Thursday, April 9, 2015 7:07 AM

The Wrong Battlefield

Thursday, April 9, 2015 7:07 AM
Thursday, April 9, 2015 7:07 AM

In this verse in Luke, Jesus is speaking.

Lk 18:8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

In this next verse, Jesus is speaking to the church of Laodicea.

Re 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

These two verses paint a picture of Jesus standing at the door of the church searching for faith… calling for individuals to open the door.

Jesus is not asking the angel of the church, the church leaders, or even the congregation as a whole to answer His knock. Jesus is asking individuals and this clearly demonstrates that Jesus holds each person individually responsible to answer for the failings of the church. Ask yourself how many have given their life to Christ in the past year in your church. Do not ask how many left their old church and started coming to your church. This is not the battle. The battle is for souls.

D. G. Bloesch quotes H. Richard Niebuhr in the following quote. Niebuhr wrote this in 1929 and things have only gotten worse. Niebuhr would not be surprised, but yet many churches and Christians will continue to believe their own mind over God’s Word and continue with business as usual. Business as usual means almost no one coming forward to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Church wars are about worship music in a Christian's favorite social setting. God is about the battle for souls in a fallen world. These are two different battlefields.  

All religious association have a restrictive side because of their unwillingness to submit to correction by the transcendent Word of God. The church as an institution gives a prominent place to Scripture, but it willingly subordinates Scripture to its own traditions and creeds. It reads Scripture through the lens of its own confession of faith. A sect is necessarily constrictive, since it adamantly refuses to let itself be taught by the wider church. A cult is equally resistant to instruction from the wider Christian community, since it believes that truth lies not in sacraments, creeds and confessions but within the human soul. The true church will allow itself to be taught and corrected by the living Word of God, who abides within the church as a purifying leaven. This kind of church is an eschatological, not merely a historical, reality.

Still another form of religious association in this schema is the denomination, which here signifies a transition from church to sect or from sect to church. A denomination is a compromise solution—seeking to bring together the inclusive vision of the church and the exclusive claims of the sect.10 It is a cultural or accommodationist religion intent on preserving its theological and social identity in a pluralistic milieu. It is noneschatological, since its focus is on preserving the institution rather than on heralding a definite message that the kingdom is at hand and thereby calling for a radical decision of faith. The rise of denominations presages the eclipse of eschatological faith and ipso facto the end of a Christianity that makes rigorous demands on its people. A denomination irremediably weakens the Christian witness because truth is prone to be sacrificed to pragmatic considerations.[i]

The church is fighting on the wrong battlefield and the statistics clearly demonstrate that Satan is having an easy time unopposed.

10 H. Richard Niebuhr has this insightful observation: “Denominationalism … is a compromise, made far too lightly, between Christianity and the world. Yet it often regards itself as a Christian achievement and glorifies its martyrs as bearers of the Cross. It represents the accommodation of Christianity to the caste-system of human society.” See Niebuhr, The Social Sources of Denominationalism (1929; reprint, Hamden, Conn.: Shoe String Press, 1954), p. 6.

[i] Bloesch, D. G. (2004). The last things: resurrection, judgment, glory (p. 22). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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