Wednesday, May 24, 2006welcome to dead land...
Things are bad, and there are getting worse.
This view is not a surprising revelation to anyone who have been reading my blog over the last year. I have often pointed to world events showing how progressively more wicked the world is becoming, but that isn't the point of this post. No, I'm afraid the point is far more disturbing, and even, grievous.
The church is withering away... without question.
I speak out of pure observation. The northern states of the USA, Eastern and Central Canada, these regions that I am well aware of, are dying spiritually. My observations? Good, sound local churches are starving financially due to a lack of membership; other local churches are compromising with liberal philosophies and doctrines; and others still are disappearing completely, just closing down.
Yes, some local assemblies are growing, but that is NOT a sign of prosperity.
Many challenge my position with: "But there are plenty of churches who are doing quite well! Such and such church actually has 3 services every Sunday!" The answer to this challenge is simple: what is the doctrinal statement of these assemblies? Let's just say that I have serious doubts that these assemblies have clear and defined positions on matters of soteriology, eschatology or Bible versions. It is also a sure bet that these assemblies are, in one way or another, involved in ecumenism. In other words, these "churches" are messed up free-for-alls that usually end up going totally liberal, or eventually split up due to doctrinal strife.
A church that does well is one that is in-line with Acts 20:27. When declaring the WHOLE counsel of God is neglected for the sakes of a warped version of "unity", things are no longer Biblical; which means you can forget about spiritual prosperity.
Salt and light? All I'm seeing is hard ground and pitch darkness.
Why is this happening? Why are sound, fundamental churches dying? Why are liberal, compromising assemblies prospering? Simple. Weak and compromising Christians are leaving fundamentalism for something "lighter". The problem is, "lighter" means less saltiness, and the dimming of the light (Matthew 5:13-16).
I have seen all sorts of down right stupid programs in local assemblies to turn the nation to God, or to revive the church. Forget the "fundamental hard road" of preaching the gospel to every creature (that's way too humiliating and difficult!). No, no! Take a short-term mission trip to Morocco, or Argentina, or Jordan, hang out on a University campus and have "faith discussions" with students; or better still, help build a homeless shelter, or a church building. That will give you the "Great Commission badge" for your whole life.
With godly wisdom gone, there is only confusion of face.
I was visiting a Baptist church a couple of years ago. I was away from home on the Lord's Day, so I looked for the nearest Baptist church and headed for it. As I walked through the door, my eyes were drawn to a huge poster pinned up in the church lobby: "Join us on the trans-Canadian train expedition for Jesus!" The "expedition", according to the smaller print on the poster, was a literal train ride across the continent, where Christians would make several stops along the way to attend "Bible conferences" in ecumenical meetings, and by the end of the "expedition", these "Christians" would be so endowed with power from on high, they would turn Canada to God.
I walked right out of the local "church". A move I have not come to regret since in the years after this train expedition, Canada has started recognizing homosexual marriage, continued to remove all reference of God from public life, and has hardened itself in its godlessness. So much for "turning Canada to God" (I wonder if any of the "adventurers" asked to get their money back).
Not being grieved by this and getting comfort in God's ultimate victory is sin.
I will no doubt get e-mails and comments by callous souls who will quote that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), and that God, ultimately has the victory (Revelation 20-21). Indeed, God will be victorious, and all of God's elect will be saved, but to just shrug off what is happening to the church in North America today, and even, to go along with it, is absolutely abominable. Read what Ezra did when he heard of Israel's disobedience in Ezra 9... I assure you, he didn't just shrug off the situation.
Facing the facts: Rand's corner of the globe is "Dead Land".
And while things may be a bit different in Western Canada and the Southern US, I strongly doubt these places are in full spiritual prosperity; if anything, I'm pretty sure they are just as bad as us North-Easterners. This is an important fact to come to grips with. I mean, a patient has to first realize that he/she has a health problem before going to the ER. Things are not going to change in "Dead Land" until resident saints realize that they are indeed in "Dead Land", and that their behaviour is probably contributing to the spiritual deadness.
Revival is the only hope.
And no, revival isn't found on short-term mission trips, train rides, or the Alpha course. True, Biblical revival comes to people who humble themselves and diligently seek God's face. Consider some of the greatest revivals recorded in Scripture: Ezra 10, Jonah 3, and Acts 2. This is the only hope left for my part of the world, and it may be your only hope too, dear Christian reader.
Let us pray for this revival from the Lord, and let us honestly serve Him, giving Him our all. That is, after all, our reasonable service.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)
"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6)