Monday, June 18, 2007

Dear Church -- ready for grad school?

Sometimes the lights come on.

I'm convinced that there are a whole lot less true Christians in this country than we've been led to believe. And I really don't expect much from unbelievers, no matter how well disguised they are.

But I've still believed there is a solid core of authentic disciples in this country; people who have earnestly repented, who are submitted to the LORD Jesus Christ, who study their Bibles and live out their faith. These have cried before the Throne of God for national deliverance, for a revival -- anything to stop our accelerating slide into the abyss.

But the beat goes on, the pace increases, and we watch the sign-posts of debauchery whiz past even faster. Things that were unthinkable even ten years ago (need I elaborate) are now happening. Christ is the only one who can stop the insanity, and He doesn't seem willing to do so.

And I wondered, "why not?"

Well, I decided to review my history, and I noticed a pattern: the periods of glory in the history of the church were times of persecution. For the church in America to be refined, we MUST be persecuted.

Christ is sending us to grad school.

We've had "Christianity on the cheap" for as long as I've been around (just shy of 60 years). "Just believe in Jesus" has been a mantra for a while now. The visible church has become a marketplace, and it's easy, even respectable, to be a "Christian." We've had cassettes, Bible book stores, Christian web sites, TV shows and radio programs. Let's face it, the average Christian has been washed with Bible teaching, and has also been exposed to every flaky theology to come down the pike.

And now it's about time for the rinse cycle.

Biblical Christianity is about to be criminalized in this country. Between "hate crimes" legislation and the "war on terror," large numbers of people will be rounded up and jailed. Lots of "Christians" will, of course, decide that the price tag is a little higher than "easy believism" led them to believe, and they will simply recant.

For the rest, the hot refining fires of persecution will do what persecution has always done.

So I think it's probably time we abandon the idea that Christianity, or even common decency, will be returning to America any time soon. God's plan seems to be that His people will be preserved through the rigors of an Americanized Babylonian captivity. Yes, it will be arduous and yes, some of us will die under less than pleasant circumstances. But those outside will live in cities whose streets flow with blood, and the unrestrained judgments of God will fall unrestrained on them.

When the dust settles, He will lead us out, and we will finally have become the people He wants us to be.

As Paul said, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God," (Acts 14:22) and "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12)

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