10 December 2016
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That's fine then Peter. But it is my observation that from one end of the UK to the other, Christians of all different backgrounds say pretty much the same thing from the safety of their own denomination.
What the UK needs now more than ever is a modern day Wesley, and what the church needs is to get out of the room with the elephant in it!
I hope you can hear what I'm trying to say.
"Wasn't it spring time then? Aren't we nearing winter? Even the smallest shoots struggle in such icy conditions."
Yes, but some plants need icy conditions to prepare them to flower and bear fruit. I am not disagreeing with you. But I believe the one who is 'in control' is giving us the winter we need. It will show us (and as you are pointing out - is showing us) for what we are - the good and the bad of it. The times are darkening. But it is in the darkest of night that the true light shines clearest.
But I think a lot of us are saying that (just in different ways, and maybe with words filled with the accents of our different denominations).
The original debate question also asked us what was to be done about the elephants. I don't think any of us deny their presence or intend to 'sit back and let them happen'. In my area there has been a move in intercessory prayer and a return to the Word. Before anyone says that that is not enough, let me suggest that it is from this foundation that insight feeds action. It not only helps us know which 'arrow' is best to select, but ensures the point is sharp. It also anchors us in a power that is not our own.
Each of us will have different gifts in this battle. Some will gifts of insight, some will have speaking/proclamation gifts, some will do battle behind the scenes in prayer, some will serve, some will bind up spiritual wounds. It is imperative that those in the light do not tear each other apart, just because our focus or gifting is different from another's. All who are faithful, are called to stand. A house divided, cannot stand. As each of us is driven by the shock of the cold to Jesus' arms, I pray we will find there not only common purpose and vision, but the strength and power to be the church we were created to be.
PS I mean Church (Bride of Christ) regardless of denomination, Pawlo. This is world wide.
Pawlo said, "...and what the church needs is to get out of the room with the elephant in it!"
I do hear what you are saying, and it is a very valid point. But we must remember that the church is made up of individual disciples (living stones), and we are all accountable to the head or capstone (Jesus).
I am ultimately only responsible for one Christian (me). Yes I can teach, preach, outreach, show others the way they should go etc, but I cannot;
a. Make them.
b. Do it for them!!
There are most certainly elephants in the room. So what should we do about them if others are either not seeing them or are unconcerned by their presence? Should we try to push the elephant out of the room by ourselves, which is almost certain to fail, do we (as has been suggested) leave the room or do we take the matter continually and fervently to God, asking Him to remove the elephant or make it clear to us how we should respond. in the event that God revealed to us that we were to forcibly shove the elephant out with His help, how many of us (myself included) would want that answer? Isn't it the case that we know what should be done but we want it to be someone else who actually does it!
Problem - the elephant of Christians behaving badly towards other Christians.
Solution - Jesus gives us the answer in Matt 18: 15 - 17 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."
Additional problem - (as Penny has pointed out) we ignore the God given solution and wonder why so many Christians are miserable, and why so few churches are really flourishing!!
Christianity has become by association rather than by character.
I know more 'christian' non christians than I do actual Christians! And that is the churches fault.
If we read Paul's Epistles we see very clearly that what confronted the church then confronts it now. There is no difference in principle. The actual expression of it may appear very different because of the age in which we live but the root of the evil is Satan and he uses every tactic he can, just as he did in Paul's day. The origin of the church is heavenly. It was in God's purpose before the foundation of the world. It's formation was prophesied in Genesis ch.2 when God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and formed the woman from his rib. Its present "wilderness journey" is its time of that formation, but its destiny is with Christ as His heavenly bride, and also as the eternal dwelling place of God (Eph.2:21,22). We are part of that, praise God and He will deal with Prof. Dawkins and the elephants.
With the greatest respect there is no such thing as a 'Christian non Christian'. A Christian by definition is a disciple and follower of Lord Jesus Christ, therefore if someone is not then they cannot possibly be!
To blame the church(es) is not the whole picture, and therefore not fair. Many churches are big on teaching the Word of God properly, but that is dependant on God's people wanting to be taught.
I am a great believer in individual responsibility. All Christians in the UK have full access to God's Word 7 days a week, and therefore what is taught week by week is only part of what they should be receiving from God's Word.
We are responsible to be in God's Word daily, prayerfully and carefully, and most importantly to apply in our daily living!
By all means blame the church(es), but please do not forget that churches are made up of individual Christians like you and I.
Yes, we occasionally meet nice non Christians that would appear to put some Christians to shame, but that should prove a reminder about our own conduct etc in light of God's Word.
I agree with what you say, inprinciple, Peter. There is however the matter of the profession of Christianity and the reality of the New Birth, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and adoption as Sons of God. There are many churches, at least in this County of Fife where there seems to be a complete lack of the awareness and experience of these precious truths. The Lord's parable about the mustard seed growing into a huge tree in which the birds of the air nest (Mat.13:32) speaks surely of the uncleaness that He prophesied would enter mere profession. The Lord's address to the churches in Revelation prophesies serious departure, wrong doctrine and the allowance of evil, coupled with pride and independence of God. It is right to say that churches comprise true believers but that is taking the bilical view of a local church fellowship of being exclusively composed of born-again believers of the Lord Jesus, sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. You and I know that membership of a church, whatever the denomination, does not guarantee this. Sadly the fact that a man occupies a pulpit on Sunday mornings does not guarantee it either.
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