A Call for the Next Great Awakening
Evangelicalism is dying. The glory of God is ready to depart. As a movement, we’re growing more and more content in the world. Rather than prefer to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, far too many of us prefer to be present with the body and with our future plans. We attend church. But mainly our interest is to learn how to improve our own lots in life.
We’re repeating the error of the impenitent thief on the cross to whom Jesus was only a matter of convenience. You can hear it in our prayers. Entreaties and petitions that once reflected verses of the Bible are now strangely at odds with Holy writ. The way He taught us to pray, with hearts submitted to his Kingdom rule, are more and more becoming images of modern man and his quest for successful living.
What has become of the spirit of brokenness and humility in our churches? We are forgetting to bow the knee. What has happened to the cry of the penitent thief who, in all unassuming contrition, cried from the depths of his sin-sick soul, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” We are forgetting we are thieves. Daily repentance and walking in true faith and holiness before God are being pushed aside to make room for the idols of personal relevance and the settled life.
What has become of our commitment to the crucified life? Have we forgotten His promise that we’ll be persecuted for the sake of righteousness? To scores of Protestants the cross is a symbol, but that is all. What was once our joy to bear His cross turned to apprehension of it, and in our apprehension of it, we soon came to revile the very thought of losing face for His gospel. We are losing our saltiness.
Once there was a highway to heaven, full of born again souls set on pilgrimage to their heavenly Zion, a place not of this world. But now the highway is quickly being paved over with the veneer of casual Christianity. Other than the remaining trappings of ecclesiastical tradition found in some of our churches, or the name of Jesus heard through the loud speakers of culturally sensitive extravaganzas called worship services found in others, very little evidence remains in the evangelical movement of what might be coined “evangelical.”
A once powerful advance of bold, gospel proclamation, of men and woman pouring out their hearts and souls in prayer to God, of a willingness to be a peculiar people amidst a world that knows not God, retains but the shell of its former self.
What is the cause of our sickness?
Evangelical leaders, and their followers, are relinquishing their commitment to the fundamentals of the Bible in order to induce church growth regardless of the cost to the purity of the Church.
As a result, though many of our churches look prosperous on the outside, they are dying on the inside. What’s so very sad is how few know it, and if they do know it, are unwillingly to admit it.
As the culture continues to disintegrate, the choice before the minister of the gospel has been made simple. Either stick to the power of the gospel to change lives or allow the culture to dictate the rules of engagement. Unfortunately, more and more church leaders are choosing the latter course of action.
As homosexuality is gaining momentum within the evangelical churches, we can only expect a further capitulation to the culture. It all started when pulpits provided no absolutes, no final word, no line in the sand, and no “thus sayeth the Lord.” Pastors who lead these churches elude the “shalts” and “shalt nots” of Scripture with a skill reminiscent of master sailors circumventing the isles of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay.
In all, the evangelical movement is gradually relinquishing its role as guardian of God’s truth and is becoming more a mere facilitator of the seeker, whose interest in spiritual things is limited to limply exploring the meaning and relevance of the Christian experience for his felt needs. We are witnessing a redefining of biblical Christianity right in front of our noses.
Nonetheless, there is hope. The remnant can rebuild the ancient walls. Together we can foster a new future of revival and reformation. Like Nehemiah, Paul, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, George Whitefield, and the many faithful pastors who today still fight for biblical truths, we must nurture biblical Christianity where others have abandoned it in pursuit of celebrity and large congregations at any cost. We will not get our pictures on the cover of a famous Christian magazine. But at least we can look ourselves in the mirror.
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