Recession-proof Christian Life
10/10/11 at 07:05 AM 0 Comments

Three Key Issues facing the Church Today

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Listening to a tape of a recorded Q&A with Albert Mohler at a 2011 Bible Expositors conference hosted by Dr. Steve Lawson (Christ Fellowship Baptist Church - Alabama), the eminent theologian Mohler responds to several issues perceived to be front burner items for today’s Church.  He also acknowledges an increase of gatherings – very small, small and large wanting to be called churches but really not congregations and more accurately can be termed ... crowds.  These gatherings are typically not focused on Bible teaching and lacking in the disciplines and spiritual fruit as would be required to prepare the bride – the called out people of God.  The link goes to the Q&A and is most insightful even if one is not always in full agreement.

I wonder how readers perceive the issues and welcome thoughts on my three top items – as summarised below ... just things on my mind.

1.The Second Coming of Christ: Fulfilment of Prophecy and signs are converging rapidly to draw attention to the nearness of the end as the Bible defines it.  Israel is a nation again, the fig tree blossoms again and we are reminded of the Fig tree prophecy that points to a generation as that which sees the return of Christ.  The issue of inadequate preparations, ignorance on the Bible on eschatology, erratic date predictions and disinterest on this topic has a huge impact to dangerously anaesthetise the body. There is a midnight cry to wake up that few seem to even hear.  I just completed a book on this that speaks some of my thoughts. Perhaps not enough is being said on this. The imperative for purification is lost when this hope is obscured.

Matthew 24[32]  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: [33]  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. [34]  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

2.Marriage: Of all Biblical institutions, marriage is perhaps by far the most important.  First many want to see this as cultural, but it cannot possibly be.  The Bible is not a general all-purpose book to pick and chose wisdom from but a love letter written to a specific called out people – the bride (the Church).  It contains the details of terms of engagement, the courtship, and journey from engagement to a wedding and describes the new home of the new bride and Bridegroom.   The Bible is an engagement proposal for the Church not for the unbeliever and may not meet the standards of the current correctness context.  The busy-body meddler should leave it alone, for this is like peeping into another’s private affair.  The culture may be free to do what it wishes and I tend to agree with Mohler when he says it is becoming clearer that we do not determine or may not be able to influence the culture to be what we want it to be...but still we are light in a dark world. Christian marriage remains uniquely Biblical in a world of dynamic cultures and trends of bewildering variety.

Ephesians 5[25]  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [26]  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27]  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [28]  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. [29]  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: [30]  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [31]  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32]  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

It is no coincidence that marriage is the most attacked institution.  This must be because it is the very heart of God’s eternal plan. John the Baptist called Christ the Bridegroom.  The pattern for the body for engagement, marriage and living as husband and wife (never of the same gender) are to align strictly with the word of God and parallel the ultimate marriage of the Lamb in every form.  Love is unconditional, commitment is undying and divorce is anathema for the Christian.

3.The third, which Mohler also speaks on, is a new Grace movement which denies sanctification.  This is the delusion that the Law is a wicked and hard task manual and God suddenly becomes a God of love in the new testament of grace.  Many do not consider that the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt even as a Passover Lamb is sacrificed and His blood on the lintels...nothing to do with any action or works, only Grace.  The Law came after to teach the ways of God and how to please and worship Him. Sanctification is progressive and we are changed from glory to glory helped by the comforter the Holy Spirit.  When the Bible says without holiness no man shall see the Lord and that can two walk together except they be agreed  - this means exactly what it says.  The Bible says when we see Christ we shall be like Him.

The popular and trendy new Grace movement throws off the value of the sanctification of early fathers of the faith and presents a cheaper version of the original to undiscerning crowds prepped up with emotional music laced with verses and spellbinding stagecraft.  The more mature are silenced for fear of being branded legalistic, overly traditional and obstructive.

I would be keen to hear what readers think are the issues.  The Church is the called out of God, so do please comment based on this perspective.  The Battle has changed ... where would you say are the new fronts of engagement with the age-old foe?

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