We live in an odd era.
Post Modern philosophy tells us that the realities that we talk about are not founded in truth, but depend on the view of the people discussing them. On this and similar philosophy grows a relativistic worldview where most anything is, OK as long as we agree to it. It is popularized by the saying, “It is true for you but not true for me.”
These world views attack our basic Christian assumption about life and reality – that there IS truth and that we can know what is true.
I was meditating on this situation and it dawned on me that ‘the church’ has played a part in this movement away from truth.
My background is relating to churches in the big picture and in the micro picture. Here is what I have noticed. In business, we have to tell each other the truth. Why? Because if we don’t tell ourselves the truth, we will go out of business. Most things done in business, if done well, have a large ‘reality check’ component to them.
In churches, this doesn’t happen. The pastor might preach really weak sermons… is there a mechanism to help him understand where he needs to improve? No. I always thought this was rather odd since one of the key reasons people select one church over another is the sermons that are preached.
The average person sitting in the pew may not have any deep understanding of God. They may not understand the relationship between the New Testament and the Old Testament. They may not understand how Christ ‘fits in’. And, most importantly, they may never have come to the cross – they may never have seen Christ upon the cross dying for their sins. And, even if they have come to the cross in their own lives, they may not know how to share this knowledge with others. While all of these things may be the case, week after week we gather and no one ever ‘figures this out’ and makes a plan on what to do about it. I thought that, too, was odd.
Then I started to listen to the songs we sing. We have so many great songs with declarations of the triumph of God in our lives. Yikes. I look around and see lots of people who are stuck in a time warp. Not growing in God. Not growing in personal holiness. Not growing in their connections to each other.
Let’s go on to a little ‘fruit inspection’. Are we reproducing – adding new believers to our congregations? No. Nope. Nada. As a matter of fact, all indications are that ‘the church’ is in decline in the United States. This isn’t a little problem. We are in serious decline. We could become Europe!
Now, do believers sit down and take a good hard look at the facts and address them? Usually they do not. As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you how many services I have attended where, when we leave the whole congregation on a spiritual ‘high’ – “We are overcomers!” But, nothing changes.
I fear that some time ago we have learned to not tell the truth. …to each other. …to the congregation. Could it be that our children see the gap: reality as we ‘SAY’ it and reality as it is actually lived out in front of their very eyes? Could it be that the roots of these postmodern truth denying philosophies are starting with us, the People of God?
We ought to learn how to tell the truth. And we ought to learn to be a people of God who know how to see reality, with all its challenges and truly overcome. Our mission, should we accept it – given to us by Christ – is to extend the Kingdom.
In so many ways, the enemy has come in like a flood. The enemy has a foot hold in our lives:
We could go on and on.
The point is this, when the enemy comes in like a flood, God raises a Standard. He IS calling forth a new Kingdom People. People who will both tell the truth and, when the truth is bad, people who will LEARN to overcome and advance the Kingdom! Over the years I have seen many ‘waves’ wash across the people of God. God sends them for renewal and restoration. This is the next wave…