If The Church, Would Just Be the Church

Matt Barber has an interesting piece over at Townhall.com on his upcoming book, Hating Jesus: The American Left’s War on Christianity. He goes on to describe the need for his book and mentions how we need to stand up for our freedom. It is the typical charge of Christians not doing enough to stand up for our freedoms and declaring that we must be more political. In other words, Barber is telling us we need another Moral Majority (especially given the raving success that was).

Barber makes the same mistake that many Christians make in trying to turn the tide of immorality: thinking that we need to become politically involved to solve our worldly problems. Politics cannot solve our problems. Only God can change the course of this country, and I don’t believe that will happen until the church starts becoming the church. The church needs to become the church in the following ways:

First, the church needs to return to the belief that Christians should actually keep the Ten Commandments. I know that dispensationalists will immediately scream that we are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). When they do so, they rip the verse out of context because Paul would never had said that there was no use for the moral law in the believer’s life. Paul’s point is that we are not justified by the Law. Yet, the Law is still good and it is how we are to live out the obedient, Christian life. The moral Law is there to guide us and direct us.

Let me put it this way: I bet that if I told you that we all should love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, strength and minds, and our neighbors as ourselves, that you would readily agree. Even those fundamentally opposed to keeping the Ten Commandments would agree. Yet, what they do not realize is that the Greatest Commandment is an expression of the Ten Commandments. Jesus says, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, in order to keep the Greatest Commandment, we are to look to the Ten Commandments on how this is carried out.

So instead of Christians being up in arms about the fact that the Ten Commandments are not on the courthouse lawn, or in the schoolhouse, we should be concerned that the Ten Commandments are actually in the church. Further more, we should actually tuck the Ten Commandments away in our hearts and memorize them. We cannot know what obedience is to the LORD if we do not know what He is asking of us. Not that we will build any righteousness of our own by keeping the Ten Commandments. That is a futile exercise. But the Ten Commandments will help us see how far we have fallen from God’s glory, help us see the need to repent and send us back to the cross where we belong.

Second, and I must confess, I feel like I’m beating a decayed horse, our pastors need to boldly proclaim God’s word. They should not say the word winsomely, but with boldness and unction. Congregations need to quit putting up with nice men in the pulpits. We don’t need nice. We need bold. Kind of like the boldness Christ had when He cleansed the Temple of the money changers. Kind of like the boldness He had when He called the Pharisees a bunch of white-washed tombs. Kind of like the boldness He had when He declared “woe to you” over and over again to those who should have known better, but did not. Kind of like the boldness Stephen had when he called the Jews “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears!” Like Paul did when he told the Ephesian elders that wolves would come up among us. Like John the Baptist did when he asked the Pharisees “who warned you to flee the wrath to come?”

There is no longer room for timid in the pulpits. The times demand clear declarations of the sinfulness of sin, and the grace that is found in the risen Savior.

There are other ways the church can become more holy in our endeavors. But I think starting with those two areas would further the process along much more quickly than another call for us to be politically active. As always, the church’s goal is to be the people of God. While that can include being a good citizen as well, that is not a priority. Obedience to the LORD is a priority. If and when the people of God get their priorities right and quit spending so much time saving this godless nation, then we will be truly living as God called us to live, not chasing after the American nightmare.

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13 thoughts on “If The Church, Would Just Be the Church

  1. Good points. I think it is a “first things first” approach — be the church, preach the word boldly, etc. Does that lead to wise political actions? Of course. Example: If I really love my neighbor I’ll do everything I can to prevent him from being killed in the womb and sold for body parts, or protect him from the perverse LGBTQX agenda if he survives the womb, etc.

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  2. I agree with you on this.

    Just a question. You said, “Second, and I must confess, I feel like I’m beating a decayed horse, our pastors need to boldly proclaim God’s word.” Now that you’re not a pastor and are now a “congregant”, a regular church member, have you found a church that boldly proclaims God’s word? Just curious.

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    1. Yes, I have. The pastor we sit under isn’t as bold as I would be, but he is bold and proclaims the truth. I also had the opportunity to hear two more pastors from the OPC preach yesterday, and I believe they are faithful as well. I don’t feel any of them are driven to be winsome, but faithful.

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  4. I’m going to stick my neck out and assume most like Barber assumes what you say is in place (or being attended to as well). We are God’s instruments for change. We can’t sit back and expect Him to do anything if no one is willing to step up and act on behalf of what’s right.

    What’s more, what is the church if not the people? I’m for bold preaching as well, but I’m also for boldly living the Christian life, which includes leading the culture, rather than riding along insisting we’re only in the world.

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    1. No, I disagree. The church has actually been focused on being agents of change for the last 30 years, and the culture has only become worse. These churches are all a twitter over “doing” for the kingdom, much of which, God has not said, instead of focusing on being the holy people of God. Just as God saves, redeems, works faith in us, if we are faithful, it is He who purifies the culture, restrains the wicked, raises us up. The beginning of this country is a fine example. This nation was a moral nation not because the early settlers set out to make a moral nation, but where set on being who God called them to be. Even the unbelievers were infected with the truth, for example, Thomas Jefferson. This nation was not moral because some church decided to make it so with a fancy vision statement and getting the people all up in a lather to do ministry.It was moral because the people of God were set on being the people of God.

      Also, where in the scripture are we called to lead the culture, to be agents of change? We can do nothing, it is Christ who does it all. This agent of change is nothing more than nuanced liberalism.

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