- Nancey McMurtry
- December 12, 2020
For some years now I have felt prompted to pray for the Church universal, and especially the Church in the US, on a continuous basis. To me it seems that there has been no consistent strong voice from the Church speaking to the nation regarding morality, sin, the need for repentance and a return to God. Yes, I am glad to say there have been pockets of this message, but not as many as one would hope for.
When COVID hit the Nation and godless, corrupt governors and mayors began imposing uncalled for restrictions on churches and synagogues, labeling them as “non-essential”, I thought okay, here we go. The churches will finally stand up and draw the line. Again, a small minority did resist, and they are now in the forefront of lawsuits filed to protect religious liberty. The majority of churches went along without protest.
About a month ago I was sitting and thinking through the current situation concerning the church. I simply asked the question: why is the Church so devoid of truth and passion? Unbidden, the thought popped into my head, too many people who call themselves Christians are living out their lives as though the resurrection never happened. Therefore, the power and authority conferred to the Church following the resurrection does not exist within it. The Church as a whole does not recognize that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Mark 1:15 tells us: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (NAS95)
Congregants within the Church are failing to truly believe the three-great works of God that have brought us to where we are - creation; the coming of Jesus into the world through a virgin birth; and the resurrection of Christ from the grave.
You simply cannot believe in the Resurrection if you do not believe the first two. If God is not the Creator, why would He feel any affinity for fallen man and put a plan of salvation into effect? In addition, from what standard would man have fallen? If it was not God’s standard that was violated why is a reconciliation with God needed? Why would it be necessary for Jesus to be born on Earth as a sinless baby?
If you do not believe in a personal Creator God and Jesus’ sinless incarnation why would you believe in a literal crucifixion and explosive resurrection from the dead? The sad truth is you would not; and many do not.
According to Pew Research in a poll taken in 2014:
Christians, who make up a majority of U.S. adults (71%), are divided over how to interpret the Bible. While about four-in-ten Christians (39%) say the Bible’s text is the Word of God and should be taken as inerrant, 36% say it should not be interpreted as inerrant or express another or no opinion. A separate 18% of Christians view the Bible as a book written by men, not God.
That was in 2014. I dare say that the numbers are lower today for people who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. What has changed the minds of “believers” over the years? As has been well documented in this newsletter, creation has been under attack for centuries. Satan has been waging the creation-evolution war since the Garden of Eden. Next it was the virgin birth that came under fire. Finally, if you can get large numbers of Christians to ignore the power of the resurrection Satan can keep the Church from rising up and retaking the nations.
I recently read an article in the American Family Association Journal entitled Calling Good Evil and Evil Good within the Church. The article itself was directed toward sexual ethics and sin within the Church, but it quoted Apologist Dr James White whose views and words were pertinent to a far greater number of problems within the Church.
Dr. White observed that when churches collapse, they do so because their view of Scripture has already collapsed. “They’ve abandoned the firm foundation of Scripture until the only thing left is for people to believe what they want to believe.” Further, “If you are not worshipping your Creator, you’re going to end up worshipping yourself…
In other words, the Pulpit has failed the Church. I believe it is worth repeating a quote from Charles G. Finney (1792 - 1875), a leader in the Second Great Awakening:
“Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours to a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren, but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.” Dec. 4, 1843
Even more damaging is the fact that members supposedly representing the Church itself have directly assaulted the resurrection.
I read a book of fiction recently where the author blamed the persecution of the Jews from the time of the crucifixion through the present day on the words of the New Testament found in Mathew 27:25:
“And all the people said, ‘His blood shall be on us and on our children!’” (NASB)
He then tried to disprove the crucifixion and the resurrection throughout the plot of the book and explained in the notes following the book that he had read hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and a number of books written by “Christian scholars” who did not believe in the gospels and contended that they were works of literature and certainly did not believe that either the crucifixion or the resurrection as described by the Gospels had ever taken place.
This is just one more recent example of the modern culture war that has been going on for at least 20 years to disprove the resurrection. The problem is, where does this waning belief in the resurrection leave the church? If the Church does not know Christ in the power of His resurrection, what other Christ is there to know? The answer is NONE.
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:6-12 (NASB)
The sure knowledge of the resurrection emboldened the disciples and broke any reticence they had previously held about preaching and proclaiming Jesus the Savior and Christ the risen Lord. Living in the power and authority of the resurrection seems to mean that a Christian may undertake any mission or ministry directed by the Lord without fear and go at it whole heartedly knowing that God has ensured our life by the fact of the resurrection. That certainly was the example and pattern set by the Apostles and the early Church.
The Church today seems to have lost the firm belief in the resurrection and scurries about in timid ways so as to not upset its congregations or the civil authorities. It is far past the time when the Church must decide what it truly believes.
Is it the Gospel or another gospel? Is the resurrection Truth or a myth? The Church cannot afford to lose what has been given to it, but its existence depends on finding again a belief and dependence on a resurrected Christ who is leading His Church in all things.
Matthew 28:18-19 (NASB) says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, ...”
If ALL power has been given to Jesus following His resurrection, then ALL power is behind the Church to fulfill its Commission.
Act like it.