A lot has changed in America over the last 50 to 60 years. Culture has redefined itself, and the result is a level of tolerance and an acceptance of sinful activity that has been masqueraded as compassionate, loving, affirming, understanding, accepting and so forth.
John Wesley once said, "What one generation tolerates, the next one will embrace."
As tolerance has become the theme of the day in America, sadly, biblical truth has taken a back seat, while many of the foundational moorings of the Christian faith have come under aggressive attack on various fronts. In light of this a muting of the church has occurred. The result is that sin is not only permitted, it is now aggressively promoted, even in many Christian settings.
While this is a sad reality, there is a much bleaker truth that the church must face. The sad fact is that the church needs to bear much of the burden and the responsibility for allowing culture to degrade into a place of secularism, humanism, postmodernism and darkness, unlike generations in the past could have ever processed or even imagined.
A few years ago, I attended a meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the city council voted on a new ordinance that would have made it legal for members of one sex to use restrooms of the opposite sex as well as other personal facilities within the city. The banner being waved by the proponents of this ordinance was acceptance, fairness, civil rights, tolerance and so on. This was geared at appeasing a very small percentage of the population that claims to be transgender.
However, the adopting of this ordinance could have resulted in the endangerment of young children who could easily find themselves in very private settings with sexual predators disguised as transgender.
Even though Charlotte surprisingly voted this ordinance down at the time by a 6 to 5 vote, the fact is that many large cities in America have already implemented statutes into their municipal laws that do create grave dangers for our children. Again, the motive behind these actions is attached to an ideology that masquerades as loving and compassionate, when in fact the purpose is to ultimately strip society of anything that is connected to morality and righteousness, which always finds its roots in God's Word and His character.
Where does the church fit into the present challenges that we are facing regarding the continual resistance and removal of the sacred foundations that develop and sustain any society? The painful fact is that we are a large part of the problem!
Instead of maintaining our identity and love for truth, the trend has been to become as much like the world as possible so that we can reach them and not appear to be outdated, legalistic, offensive and old-fashioned.
Let me say that I fully understand that we must reach modern culture and, even as Jesus used parables to reveal kingdom truths, we do need to present the message of the gospel in ways that are understandable, especially to those who have been raised in a postmodern world where there has been little to no biblical worldview experienced.
However, although we might embrace new methods of communication and presentation, the message of the gospel cannot be compromised, or we cease to really be the church.
When we embrace another gospel that does not bring a dying world to repentance by way of presenting the price that Jesus paid on the cross, we must understand that we are the problem. Despite the fact that we love to get together and talk about how bad things are in the world, the hard fact is that we become part and parcel to the origin of the ungodly symptoms affecting our culture when we lose the ability to be a prophetic voice as the church.
Another reality we must embrace is the level of sin that has risen in the church and especially in the ministry. Not only have we watered down the gospel by way of presentation to modern culture, but we have also allowed ourselves to become partakers of ungodly practices and habits that have literally gagged us to the point of becoming mute when it comes to providing direction and warning to a lost and dying world.
The only hope is for the people of God to wake up now. Our silence is and has been in essence a loud proclamation of our lukewarmness, compromise and sin that has brought us to a place of utter weakness.
When we should have been proclaiming and advancing God's purposes and truth over the last several decades, sadly we found ourselves comfortable in our religious formalities and sideshows, while the armies geared at removing any trace of God from our society were very active and deliberate in their role, purpose and vision.
Even though it will be painful, the church must look in the mirror of reality and ask some hard questions in light of the condition of our society and our lack of conviction and power to address it effectively in this hour.
We must get honest before the holiness of the Lord and allow Him to probe deeply into the core of our existence and remove anything within us that aligns us with a gospel that reflects a model of self-fulfillment, personal ministry success, an alignment with the spirit of this world and a message that calls people to social, religious form void of true repentance and discipleship. Some honest answers follow.
We have exchanged the gospel of the cross for a gospel of accommodation. We have learned not to offend man while at the same time condoned grieving the heart of God (Matt.10:37-39).
We have exchanged the anointing and unction for entertainment and the wisdom of this age. We have learned to use talent, carnal knowledge and performance-based ministry to entice individuals to become a part of our social, religious gatherings while neglecting the eternal condition of their souls (1 Cor. 1:18-25).
We have exchanged an eternal awareness or consciousness for the passing delicacies and allurements of this present age. We invest in the things of this world that will eventually be consumed while neglecting the reality of eternity and the world to come (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
We have exchanged prayer and fasting, which begets divine assistance for furious religious activity. We focus more on ministry mandates and activities than we do on God's availability to us through intimacy with Him (James 5:16).
We have exchanged the fear of the Lord for the approval of men. We concern ourselves more with what people say and think about us as believers and leaders then we do about what God has called us to be as His children (Ps. 111:10).
We have exchanged the burden of the Lord for a life of feel-good experiences that oftentimes only breeds more of the same. Even though spiritual, feel- good experiences are great, if the burden of the Lord's heart is not real in the life of the church, we become self-fulfilling while neglecting the Great Commission (Jer. 4:19, 8:20, 9:1).
Keith Collins is the founder and president of Generation Impact Ministries. He is actively involved in itinerant ministry and writing and speaks in various settings nationally and internationally on a regular basis. In recent years, Keith served as the president of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry and as the director of FIRE School of Ministry, which were both born out of The Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida. His recent book, Samuel's Arising: Waking Up to God's Prophetic Call, is now available on Amazon. You can contact Keith via his website at keith-collins.org.
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