Let me start out by saying – I Could Be Wrong.
And I sincerely hope I am.
In other words – I’m a human being who can get things wrong. This is not the Word of God. This is the blog of one girl who loves her Savior and isn’t perfect.
But I have a growing concern about the Church.
As I pray over the growing division in the Church and the growing unrest in our society, I can’t help but be reminded of another time in history where much of the Church got it really wrong. And I keep asking myself: are we about to make the same mistake? Are we on the verge of doing the same thing?
After the downfall of the Third Reich and the end of WWII, a Pastor in Germany stood behind his podium and gave a heartfelt message to his stunned congregation.* This once “christian” nation was asking itself numerous questions.
How did we get here? What happened? What went wrong?
The Pastor’s answer: “Denying God and casting down the Cross of Christ.”
What did that specifically look like in Germany?
Well, according to Pastor Thielicke among other things:
1. “That in its temporal tasks the church should disregard the Eternal and in its faith in itself fail to see its guilt and need for forgiveness.”
What about us? Have we, as the Church today, been guilty of putting social justice above eternal perspectives? I’m not saying the fight for Justice is wrong. The Believer in Jesus should be the first to fight against racism, injustice, and lies. The first to remember someone is innocent until proven guilty regardless of race or creed. The Believer should be on the front lines of helping the poor and needy regardless of who and where. Yes we are to help and speak out for those who cannot help or speak out for themselves. But we are to do this with an eye open towards eternity. With a heart ready and willing to make the reason for our service and love known. There is a God in heaven who desires all men every where to know Him, as He truly is. A good and Holy God who cannot look on sin.
As we’re helping those who need it, are we speaking the truths of sin, love, mercy, and justice? Or, are we simply making people more comfortable on their way to hell? Are we letting people know that relationship with God also requires obedience and repentance?
2. “That this people should proceed with fanatical energy to solve economic, social, and political problems, and in solving these problems overlook or simply ignore the fact that first and foremost we need a Redeemer, who would set straight the deepest basis of our personal lives.” (italics mine)
How often today does one side accuse the other of lies and manipulation? How often do we point at decisions other people made to explain our own poor choices? Where’s the teachings on sin and the need for repentance, along with personal responsibility? Has the Church lost sight of the fact that at the end of the day, we all make our own decisions and must accept the consequences without laying the blame on others?
The Church on both sides of these issues is so eager to point out how the other side is wrong, but then so completely ignores and overlooks the ways in which they themselves have been wrong.
Have we been so quick to jump to protests and laws that we’ve forgotten only God can change hearts and heal divisions?
Are we so busy yelling at each other on social media and mocking or disgracing those we disagree with that we’ve forgotten where the real battles lies and who our real enemy is?
When we’re quicker and happier to join a protest than a prayer meeting is something wrong?
3. “That we were unaware of the dangers on which we have been shipwrecked – shipwrecked by being blind to the most terrible danger: namely, there is a devil who can lead a man about by the nose in the midst of all his idealism, and there is a God upon whom we can wreck ourselves because ‘He is not mocked.'”
Have we today as a Church mocked God? In our desire for justice and change, in our desire for culture’s approbation have we forgotten the God of heaven to whom we belong? Have we set aside the approval of God for the approval of man?
4. “That we did not calculate the factor that is called ‘God’ in our plans and therefore fell victims to megalomania.”
In our books, our tweets, our entertainment, our politics, and discussions do we even acknowledge a God who by His very breath created mankind in the first place? Are we humbled by the knowledge of Him, willing to admit we could be wrong? Are we begging God to move, God to restore our blind sight and open our deaf ears? Or are we so sure we know it all, understand it all, and we could not be wrong? Are we desperate to know God’s heart and have God’s perspective? So desperate that we’re willing to wrestle with Him until He answers, even if the answer is no?
5. “That we violated God’s commandments and got tangled in our own unpredictable and brutal instincts.”
Simply look at the destruction of marriage over the last 60 years and the horrific consequences that has had. Poverty, crime, abuse, these among other things have risen as the number of two-parent families has fallen. And yes, there is a direct correlation.
If we’re simply providing physical help to those in need, but not also instructing and teaching them to look at the sin and the poor choices which often led to some of those struggles, are we really doing anyone much good?
6. “That we no longer knew that God is in heaven and man is on earth, and thus we lost all sense of the proportions of life and consequently were stricken with blindness in purely external political and military relationships.”
We know longer knew that God is in heaven… Habakkuk 2:20 states, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Have we, oh Church, lost a sense of God and the understanding of His presence?
Have we have been so quick to make sure our meetings were acceptable to sinners we forgot to make sure they were still honoring of the Savior?
I am not saying we’re about to have another Holocaust or even WWIII. That is not my fear. My concern is for the Church, the Bride of Christ. What’s about to happen to her?
Maybe it’s time to get on our knees and wrestle with God like Jacob. Maybe we need to grab hold of God and not let go until we hear His voice and we are healed. Are we so sure we’re right we no longer need to ask if we could be wrong? Are we so sure of the direction we’re headed?
Or are we about to take a step that will set the trajectory of our legacy and our faith here in America? Are we about to become something we may regret later?
Is the Church at a Crossroads?
*Quotes taken from “Lutzer, Erwin W. Hitler’s Cross: How the Cross Was Used to Promote the Nazi Agenda. Moody Publishers, Chicago Il, 2016. 193-196. Application is my own.