Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Because Someone Should Say It, Already

Well then... it's time to vent. Or rant, or something a long those lines. Maybe it's just a matter of saying what ought to be said, since there's this pesky little tradition of knowing the big ole elephant is sitting in the room and folks just want to tippy toe right past it and chit chat about the weather. I really dislike that, it seems so phoney.

In short, in numerous ways, the evangelical church is in a sorry, pathetic state. Inclusivism, ecumenism, cultural relativism, wimping out, watering down, and on it goes. Allow me to share some quotes that have stood out to me over the last few days:

"We must resist the tendency to be absorbed into the fads and fashions of worldly thought. We need to emphasize, not downplay, what makes Christianity unique. And in order to do that effectively, we need to have a better grasp of how worldly thought is threatening sound doctrine in the church. We must be able to point out just where the narrow way diverges from the broad way." - John MacArthur
"As Christians we must understand that whatever opposes God’s Word or departs from it in any way is a danger to the very cause of truth. Passivity toward known error is not an option for the Christian. Staunch intolerance of error is built into the very fabric of Scripture. And tolerance of known error is anything but a virtue." - John MacArthur
"We must all ask ourselves in the blogosphere, when a media firestorm is created by a Christian spokesperson, has it been because of ones faith in Jesus, standing strong for His truth, or heralding Christ and Him crucified; or some lesser issue? It's easy to attract a crowd. Spurgeon one time remarked: if you want to draw a crowd, pour kerosene on yourself, strike a match, set yourself on fire, and people will come from miles around just to see you burn." - Steve Camp
"Yesterday four radical judicial revolutionaries decided to overthrow centuries of practice and law and create a monstrosity called "gay marriage." No such thing exists. That is like a round square, or a light of darkness. Marriage is not defined by judges who believe themselves free to create new realities. Marriage is a divine institution. But yesterday, the far-reaching proclamation (it wasn't a decision) of the CA Supreme Court made historic and biblical Christianity officially bigoted by granting civils rights on the basis of deviant sexual practice." - James White

You may be wondering what these three brothers, or these four quotes have in common (since they do appear to be somewhat diverse in topic). The common factor in these quotes and with these brothers is that they do not shy away from the elephant in the room. They address it with grace and with truth and with firm conviction that the Bible is the measuring rod by which all Christian faith and practice ought to be followed by professing believers.

Another common factor among these brothers (and they're not the only ones, there are others, thankfully) is that it doesn't take much googling to find plenty of criticism of all of them, for having the audacity to declare God's truth, God's way. They're accused of being unfairly harsh, judgemental, divisive, mean, rude, old fashioned, out of touch, etc. so on and so forth.

In my opinion, the attitude these men come to the table with is the attitude the evangelical church needs a lot more of, not less of. There is a lot of garbage filtering through the doors of evangelical churches, and we need more men like this who aren't afraid to call it what it is, tell us why it's garbage, and exhort us to keep the trash where trash belongs - instead of trying to be non-confrontational and attempting to find some redeeming quality of trash that we can all "appreciate" and learn from.

I love what John MacArthur said here:

"Truth and error cannot be combined to yield something beneficial."

and then again here:

"If we really believe the Word of God is true, we know that everything opposing it is error. And we are to yield no ground whatsoever to error" (source)

Incredibly enough, there are a lot of Christians that will run the other way from this. Being intolerant of error is not something they themselves are willing to do, nor is it something they support when other Christians do it. And then when we look up and look around at the direction of the local church and the monumental amounts of unsound teachings and teachers within it, how can we dare to question how it came to be?

Many years ago I heard a pro-life message from a woman who summed it all up for that issue (as well as this one) when she said "silence is consent". When the leaders of the evangelical church are unwilling to stand when standing is needed, speak up when speaking is needed, and refute false teaching when that is needed, what we end up with is a wimpy, tolerant, fluffy, erroneous version of what used to be a strong Christian voice in local communities.

As MacArthur pointed out in his recent post "Now is not the time to make friends with the world. It is certainly no time to capitulate to worldly cries for ecumenism and inclusivism." I would also add, that now is not the time to run from confrontation of error in our church in any form. Now is the time to speak up with grace and with truth and combat it with sound Biblical doctrine.

There's a generation coming up after us. What will the evangelical church look like in 20 years if we just sit silently by, looking for things to "appreciate" among the vast amounts of error? While I am grateful for people like John MacArthur, Steve Camp, James White, Phil Johnson, Albert Mohler and others who take the same stand they do, I'm afraid they are in the minority, as our "culture shift" is sliding straight into some sort of wimpy, watered-down, effeminate, group-hugging, Kumbaya-singing version of what the Scriptures say a real church and real leaders should look and sound like.

I'd like to say I feel better after this rant, but quite truthfully, the idea of where the evangelical church is heading with such aversion to standing on solid truth, gives me the creeps. May the tribe of bold men with courage to speak God's truth in God's way, increase in great abundance.

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