A share by David at Biblical reasons.
— As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. If you appeal to the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers. 1 Peter 1:14–17 (CSB)
Christians talk so much about why the Church is (supposedly) becoming irrelevant (it’s not); we talk endlessly about how to get back “the old glory days”, how to build our organizations, and position ourselves as influencers in the culture. All this talk is empty because it’s about us.
Allow me one observation: Christianity is surging in persecuted countries abroad because the Church abroad is holy (i.e. set apart to God)! She is a light in the darkness. She isn’t thinking about trying to make herself great. She’s not thinking about how to protect her own interests. She’s thinking about how to glorify God in all she is and does!
But the Church is irrelevant in the West for one singular reason: we have become unholy! We’re lovers of self. We’re lovers of pleasure. We’re materialistic. We’re greedy. We’re sexually immoral. We seek worldly power. We’re divisive.
At this point I know my post is acceptable to most my readers because I’ve spoken in generalities. We can all think of sins for each of these categories that don’t apply to us, and, therefore make us feel superior to those we’re thinking about at this very moment. But when I step a little bit closer to home, things start to get uncomfortable.
Many Christians in the west are under the spell of wealth and spend their whole lives in pursuit of money, career, and getting more; our thinking has become so materialistic that even the plain example of Jesus’ life and his teachings have become utterly repugnant to our senses! We consume lust, dress provocatively, worship the image of sexuality, and divorce our covenant spouses all while condemning the LGBTQ+ community so that we can feel morally superior to them. We seek political power to control others according to our interests, though we pretend we seek such power for God’s interests, and we fight for this power the way the world fights, with slander, gossip, deception, and every kind of wicked speech. And, perhaps worst of all, we divide the holy Church based on personal opinions and preferences, often to accommodate these carnal predilections.
There’s a very real danger in speaking like this that my words could land on those whose past still pierces their hearts with grief and sorrow. Perhaps someone reading this has been through a messy divorce or looks back with regret on their life spent in the pursuit of wealth. One could hear these words and feel that because of their past they are now unworthy; they might feel that because they made a mistake, “holiness” is forever beyond them. And this simply isn’t the case!
The very good news of Jesus is that his grace provides our holiness:
1 Corinthians 1:30 (CSB) — 30 It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption
And his holiness is meant to be realized in our life. Because he is holy, you can be holy too!
Unfortunately, however, many in the West have taken this truth and twisted it to shield ourselves from being accountable for what we have done. We have taken the grace of God, which provides righteousness to sinners, and used it to establish sin!
Jude 4 (NIV) — 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Christians: are we really shocked that we’ve become irrelevant in the West after we’ve undone everything Jesus stood for?
I believe the Church will continue to decline in the West until repentance breaks out. We must stop viewing life through materialistic lenses. We must stop worshipping pleasure. We must stop dividing Christ and making Church about ourselves (getting our way)!
My brothers and sisters, we need to pray that God would grant the Church repentance.