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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Please Don’t Awaken the Sleeping Church

By Al Benson Jr.

Recently on I read an article entitled: A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent. It was written by a Kirsten Powers. I don’t know anything about this lady but she did posit some thoughts that American Christians should be thinking about and probably haven’t a clue about.

Anyone who has read my material in recent years realizes that I have grave questions about what the Church in this country is doing (and isn’t doing). The Church today seems to be submerged in what I would call a wait for the rapture, just be nice, the Lord’s in control and so we do nothing theology. 

That’s about the briefest way I can describe it and keep it civil.
Powers states in her article: “Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.” She noted further down in the article an event that took place in Nairobi, Kenya that killed more than 70 people. She said: “The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab ‘confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.’ The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot…In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls.” It’s interesting that weve been told what a bad guy Assad in Syria is and yet Christians, it seems, have been safe under his government and they realize that if he goes, then their safety net is gone.

It’s the same game they played in Iraq a couple decades ago. We were all told what a scumbag Saddam Hussein was, and I will agree, he was no Sunday school teacher, but yet under his regime, Christians in Iraq were left alone. You can’t say that has been the case since. Christians in Iraq now are an endangered species. I find it interesting that in these instances, regimes that have not harassed Christians are the ones that our government has targeted. Any pattern here?

Powers has observed that: “American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.”

So what’s the problem with America’s churches? And what “issues” do they organize around that are so important that they easily overlook what happens to their brethren in other areas? Some organize to combat abortion. That’s good. No problem there except that not enough are doing it and not enough are concerned.
I am a Reformed Christian and so I expect I will make some folks mad with my comments, but I feel I have to say what I am saying here. This is a subject I have struggled with. Many churches and Christians today, and for over a century have been caught up in what I call “the rapture cult” (there was a book written by that same name around 30 years ago). The main idea is that the Lord could come back anytime now and so why be involved in anything political, educational, or culture changing because we won’t be here anyway—so just sit back and do nothing and don’t worry about it. You have to wonder where the rapture was for those poor folks getting slaughtered in the Middle East, or for all the martyrs over the centuries that have died for their faith, some of which are still dying for it. It almost seems that this rapture concept was invented for American Christians to keep them on the couch, and therefore doing nothing. Now understand, when I question the “rapture cult” I am not questioning the Lord’s second coming. Scripture says He will return and I believe that. I just don’t think it will happen in the next ten minutes like some of these folks do. Their belief in this neutralizes them.

Then there are the “just be nice” folks who don’t want to offend anyone, anywhere, at anytime and to call sin by its real name they’d have to do that, and so they don’t—anytime. Now admittedly, Christians shouldn’t run around trying to be ornery, but stop and think a bit. Obviously Jesus “offended” the Jewish religious establishment or they would not have schemed to get the Romans to nail Him to the cross. If you read the Gospels, Jesus spent quite a bit of time offending the Jewish religious establishment—and He did it not only by healing and helping people, often on the Sabbath, but He did it by telling that establishment the truth about Himself. They weren’t having any of that. Three years after He started His ministry they proved it. And they continued to prove it all the way through the Book of Acts if you care to read about it. Jesus told them that their religious establishment had become apostate and revolutionary and that He had come to inaugurate God’s Kingdom and do away with their religious establishment and that really ticked them off. It ticks off some Christians today, too, who feel that Christians ought to support political Zionism no matter what. This is a complicated subject and I will try to do another article on it later.

And, last but not least, at least for me, come the folks, many of them Reformed, who say “The Lord’s in control of it all, so why worry or get upset, just let Him take care of it all.” Again, let me state that I have never said the Lord wasn’t in control of all things. I don’t doubt He is, but, again, lots of folks use this as an excuse for doing nothing. If the Lord’s in control then He will sort it all out and I don’t have to do anything except go along for the ride. 

Another great neutralizer! The Lord’s in control, therefore, I don’t gotta do nothin’. I’ve talked with some of these folks and put forth the novel concept that, while the Lord is in control, maybe, just maybe, He wants to exercise some of that control through His people. That doesn’t go over real well. They don’t like that idea anymore than the Pharisees liked the idea of Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath.

I recently heard a minister say that maybe God is allowing Islam to do what it’s doing in this country and in Europe because the church is basically asleep, or so concerned about non-essential issues that it doesn’t have any time for what’s important. That might explain the great big yawn American Christians give when they hear about horrendous atrocities being committed against their brethren in the Middle East and Africa.

Somehow, American Christians seem to have been neutralized to the point where they really think “it can’t happen here.” They don’t realize that as long as they sit and do nothing about anything it will happen here and is happening while they enjoy spiritual slumber.

Between the Scofield Bible Notes, bland evangelicalism, and unconcerned “Reformers” the Church is in serious trouble in this country and in others as well.