This has been a week where I’ve scratched my head and wondered, “What in the world is going on in the Church? What are we thinking?”? If I read Scripture right, then those of us who call ourselves “Christians” are to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14)?That calling from God makes sense to me as I live in a tasteless and dark world.
After what I’ve been reading and hearing this week it seems to me that church buildings keep going up all across America, but the lights are off. We’ve got beautiful buildings, but no power. We’ve sold out to society. We are listening to what those in our society want rather than what God commands. Our mission statement is no longer the Great Commandment or the Great Commission but, “Do whatever it takes to be as attractive to the world as possible.”?
Maybe you haven’t been reading the paper or listening to the news this week and you are wondering what I’m talking about. Well, let me give you a few samples, all of which have taken place this week.
First, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), on Monday of this week, voted at their National Assembly in Birmingham, AL to “receive” the recommendation for new language to describe the Trinity. Article from a newspaper writes,
The divine Trinity ? ?Father, Son and Holy Spirit? ? could also be known as ?Mother, Child and Womb? or ?Rock, Redeemer, Friend? at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church?s national assembly.
“Mother, Child, and Womb?”? Which verse in the Bible led to that decision?? If that were not enough the leaders of the denomination then voted to allow congregations to hire?homosexual clergy. The Presbyterians weren’t alone in this decision. The Associated Press reported on June 20th.
In Ohio, Episcopal delegates snubbed Anglican leaders’ request to temporarily stop electing gay bishops, a vote that could hasten a break with Anglicans worldwide. A few hours later, the Presbyterian Church USA, at a separate meeting in Alabama, approved a plan to let local congregations hire gay ministers even though it’s against church law.
The new presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Dr. Katherine Schori, gave her first sermon after being elected to such an important leadership position. What the title of her sermon? Can’t tell you. What Scripture did she use? It wasn’t reported. What was reported was one paragraph of her sermon. Here it is: ?Mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation ? and you and I are His children. If we?re going to keep on growing into Christ images for the world around us, we?re going to have to give up fear.?
“Mother Jesus?”? What Bible is she reading? At the same time that I’ve heard these stories this week I’ve also heard about a huge church here in town that is considering doing away with baptism because it has become a “rite of initiation” more than anything else. Lord help us.
I believe with all of my heart that there has never been a better time for the Church in America. Each and every day I run into folks who are hurting, struggling, groping about in the dark. They’ve tried the thiigs offered by world, they’ve sought fulfillment in the things the world suggests will fill them up and make them happy, and they have found them empty. Absolutely empty!? Why would we want to accomodate the world when Jesus said that He has come to give life and to give it in abundance? We need to stick to the Word of God. We don’t need to be creative in how to communicate the timeless truths of God’s Word. God’s Word is its own authority. It is “living and active” and able lead us like nothing else.
With all of the craziness going on in the Church in our day I want to urge you to stick to the Book. God’s Word, not some General Assembly or denominational body, is our final Word.