The Retreating Church

I ran across an article in WorldNet Daily this morning that both saddened and angered me; however, it didn’t surprise me. It was one more demonstration of how far the worldwide church has drifted away from the truth of the Bible. So-called Christians continue to cede ground to the world,  with a ‘go along to get along’ mindset.

The subject of the article is Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church, who is quoted as teaching that Christians should not ‘actively proselytize’ non-Christians, most notably Muslims.

Welby said that Christians should be more concerned about “respect for the other,” and start by “listening before you speak.” They should offer “love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element, on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith.”

The article identifies other denominational leaders who essentially echo the same sentiment. A German pastor is quoted as saying, “everyone is a child of God”, so evangelism among  Muslim refugees entering Germany who come to their church is ‘verboten.’ In America, groups which contract with the government to provide resettlement services for the refugees have to agree not to proselytize; these groups include agencies affiliated with the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Jewish and evangelical Christian faiths.

There is a seductiveness about this attitude. It’s easy. It contains elements of truth, but wraps them in a convenient, comfortable package that allows us to avoid confrontation and yet convince ourselves that we truly love others. ‘Love’ has been defined down to mean that the church is nothing more than a glorified social service agency, imbued with political correctness that allows it to get along with the world. We have become the church of Laodicea seen in Revelation 3.

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God says this: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and poor and blind and naked.

Author and Bible teacher Joel Richardson puts it this way:

“The message of the world to the Church today is essentially this: ‘Shut…up and go feed the poor!’ The spirit of the age is well pleased when Christians engage in productive social action but remain quiet concerning the reality of sin and the need of all men and women to repent.”

Jesus leaves no room for such compromise. “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Failure to teach that truth speaks volumes about our faith and commitment to Christ. We are still under the command to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:16). Whether it is cowardice, laziness, a love of the world, or a lack of belief that Christ meant what He said, the Church failing in its primary mission to make disciples for Christ.
We need to remind ourselves of Christ’s requirements for discipleship: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). For Jesus, the cross meant rejection, humiliation and death. Many of the early Christians were willing to suffer the same fate. Their concern was for the truth of the Gospel, not how  it would be received by the world around them. In our arrogance, we think tolerance is superior to truth; we have no right to force our beliefs on anyone else, unless they ask first. We comfort ourselves with the rationalization that ‘everyone is a child of God’ and ‘there are many ways to find God’. The logical conclusion to those arguments is that God is whatever we decide He or She is. We are the Creator: God is our own creation.
We stand in danger of God’s judgment; we are in imminent peril of being ‘spit out.’ If we aren’t willing to be the Church as described in the New Testament and be uncompromising in calling people to repentance and obedience,  we need to stop insulting Christ and call ourselves by some other name.