Being the Church As America changes

This coming Sunday I’m preaching from Revelation 2:12-17.  It’s about the “Compromising Church” of Pergamum.  Pergamum was, as I heard Pastor David Jeremiah put it, “the church that got married to the world”.  It was under Constantine that the church (nearly overnight) went from being martyrs and outcasts on the fringes of society to being celebrated.  The church has never handled prosperity well.  Comfort in the church tends to lead to apathy & indifference.  And that’s pretty much why the American church is in the position it’s in today.

The US Government had unofficially embraced Christianity for about 200 years.  Nearly everyone went to church.  All any church had to do was open the doors and the churches were full.  The 10 Commandments were in all the government buildings, prayer was said in schools, and the schools even learned to read and write by using the Bible.  There are more United Methodist Churches in our country than there are post offices.  But unlike when the government under Constantine took in the church, our government is now kicking the church out.  Our country is telling the church that Islam, Buddhism, Wicca, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, humanism, and every other religion, cult, and spiritual practice has the same standing in our society.  And quite frankly, this is difficult for the church to take.  Partially, because of the standing the church is used to, and partially because (and I don’t think this is an exaggeration) the church built America.  The church built nearly all the early universities and hospitals.  Abraham Lincoln said, “…the Methodist Church sends more soldiers to the field, more nurses to the hospitals, and more prayers to heaven than any. God bless the Methodist Church–bless all the churches…”  And I would argue that our country would not be able to function today without the church.  Catholic Charities alone, under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, says it’s helping 45 million people who are living in poverty today.

tossedSo you who consider yourselves the church must hold fast in spite of the way our country is going.  And we must be aware that even parts of the church will go along with the world, acting as though the Bible never warned about that very thing.  They act as if going against the church and with the world is the noble cause.  While it’s been a pretty easy ride for the church in our lifetimes, the ride’s beginning to get rough and the pace is picking up.  The church has to be OK with the idea of being societal outcasts again.

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One Response to Being the Church As America changes

  1. Very well written and good evidence. Keep up the good work.

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