Psalm 11:3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Our modern Western Church is facing a dilemma and we are at a turning point in our history. For centuries, Western Christianity has been one of the most dominant forces on the planet. Much of history has been shaped by the ideas, beliefs, and teaching of the Western Church, and our modern civilization would not exist today without it.
The crossroads that we have come to has a lot to do with our foundational beliefs. People no longer apply them in their everyday lives. In fact, we have so “dumbed down” the teachings of the Church that many of our own people would find it difficult to recite the Lord’s Prayer, list the Ten Commandments, or even name all the Twelve Disciples of Jesus. It’s almost as if we’ve given the importance of those sort of things over to the church professionals and so long as they don’t meddle with our individual rights, opinions, or beliefs, we can all live in harmony.
Sadly, that was the condition of the Church before the Reformation. People let their priests hold the keys to salvation and biblical knowledge. Church people tolerated ignorance and illiteracy, placing too much authority into the hierarchy of the church, rather than paying attention to the substance and foundations of the Christian faith.
I have been a pastor for almost 25 years and I would love to say that Christians have become more dedicated, influential, and effective. Sadly, the reverse is more often true: people talk the talk, but really don’t care to walk the talk.
If God allows me to pastor for the next 25 years, then I think I’ve got to work on establishing foundations of faith in the lives of the people I serve. It may not be as exciting as being innovative or creative, but it will have a lasting effect. After all, if the foundations of our faith are being so easily destroyed through our desire to be accepted by the world, then what is the point of being a Christian? To make a difference in the world, we’ve got to be different.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to focus on the foundations of our faith. Give us the grit and determination to follow through on applying our beliefs in our everyday encounters and circumstances. Re-teach us the merits of our faith and put us back on the right track. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.