BAD NEWS/GOOD NEWS

News Boy by Richard Masoner

First the bad news.

The Barna Group has just posted its most recent findings on the state of the church.  None of it is surprising.  If you would like to see all six “Megathemes,” click here.

I’ve only listed the first of the six.  Below this sad first statement you’ll find links to two good messages by a couple of preachers from a bygone era.  You may want hear a good message if you haven’t in awhile.  They are from a couple of blogs I frequent.

Happy listening!

Chris Reimers

From Charisma News Online:

1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.

What used to be basic, universally-known truths about Christianity are now unknown mysteries to a large and growing share of Americans–especially young adults. For instance, Barna Group studies in 2010 showed that while most people regard Easter as a religious holiday, only a minority of adults associate Easter with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Other examples include the finding that few adults believe that their faith is meant to be the focal point of their life or to be integrated into every aspect of their existence. Further, a growing majority believe the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God’s presence or power, but not a living entity. As the two younger generations (Busters and Mosaics) ascend to numerical and positional supremacy in churches across the nation, the data suggest that biblical literacy is likely to decline significantly. The theological free-for-all that is encroaching in Protestant churches nationwide suggests the coming decade will be a time of unparalleled theological diversity and inconsistency.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

Here are two great messages that need to be heard today!  Just click on either title.

The Man with the Sword in His Hand

Ten Shekels and a Shirt

The Man with the Sword in His Hand is by Major Ian Thomas and I heard it by going to Pearl’s blog “Be Thus Minded.”

If you would like to see Pearl’s post about Major Thomas, click here.

Ten Shekels and a Shirt is by Paris Reidhead and I heard it by going to Kari’s blog “Let Him Hear.”

If you would like to see Kari’s post about Mr. Reidhead, click here.

Both messages have simple truths that we don’t seem to hear much anymore.

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8 Responses to BAD NEWS/GOOD NEWS

  1. Pearl says:

    Bad news indeed, Chris, but not surprising. (And thank you so much for your referral!)

    I followed the link to endure the rest of the points, and I fear that many church pastors will read them and respond by saying “Let’s get to work!”. And so, the workers roll up their sleeves and work doubly hard on behalf of Jesus Christ, thus continuing to miss the whole point of His death and resurrection.

    In response to those who might be tempted to ‘get busy for the Lord’, I would add this quote by Major Thomas from one of the other chapters of the book from which “The Man with the Sword in His Hand” was picked, which is “The Saving Life of Christ”:

    “I sometimes have an uneasy feeling about certain missionary conventions and the missionary challenge to which we have become accustomed. You hear one speaker after another committing you to the task, claiming your life for this mission field or for that. ‘The need,’ all too often it is said, ‘constitutes the call’! There are a thousand needs, but you are not committed to these. You are committed to Christ, and it is His business to commit you where He wants you. No man or woman on earth has the right to commit any member of the body of Jesus Christ to any task, or to any field; that is to usurp the authority of the Head of the body, Jesus Christ Himself. 1 Corinthians 12:18 – ‘But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.’ The moment I claim the right to commit a man or a woman or a boy or a girl to some field of service, I blaspheme His sovereign place as Lord of the harvest.”

    (An excerpt from the chapter “Any Bush Will Do”)

    • Chris says:

      You have hit it on the head, Pearl. It is so unfortunate. And the Major’s words are so true.

      Some will act as you have anticipated. They will forget that “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”

      There will be an equally bad result.

      There will be apathy on the part of many. Little supplication will reach the throne of grace. Few questions will be asked; little examination will result. It will only be another day. Nothing will change. They will see the news and go back to sleep.

      Ignorance is one thing; indifference is another.

      In Bunyan’s book, Ignorance makes it all the way to the gates of heaven. Unfortunately, his efforts are not enough.

      Here is an interesting commentary by Sharrock about “Ignorance:”

      “He [Ignorance] does, after all Christian’s arguments, persist in the error of reliance on his own righteousness: There is his total and shocking complacency: his reliance on the good state of his own religious feelings springs from his unshakeable vanity rather than from any theological argument. He is self-sufficient; he will not learn. It is this willful ignorance that makes him deficient on any view of Christian humility.”

      Source: http://www.bunyanministries.org/pp_commentary/36%20_com%20_fearful_end_of_ignorance.pdf

      Indifference can be seen in Simple, Sloth and Presumption – three pilgrims who have failed on their journey.

      Christian found them asleep “with chains about their ankles.” When Christian offers to remove their chains and warns them about “he that goeth about like a roaring lion,” this is the response:

      “Simple said, I see no danger. Sloth said, Yet a little more sleep. And Presumption said, Every tub must stand upon his own bottom. And so they lay down to sleep again…”

      Source:
      http://www.learnthebible.org/c_p_pilgrims_progress_chapter_3.htm

      Pearl,
      You may want to read a comment left here by a blogging friend of mine. Manny also liked the Major’s message very much.

