Friend John suggests that we have A MORAL CRISIS … emphasized in bold print:
The Church is commissioned to be a beacon of light in the darkness of this world. Christians are called to be reflectors of righteousness in a sinful environment.
Currently among many professing believers, there is much compromise and even conformity to the common life-style of society at large. The lack of a strong Biblical teaching ministry on personal integrity and morality in the local Church, accounts for much of the disappointment and failure in character and conduct among believers.
This also explains the disturbing tolerance of sexual permissiveness among Christians. If the Church is ever going be “Salt and Light” morally and spiritually in the public arena, it must first have a genuine return to Scriptural teaching. Only an earnest congregational commitment can make this a reality in this critical hour in which we live.
I couldn’t agree with you more, John. Now, let me add some thoughts of my own.
1. We are called to holiness, to actively pursue right living and right relationships amid our sinful environment. The Church of God calls that a quest for holiness. Unfortunately, life in the church often reflects little difference from the culture around it. This is true of marriage, sexual behavior, economic behavior, and other areas of ethical behavior, in the pulpit and out.
Biblical Christianity calls us to return to Biblical behavior and not justify compromising behavior on cultural, psychological, and other oft-used bases. Divorce in the pew and in the pulpit is but one example of cultural adjustment that deemphasizes Scripture.
2. We do need more “sound Bible teaching” The cultural tolerance and sexually permissive waters in which we swim are fed by rivers of money--profit (god of the free market). It will take more than “more teaching and preaching;” there must be personal transformation driven by the ethics of Jesus.
Thieves, rapists, murderers, cheaters, and lawless in general, abound because people’s hearts are filled with themselves. NOBODY, but Nobody, IS GOING TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO! Where in the U.S. Constitution do you find it written that anyone has a right to drive drunk, or high on drugs, listening to A BOOM BOX that makes things rattle inside the closed homes of people they are passing by? Where do you find the right to corner a monopoly on the market and run a drug cartel, a milk cartel, or a housing market scandal?
3. The church will become salt and light only when it personalizes the words of Jesus about loving God and one another, including one’s enemies, and going into ALL the world. That may mean becoming your brother’s care-giver and going into prisons and helping rehabilitate addicts. It may include mingling among politicians and helping negotiate health coverage for everyone rather than jumping offside and crying foul ball--“socialism.” It may mean involvement in reconciling communities ravaged by racism, crying out against the insanity, the political selfishness and failed diplomacies of war. It cannot begin without loving people and meeting people needs.
I’ve probably gone far astray from what John originally had in mind, but have I strayed that far afield? Most distressing to me is the need for us to broaden our scope as we view the moral crisis in the current church-and-culture. We fiddle with symptoms and wonder why we have no cure.
From Warner’s World, I join Jim Wallis in urging a return to being “Red Letter Christians”--give first allegiance to Christ and let the chips fall wherever they will on the political platform!