Beloved, last week was a wrecking ball of a week in our culture. I want to be honest with you: let’s not pretend that this is just another transition of power for I believe it is not. I have been a student of politics and this is unlike any of the transitions in the modern era. Something has happened to us as a nation, in part, I believe, because something has happened to us as a church.
Now, established in many levels of government are elected officials who have expressed or demonstrated antagonism towards: the Church and its worship, the unborn and their protection, the gospel and its promotion.
In many of these elected officials, there is evidence of criminal conduct, unethical practices and inclinations towards personal gain. That isn’t new, but now, through many of these elected officials, the philosophies of man that are directly and openly antagonistic towards the gospel have open doors for influence. Philosophies such as “critical race theory” and “intersectionality” that promote a victimization mindset and open rebellion against all established norms as a policy including, e.g., tearing down statues, riots, “defund the police” and shutting down worship in churches.
However, lest we believe our troubles are only found there, we have to recognize that we as a church have for too long given up our prophetic voice in our culture, buying into pragmatic ends that aren’t truly consistent with God’s word and His kingdom. For example, whereas at one time we judged men unfit to serve by their immorality, many have revised their views and now baptize anything that can bring benefit to our flesh: our retirement, our comfort and our health.
It strikes me that at almost every level, the nation is divided. How have we become this way? Beloved, the church is not innocent. We have not always served the disadvantaged, advocated for the downtrodden, acted for the good of a person’s soul rather than his psychological well-being. It is complicated to live as salt and light in our culture and we have not been too terribly successful.
In short, now we are reaping in our culture what has been sown since the American Revolution, the Enlightenment, the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, the Moral Majority of the 1980’s and the ubiquity of the Internet. Additionally, the havoc wreaked by COVID-19, the opportunism of many in politics as a result, the fear and panic it has engendered in our population, all point to the same thing: as a culture we are no longer anchored to the transcendent. Every man is doing what is right in his own eyes and not the Lord’s. And, beloved, we are too often guilty.
So, now more than ever, the church of Christ must be a praying church. Our prayers, however, must be proper before the Lord. All along, He has been building His kingdom, a kingdom that stands apart from the kingdoms of men. Must we pray that our government, academia and entertainment reform and return to promoting what is good? Absolutely. Every day.
But, the trajectory revealed to us in the book of Revelation indicates our culture will descend away more and more from seeking the Lord and promoting the good. If we are going to penetrate the culture effectively with the gospel, we must not be ignorant but we must be prayerful. That:
- All faithful citizens, Christians whose allegiance is to the Lord come hell or high water, would be men and women of godliness, compassion, service and courage.
- All believers would not be fearful or silent but winsome and joyful witnesses in all our spheres of influence.
- God would strengthen His church to be a place of refuge, wholeness and “home” to our culture as it decays into violence.
- The church would be truly discerning promoting what is good and praiseworthy, turning away from idols and temporal promises.
Beloved, this is no time for fear. But it is also no time for pining after a time in our country when (we think) things were better. Our cultural rot has deepened and it needs the church to be free from it, finding our home and hope instead in Jesus Christ. The culture needs to “kiss the Son” (Psalm 2:12) but so does the church! It needs us now more than it ever has. And the gifts of God in the Word, the Church and the Spirit are more than adequate to meet this cultural challenge. Let us ask the Lord to fill us with His Spirit that we might be the church our generation needs.