On My Mind...

I said Sunday, “I am the cranky old man.”  The world has changed, and I don’t like it.  I could just as easily say, “The church has changed, and I don’t like it.”  We are increasingly strangers in our own land.  But how do we respond?  How do we respond to changing culture within the church?  The “cranky old man” response of screaming, “Get off my lawn,” is not all that effective.  The culture is growing increasingly secular.  Many within the church are saying, “We’ve got to get better at marketing.”  We’ve got to scratch where they itch.  Give them what they want.  Churches are closing in record numbers.  In our own association, 75-80% of churches are plateaued or in decline.  Is the answer found in surveying what people want?  Do we allow the unbelieving world to determine our agenda?  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting we ignore where people are or that we be indifferent to the needs of those around us but we must remember the warning of the apostle Paul, For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  The apostle then implores young Timothy to remain faithful to the task.  Preach the word, be an evangelist, live and preach the gospel.  We are to go to war remembering that our weapons are not carnal.  Prayer and the word are our weapons.  A war mentality demands we understand what hills are worth dying for.

If you look to the Reformers, you may be surprised at what you find.  You may be shocked at what Luther, Calvin and Zwingli “let slide.”  Issues, they did not address.  Not because they didn’t matter but because there were more pressing issues.  There are things going on in the Church (note: capital “C,” the church as a whole) today that I don’t like but I’m not going to fight over, I will, however, draw the line at the gospel.  That is a hill worth dying on.  In a world enamored with political correctness and wallowing in doctrinal ambiguity, we must stand firm and fight the good fight maintaining doctrinal purity and holy living.  Such demands, a solid grasp of the objective content of our faith.  We must hold tightly to the truth of the nature of God and Christ, the sinfulness of man and the doctrine of salvation.  Core issues.  Issues of eternal consequence.  We must tenaciously hold to these truths but without a critical, angry, pugnacious attitude.  We must speak the truth in love.  Truth and grace, that is our standard.

Yes, the world is changing.  Yes, difficult days are ahead of us.  We are fighting an uphill battle.  What do we do?  We keep our hands to the plow and move on in faithful obedience to the call of our King.  I’m not concerned with the outcome; I’ve read the book – we win!

That’s what is on my mind this morning.  I look forward to seeing you this coming Lord’s Day.  Have a great week.