cannot go wrong by showing love to others. Love is always the right thing. If someone is a glutton and I don’t confront him or her when I run into that person at the buffet, am I wrong? I don’t know. But I can’t be wrong to show that person love in that situation, can I? And if I am showing that person love in that situation, you might consider that I am celebrating their gluttony. In reality I would say that I am stepping back and leaving the judging to God. Obese people probably get plenty of judgment from everyone anyway, most of all from themselves. Is more pressure from me telling them that their behavior is something that is condemned in scripture really necessary? And if you chastise me for not confronting that person in that situation, it does feel like perhaps you are ungracious.

    I know that in this recent election I believe Christians did a lot of damage to the group we call Millennials. As they looked on at the way Christians behaved on both sides of the partisan lines in this past year, we appear to have been characterized by everything except love. We do certainly appear to have to have been influenced by the cultural overtones of the day, as you say. We have absolutely compromised the very things scripture says are non-negotiable—love for others, embracing the poor, the widows, the orphans—for our political ideology. We have become a reflection of the American way, and not only that, but we are pushing for laws that will continue to move us further away from love for our neighbor. God is fully capable of judgment; what I see lacking everywhere I turn is love. I don’t know how we restore our credibility in the eyes of our young people. I don’t know if we can. But one thing I agree with the kid my daughter’s age group—if I love God and others, I can’t go wrong.

    Thank God the Wesleyans exist to spread this message; may we be trustworthy with that mission. God’s best to you as you lead other in this endeavor!

    1. Great insight, Bruce. Thank you. I could have probably used the word “embrace” in place of “celebration”. I was attempting to differentiate between “accepting” something and “embracing” something.

      I have a 24 year old son and realize that Millennials have a different perspective on many issues today. My son and I talk about how confusing the current culture is. When we speak of the “power” of Jesus the idea seems foreign to him. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in such a thing it’s juts that he has never experienced it like we read about historically.

      My heart is to compassionately and lovingly speak to the life-transforming power of the risen savior. It seems that some have become afraid of certain words, and I understand why. I just don’t think overcorrecting the faults of fundamentalism will help move forward in a meaningful way.

      I really appreciate you sharing. You’ve given me something to think about. God bless you, Bruce.

    2. I appreciate your discernment of the present situation of the church, especially when you said, ” We have absolutely compromised the very things scripture says are non-negotiable—love for others, embracing the poor, the widows, the orphans—for our political ideology. We have become a reflection of the American way, and not only that, but we are pushing for laws that will continue to move us further away from love for our neighbor. God is fully capable of judgment; what I see lacking everywhere I turn is love.” I thank God that He is in throne and He always leaves a remnant that continues to be faithful to His words and cause. As He said talking with Elijah in I Kings 18″…“Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars. I am the only one left, and they are seeking my life as well”? And what was the divine reply to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” The church can change with the grace of God! Our God is a God of second chance as long we repent and seek Him as we should. He can restore the vision we need to fulfill His will.
      Bro. Gill

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