So it’s been an interesting week. For those of you who don’t know, that’s like saying there were many trials this past week. I had a very interesting conversation and dialog with a good friend about the Pro-life movement called “Operation Rescue.” I was handed a stinging rebuke on Facebook from a friend at Church who said I sound “Angry.” My wife has been away at home with her family, grieving the loss of her niece. My sister and I have been working to get one of the apartments in my mother’s building rented. And, I’ve been working out, working, trying to take care of the house we’re staying in (which is my mother’s house also) and all the rest of the usual stuff.
So, interesting week means busy, hard week. I went to Church last night and heard our Pastor Zac give a Sermon about the 7th Beatitude:
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”
Yes, I had to apologize to the person at Hope Chapel who felt I was sounding too angry. He said that I sounded like I was trying to divide people. I assured him that was not my intent, but I do try to engage the culture around us. The more I learn about the Pro-life movement, and the whole Abortion issue, the more angry I get, I must admit that. But the anger is not directed at a person, or people – in general. Abortion is satanic, I think any Christian who looks at it long enough will agree with that statement. Now, what we do with it becomes the question.
I think, that what most Christians these days will do with it is like Pastor Zac said in his Sermon, they will try to be peace-makers. But, not knowing or understanding how to engage the culture around them, they will simply tell one another in platitudes that we should “Do something about it.” Meaning that they’d like to try and do something, but they have no idea how or where to start. I spoke with a young fellow last night, works in the movie industry here in SoCal. He’s a good strong believer in Jesus Christ, and yet at work he is surrounded by liberals who could care less about us Christians and our “God.”
Of course our God is their God too, they just don’t know it, or are trying to pretend He doesn’t exist. So there’s the rub, we live in a culture that is morally evil, and we Christians run around – in it – not knowing how or whom to engage with our faith. It winds up being like NAZI Germany much of the time, where we go into our Churches, and we pretend not to hear the screams of the dead and the dying, we just sing louder to drown out the noise, and then we go about our daily lives trying to compartmentalize everything in order not to have to try to mix Jesus with our culture. We think, or we rationalize to ourselves that is somehow being “Peace makers.”
I’m here to tell you, that is decidedly not what Jesus had in mind. At least not to my way of thinking. As I started to say above about the “Christians” in NAZI Germany, all they wound up doing was pretending that nothing evil was going on around them and they essentially became bigger hypocrites than those who were actually engaging in the evil behavior (the killing, the organizing of mass murders, the evil experiments, the NAZI’s themselves, etc…). My conversation with my friend this week about the founder of Operation Rescue confirmed this in our own culture. The Evangelical Christian leadership of the 1980’s abandoned Operation Rescue, and preached against the violence and angry behavior exhibited on the sidewalks outside the abortion clinics.
In essence, they abandoned the effort and ridiculed it as am attempt by a small angry group who were seeking to violently deal with the “Sin” of abortion. Pastors such as Jack Hayford and John Piper preached against the violence and denounced Operation Rescue, when in fact it was not the OR folks who were doing any shouting or acting in violent ways outside the abortion clinics. My friend tells me that the story of OR is a tragedy where the Church again, shot its wounded and abandoned them to suffer their fate at the hands of the increasingly secular judicial. Folks like Randy Alcorn and Randall Terry were left to fend for themselves at the hands of the Justice System, which handed down enormous judgements against them (and others) which cost them pretty much everything.
They survived, and today Randy Alcorn is still involved in the Pro-life movement, and so is Randall Terry, but they have had to distance themselves from OR (or were distanced from it as more conservative elements in the Church took over the efforts of OR). But, to my mind, it really begs the question, what should our level of involvement in the culture war be? Just where do we draw the line and how are we to behave, or engage with the evil culture around us? How do you “Fight” evil? What are the tools, the techniques, the ways to go about this battle?
First and foremost, the Bible tells us that prayer is our number one weapon. Obviously, and decidedly so then, we must be people of prayer. My friend assures me that OR in the early days was all about prayer. Secondly, we must engage the folks outside the Church in a dialog. We must become “Street preachers” and Evangelists for the Church, and in reality for the lives of those babies who are being murdered every day in abortion clinics, and now with poisons and drugs introduced into the bodies of their mothers.
To my friend from Hope Chapel who felt that might be sounding “Angry” well, you have to be able to say that abortion is evil and satanic first, and second that you will be confronting demon-possessed people on the other hand who will hang onto their “Freedom to kill” at any cost. To my way of thinking, those folks are lost, we are not ever going to “Win” them as converts, the Lord can do it, in fact we don’t win anybody, his Holy Spirit must draw them to Himself, but we are still in the business of planting seeds and sharing and spreading the Gospel message. What we are most about, and this thought is foremost in my mind whenever I write something on Facebook, or a blog article, or engage in one on one or small group evangelism or Pro-life dialog, is that we are trying to reach those who truly have not made up their minds yet.
There are many out there who simply have not thought the issue through, and yet they are muddling along half-asleep all the time, going on somewhat of “Auto-pilot” in their daily lives. Many Christians are actually like that too, and they like to keep Jesus in a nice neat little box and think of him as “Their peace.” They somehow imagine to themselves that’s what peace-making is, “Jesus makes me feel peaceful.” Oh, could they be any less wrong! It’s like we somehow think that since we are Christians that we are not supposed to get angry, that anger is somehow a sign of “Not being Christ-like” or something.
Jesus called the Pharisees “White-washed tombs” and a “Brood of Vipers” to their faces! He upset the tables of the money-changers in the Temple court as well as made a whip of cords and drove off all the animals. Jesus got angry with the Disciples. It might be more appropriate to say he was frustrated at their lack of ability to see even the simplest spiritual things, but his repeated expressions: “Why do you have such small faith?” leads me to believe that he was downright angry with them some of the time. One time, he actually called Peter “Satan!” Can you believe that? The one who claimed to love Jesus more than anything in the whole world. There are many other recorded instances in the gospels where Jesus got angry, it was always righteous anger! What was God angry with? Hypocrisy, injustice, impurity, laziness, dull-wittedness and wickedness. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” that he would have expected there to be Christians lining up in droves in the battle for Civil Rights in this Nation, but instead what he saw was abandonment and only sparse involvement from any “White Churches.” The same thing was witnessed in the early battle for the unborn.
Today we are faced with the reality that abortion in our Country is very much our own “Holocaust.” The reality of it is so awful in fact, that we are still witnessing Christians trying to ignore it and pretend it’s not a problem in the Church or for the Church. The awful truth there is, like all other cultural issues, drugs, sex, violence, divorce, the Church has become a reflection of the world around it, rather than being a source of cultural influence (salt and light, Matthew 5) in the communities around it.
One must ask, how did this happen? How did the Church lose its power? Where is God? Indeed, where _is_ God? Is He still here? Are people still being saved? Are these the same issues the Church has always dealt with? Has Satan always had so much power that the Church is constantly struggling to survive? Has it always been perceived that the Church is powerless in a mass scale to effect cultural change, while on the individual level lives can be changed?
I’ve just been reeling this past week from all this “Spiritual revelation” of not just the world around me, but the Church, how lost even the Church is in our modern society. We need revival, no doubt about it. Some folks have even forgotten what revival means. What it really means is this: Repentance on a mass scale. It means many thousands, perhaps millions of folks, getting on their knees and begging God to forgive them their stubborn heartedness and their waywardness. It means we ask God to help us – with the Holy Spirit so we can take our Churches back, and then our communities, and then our States, and then our Country. With God, all things are possible. That is my prayer today. In Jesus’ name.