Wednesday, July 22, 2009

When the Church Fails HIS Mission, All Suffer

The church's failure to respond adequately to the relentless and ubiquitous promulgation of profoundly sinful ideas reveals an unbiblical doubt in the sovereignty of God; an unconscionable refusal to protect children . . .

Will the contemporary American church rise to this occasion to defend children and biblical truth . . .?

Scroll down to video of July 1, 2009 "Who's to Blame"

-- From "Anger and the Church" by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute 7/22/09

There are some battles in which all Christians and all who are committed to truth are called to engage: all Christians should have opposed slavery; all Christians should have fought for the civil rights of blacks; all Christians are called to oppose abortion; and we are all called to oppose the rancorous, pernicious demands to affirm homosexual acts as moral. The question as to why so many Christians, particularly church leaders, refuse to engage in this battle is a vexing question.

In his book Kingdoms in Conflict, Chuck Colson writes about the failure of the church to oppose the extermination of Jews and the government usurpation of control of the church in Nazi Germany. Immediately following the naming of Hitler as Chancellor of Germany, the persecution of the church began in earnest. In response, a resistance movement sprang up headed by Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Initially, they had the support of the dominant Protestant group, the German Evangelical Church, but as the persecution increased, so did the cowardice and concomitant rationalization of cowardice on the parts of most church leaders. In Germany only a remnant, who came to call themselves the Confessing Church, remained standing courageously in the gap for truth.

The German Evangelical Church acted in ways most Christians now view as ignoble, selfish, and cowardly:

Pastors resigned from the resistance out of fear that they might lose their positions in the church.

Frightened by the boldness of the resistance movement, church leaders issued public statements of support for Hitler and the Third Reich.

Some pastors believed that a "'more reasonable tone would be more honoring to those with different views.'" One bishop told Martin Niemoller that those pastors who refused to join the resistance were "'trying to bring peace to the church'" rather than "'seem like . . . troublemakers.'" In response, Niemoller asked "'What does it matter how we look in Germany compared with how we look in Heaven?'" The bishop responded, "'We cannot pronounce judgment on all the ills of society. Most especially we ought not single out the one issue that the government is so sensitive about.'"

In a conversation with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one young pastor justified capitulation like this: "'. . . [T]here are no pastorates for those of us who will not cooperate. What is the good in preaching if you have no congregation? Where will this noncooperation lead us? We are no longer a recognized body; we have no government assistance; we cannot care for the souls in the armed forces or give religion lessons in schools. What will become of the church if that continues? A heap of rubble!'"
What is alarming about the account of the German Evangelical Church's reprehensible failure is its similarity to the ongoing disheartening story of the contemporary American church's failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality. Don't we today see church leaders self-censoring out of fear of losing their positions or their church members? Don't we see churches criticizing those who boldly confront the efforts of homosexual activists to propagandize children and undermine the church's teaching on homosexuality? Aren't the calls of the capitulating German Christians for "a more reasonable tone" and a commitment to "honor different views" exactly like the calls of today's church to be tolerant and honor "diversity"? Don't pastors justify their silence by claiming they fear losing their tax-exempt status (i.e. government assistance)? Don't they rationalize inaction by claiming that speaking out will prevent them from saving souls?

What is even more reprehensible in America, however, is that church leaders don't currently face loss of livelihood, imprisonment, exile, or death, as they did in Germany, and yet they remain silent.

To read the entire commentary, which includes further references, CLICK HERE.