September 27, 2016
When the Church Becomes Irrelevant
Post by Brittany Tedesco
I caught a clip on my local news channel the other day: an area church was holding a special community event in response to the increased gun violence in our country. One of the event's organizers spoke into the reporter's microphone: "Seems like every day, we hear about another horrible shooting," she said. "And we as the Church must do something. If we don't do something about issues like gun violence, the Church will become irrelevant—and we're not going to become irrelevant."
When asked what, exactly, the church hoped to accomplish through their event, the organizer talked about creating awareness and ultimately "putting pressure on our government to do something."
That's when I rolled my eyes and sighed.
The Church has the answers to all of the problems plaguing mankind in the person of Jesus Christ, and our solution is to beg the government to "do something" about these problems? Why not just send lobbyists?
I suggest that if this is the Church's response to things like gun violence, we've already become irrelevant.
I don't have to tell you that culture is shifting in America—away from God as our moral authority to government as our moral authority.
As a society, we are increasingly looking to government to solve all problems, provide all of our needs, and tell us how to live and act and operate.
As a Church will we follow suit? Will we forget who our Source is? We have a choice to make.
A rejection of God creates a vacuum that government is happy to fill. Communist regimes seek to quash Christianity so they can control the masses through lies and propaganda without having to compete with another moral authority.
Mao Zedong did his best to eliminate Christianity in China through his brutal Cultural Revolution, but failed in a big way.
A 2014 Telegraph article states: "Congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe."
Fenggang Yang, author and professor of sociology at Purdue, stated, "By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon."
History tells us that persecution only serves to strengthen the Church. Brute force never works to crush the body of Christ. The Church is weakened in a much more subtle way—when we begin to fear man over God, which causes us to compromise and seek after worldly wisdom instead of the wisdom that comes from above.
Government officials in China realize that, because of the sheer size of the nation's Christian population, they must change their tactics. Instead of overtly killing Christians and destroying church buildings, they're trying to make the Church their own.
"A close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable," the article states.
Said one underground house church pastor: "They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way." He cited the passage in the book of Daniel where the prophet refuses to worship the king rather than God as an example of something that would be too dangerous to preach in state-monitored churches.
Churches who relinquish the power of the gospel because of the fear of man have rendered themselves irrelevant. They're of no use to anyone. You could replace them with a self-help group, because "self" is the only thing left without the message of the gospel.
The rise in underground, illegal house churches is a testament to the many Chinese Christians who refuse to obey man over God. They want the true gospel, not a state-approved one. They trust in God to provide for and protect them, not the government.
A ministry leader from India recently visited Christian Aid Mission. Before meeting Christ, he spent 12 years as a communist—which led him into a deep despair. Before following through on his plans to commit suicide, he decided to read a Bible someone had given him. The only reason he'd taken the Bible in the first place was because it had a red cover—the color of communism.
He spent the next several days meditating on chapters 4 to 11 in the book of Matthew.
His soul was sparked by Matthew 4:4: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
He became encouraged by Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
On the third day, he surrendered his life to Christ after reading Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
What relief he must have felt at the realization that God, not government, is his ultimate Source. . .for food, provision, rest—indeed, all things. How freeing it must have been to throw off the shackles of a political system that had failed him miserably, so that he could follow a God who is incapable of failing him.
If we, as the Church, begin to look to anything other than God for the answers to the problems facing our world today, we've become irrelevant. We've replaced our Source with some lesser god, just like everyone else on earth.
Let's recalibrate. Let's remember Who has ultimate control—over kings, governments, principalities, rulers, and the hearts of men. Our God reigns. Seek Him first.