      God’s blessings…

  2. mannyr says:

    Chris, you have given this old prospector two rich viens of pure gold with the links provided. we are at loss with men like these two. Brother Reidhead took off about half way through and i thought, today’s hearer’s would pass out if someone brought the Word like he did.
    Both messages will be hid up in me, and i will be searching for more. Thanks for the links and the messages.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Manny.

      It sounds like these have had the same effect on you as they did on me. They will get more than one listen from me.

      As I noted in the post, both of these came from other blogs (They are on my blogroll).

      Pearl and Kari have done us a great service.

      You may want to visit their blogs yourself. They are noted at the bottom of the post.

      Pearl and Kari tell you more about these men there.

      God’s blessings…

    • Pearl says:

      I had the same thought on Reidhead’s sermon as you, Manny: he certainly lays down the groundwork in the first half, and then masterfully ties it all in to what we’re seeing today – the social gospel: meeting man’s physical needs while he still perishes in his sins. Reminds me of a quote I read by Vance Havner (I’m going by memory here) – “If the prodigal son had been given a sandwich, he never would have seen his need to go back home to his Father.” (another oldie but goodie preacher…)

      Chris, those are fantastic points you brought up! “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is truly an inspired work; it’s almost as convicting as the Scriptures themselves! Reading it, I come away realizing that living the Christian life is indeed impossible. I simply can’t do it. And then I’m reminded once again: Praise God! He never said I could!

      • Chris says:

        “Reading it, I come away realizing that living the Christian life is indeed impossible.”

        Me too, Pearl, me too.

        “I simply can’t do it.”

        I can’t either, Pearl, I can’t.

        “And then I’m reminded once again: Praise God! He never said I could!”

        Amen, Pearl, AMEN!!!

        “…that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God…”

  3. Kari says:

    Amen Chris and Pearl! I second this whole discussion!

    Every false religion that you will come across stems from this idea of reliance on our own righteouness, rather than resting on the fact that nothing we can do on our own can be counted righteous. And what blessed rest we have in that, yet everyone wants to take the hard road of doing it themselves! It boggles the mind.

    We are God’s children and yet we want to see with our own eyes and feel with our own hearts, rather than sitting back and watching Christ live through us. What is more amazing than that? Too many in the Church today act as if, when Jesus’s earthly ministry was past tense. They feel as if the world just cannot be turned upside down like it was when the Apostles carried forth His commission. Yet, that same Jesus still lives through His church, the same Holy Spirit that spoke through Paul and Peter is the same Holy Spirit that speaks through the church.

    Only, the church doesn’t realize it, it’s all past tense to them. They act as if Jesus is merely peaking through the veil to see what’s going on! They have left Him at the point where He ascended into to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. So the Church now sits looking toward Heaven for His glorious return. “What would Jesus do” is their anthem. Are you kidding me? What would Jesus do if what? If He were here? Do you think He’s gone somewhere? So the Church runs around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to earn their righteousness, trying to earn their rewards in Heaven, trying to make themselves perfect for their day when they meet Him. Only, He’s been standing firmly in front of them, He’s been trying to meet them, knocking on the door to be allowed in to continue His life through them and they are too busy to hear the knock. They aren’t expecting company!

    If we were to stop looking within to find God for just a moment, we might actually realize that we are merely vessels of clay. What use is a vessel of clay to a man dying of thirst? It is not the vessel that saves that man, it is the life giving waters that have filled the vessel.

    Chris, thank you so much for the blog endorsements for Pearl and I!

    • Chris says:

      You’re welcome, Kari.

      And thanks for the “second.” I had a discussion today with a Christian friend of mine about the lack of wisdom that is so evident among the “professionals” with whom we work. The answer for that lack is obvious. How can there be discernment without the Holy Spirit? Without the Savior we fall into the exact condition you have described:

      “Every false religion that you will come across stems from this idea of reliance on our own righteousness, rather than resting on the fact that nothing we can do on our own can be counted righteous.”

      And the final comment you’ve made is, unfortunately, where we are headed…BIGTIME.

      “If we were to stop looking within to find God for just a moment, we might actually realize that we are merely vessels of clay. What use is a vessel of clay to a man dying of thirst? It is not the vessel that saves that man, it is the life giving waters that have filled the vessel.”

      Oprah’s not the only one talking about the God within. It is everywhere. We can create our own destiny (a very worldly one mind you) if we only find the power within. This corruption has become part of many sermon’s in our Christian churches.

      In Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on Rev. 14:1 that I posted today, he writes:

      “This teaches us that the chief object of contemplation in the heavenly state is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.”

      It is interesting how the meaning of words change over time.

      And example: the word “gay.”

      Mr. Spurgeon uses the word “contemplation” in the correct way. It has nothing to do with our deeds, it is all about the Lamb.

      The word “contemplation” has taken on new meaning in many of the same churches of which you speak. Just sit in a certain way, repeat a certain “Christian” word over and over again, and enter into a different state of consciousness. It is all so about me and not about Him.

      They are playing with fire.

      “’What would Jesus do’ is their anthem.’”

      Yes, it has been Kari and I think I know what he would do.

      Not one table would be left upright in many places of “worship.”

      We are, indeed, strangers in a strange land.

      God’s blessings…

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