February 2004 – A friend of mine went to see the doctor some years back. He didn’t want to hear what the doctor told him. And I doubt very seriously that the doctor looked forward to telling my friend the bad news. But he did tell him and my friend did listen. He was told he had cancer.
None of us want to hear bad news. None of us want to believe it. But truth is true and we best listen to it and act on it. Unfortunately, like Armenian King Tigranes the Great, if we don’t like the message, we are often inclined to kill the messenger.
As we move toward the 27th anniversary of AFA, I guess it is time to reiterate something that I have said for the last 20 years. There is the possibility that I may make some, perhaps many, angry.
For me, the easy thing to do would be to ignore what I’m going to say. Just forget it. Why bother when I know that it will bring a negative reaction?
I do not consider myself a prophet. I do not consider myself to be wiser than others. I guess the only thing that sets me apart is that I have more than a quarter of a century of experience in dealing with the problem.
And just what is the problem, the bad news? Basically this: our country is on a downward spiral of immorality like none we have ever seen before. Special rights for homosexuals have become the latest project for Hollywood and the liberal elite. Pornography fills our Internet, our TVs, our movies. Killing of the unborn continues unabated with our younger generation calling it murder but, in the same breath, saying it should be legal.
Drugs rape and ravage our society. Promiscuous sexual activity is a game. Public education, to a large degree, is deteriorating in a continual exercise of political correctness. Violence is a means of resolving an argument or just an activity for sheer enjoyment. The institution of marriage is under severe attack.
And who is to blame for this downward spiral? It isn’t the pornographers. It isn’t Hollywood or the liberal elite. It isn’t Planned Parenthood. It isn’t the people who make the guns. It isn’t the people who run our schools. It isn’t the drug dealers. They’re only doing what is expected of them. Unfortunately, we Christians are not.
As the comic character Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Am I saying that we as individuals have caused all this moral decay? No. Absolutely not! But what I am saying is that we collective Christians – members of the Church – have retreated into our houses of worship and turned them into houses of comfort. Those of us who stand in the pulpit and sit in the pew have withdrawn from the public square so much and so often that we are no longer allowed in the public square.
Am I painting with a broad brush? Sure I am. Am I indicting everyone who calls himself a Christian? Of course not. But I am saying, taken as a whole, we have abandoned our responsibility to society.
Our efforts have basically been designed to make Christianity popular and comfortable. And in the process we are no longer salt and light. We have built our buildings, hosted our activities, boasted of our numbers and sought endless ways to entice people to join our church. We have, to a very large degree, turned our efforts to getting people into church instead of getting the Church into people.
Is there still time to turn this ship around? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain. The Church can’t do it by following the path we have been on for the past half-century.
If you are one who stands behind the pulpit or sits in the pew, take a long look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the question: “Is he talking about me?”
Am I writing this to make someone angry? No. Am I writing it with the hope that it will make someone take inventory and get involved? Yes.
Let me close by speaking to myself. You can personalize what I have to say if you desire. Individually I can’t do everything. But I can do something. And by the grace of God I will do what I can. And I will start today.