>…and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice. –1 Kings 19:12
(Note…this was written decades ago…yet is so very contemporary….to our detriment)
“The accent in the Church today,” says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, “is not on devotion, but on commotion.” Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, “What is the chief end of man?” is now answered, “To dash about the world and add to the din thereof.”…
We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct is imitative or reflex. It stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life. The Root of the Righteous, 84,85.
“The American church is so much seduced by being successful, by being powerful, that we look for power in programs, in experiences, in entertainment, in psychological applications – everywhere but where God has placed the power, which is in the gospel.” R. C. Sproul
>The previous post had a quote from “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church” (and challenged folks to read the book even if it might make them nervous or elevate their blood pressure)…Here’s another quote from the book, but this is from R. C. Sproul:
“Everyone who has faith is called to profess faith, but not everybody who professes faith has faith. A lot of people, it seems to me, in the evangelical world, believe that if they have walked the walk, raised the hand, signed the card – that is, made some kind of methodological profession of faith – that they’re saved.”
The author, Warren Cole Smith, continues, “This statement is an affront to much of modern evangelicalism, but it should be familiar to anyone who knows the teachings of Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7.21)
Unless you are the type who only reads books with which you know you’ll agree; I have a challenge for you.
But first a quote from the book, not totally in context so I don’t scare people away:
(the author writes about Christian radio, and the fact that many of them use a tagline, “safe for the entire family”)
“Some of us cannot hear that tagline without experiencing a bit of unintended irony. We remember C. S. Lewis’s description of Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: ‘Course He isn’t safe. But He’s good.’ The modern evangelical church, on the other hand, has become satisfied with a lion that no longer roars. The church has become safe, but no longer good.”
Blood pressure up? Though I’m only half-way through the book, it is challenging, convicting, and a tad confirming. I challenge you to read it. The book, “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church” is authored by Warren Cole Smith and, if you’d like (which would also help me a bit) you may order it here:
>”…All the calls to “reclaim America for Christ” leave me cold. Our real need is to reclaim the church for Christ. When Christ is exalted in His church, when He is loved and revered and cherished with passion by those who bear His Name–in other words, when the church starts living like the church–then His body cannot help but make an impact on culture.”
— Tom Ascol
Fingernails across a blackboard, or worse. That’s the feeling I get when I hear some well meaning but dumb person say, “Oh how I love the youth of our church. They are the church of tomorrow!”
Yeah, right. So what are they today? It’s obscene to say they, by inference, that they are not the church of today!
It’s a great saying to keep students uninvolved, uncommitted, and unchallenged. And, of course, that’s the way they will be as they get older, because “what you will be, you are now becoming.”
They are the church of today, and they are capable of great things.
A French artillery officer came up with “night writing,” raised dots on a page of orders that a soldier could “read” without the danger of lighting a lantern.
A 13-year old blind teen heard about it, and begged the officer to transfer the concept to the blind. The officer didn’t see the value.
The teen kept working on it, and simplified the process himself.
You’ve probable guessed the name – Louis Braille.
Don’t let students off the hook by telling them (or treating them as if) they are the church of tomorrow.
They are today’s church; and there is a job for them to do in the church.
Put ’em to work!
>“The happiness promised us in Christ does not consist in outward advantages—such as leading a joyous and peaceful life, having rich possessions, being safe from all harm, and abounding with delights such as the flesh commonly longs after. No, our happiness belongs to the heavenly life.
Christ enriches his people with all things necessary for the eternal salvation of souls and fortifies them with courage to stand unconquerable against all the assaults of spiritual enemies. From this we infer that he rules—inwardly and outwardly—more for our own sake than his.
Thus it is that we may patiently pass through this life with its misery, hunger, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles—content with this one thing: that our King will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph.”
—John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.15.4
“The American church is so much seduced by being successful, by being powerful, that we look for power in programs, in experiences, in entertainment, in psychological applications – everywhere but where God has placed the power, which is in the gospel.”
R. C. Sproul
This is from David Wells in his forthcoming book, “The Courage to be Protestant.”
“This co-opting of showbiz, this transformation of Christianity into entertainment, is rapidly becoming the norm today, not the exception. Pastors are straining to outdo each other in becoming as chic and slick as any show in Las Vegas.
“I pity satirists who might be tempted to try to tweak these segments of the evangelical world. Theirs is a mission impossible. It can no longer be done. No matter how indelicately they might exaggerate, no matter how much they might embellish to make a point, no matter how many descriptions they might offer of the tasteless things that are happening, it will most likely be met with only a yawn and a bored question: “So … ?” Nothing seems improbable. None of it, in fact, ever seems exaggerated and none of it seems improper. It has now become impossible to insult some evangelicals. How the Wittenburg Door stays in business, I do not know.”