I know full well that the Word does not return empty (Isaiah 55:11) nor will it ever pass away (Matthew 24:35; Isaiah 40:8); I know that the Word is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, training in righteousness, and correcting (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21); I know that the Word is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16); I know that the Word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18); I know and see how the Word causes us to rejoice in the Lord and see it as a great treasure (Psalm 119:14, 111, 162); I know that His Word is eternal and true (Psalm 119:89, 160; Psalm 111:8); I know that unbelievers will not see the truth of all these things and more unless the Spirit of God brings them illumination (Ephesians 1:17-18; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; Romans 8:14).
I know – and rejoice in the fact that I cannot control the results of preaching the Word, yet in that same breath, I weep. My heart mourns over the darkness within the hearts of men, and the hardness of heart such darkness brings. I also know that it is the Lord who hardens the hearts of man and gives us over to our sinful desires (Exodus 4:21, 7:3, 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10; Deuteronomy 2:30; Joshua 11:20; John 12:40; Isaiah 6:9-10; Jeremiah 5:21). Just read through all of Romans 1 and 9.
There are many doctrines of scripture that people aren’t fond of, yet this is the truth. If we bear the name of “Christian,” do we have any right to stand before the God of all creation and claim any lack of wisdom in how He reigns? Do we dare stand and declare something to be “unfair” or “unjust?” Do we dare mock His sovereignty and sin in such a way as to diminish His utterly wonderful, eternal truth? Do we even dream of contemptuously twisting the Word in order to fit our own narrow thinking of mercy and love?
These hard doctrines do not cause me to weep – it is the rejection of doctrine within the hearts of man that I weep over, especially for those who bear the name of “little Christ.” I grieve over seeing others who claim to be Christian utterly reject hard truths because they don’t like them. It is a painful arrogance that boasts of being wiser than the Almighty; it is blithering foolishness, spitting at the perfection and holiness of His Word.
To what audience do we seek to please – sinful, depraved men who desperately need the truth of the gospel, or the Lord of the gospel? When we remove certain teachings from our proselytizing, we preach no gospel. An oily tongue and rancid, putrid, perversion of the gospel delivers a friendly message that does not save the soul. The gospel divides. Speaking the truth divides.
It is the antithesis to love in saying sin is ok.
Far too often the outcry is for a kinder, softer message. They ask, “What would Jesus Do?” I always reply, “keep in mind, the answer to that question could very well be driving people out of the temple with a whip and flipping tables.”
Part of what makes the love of Christ so glorious, and the gospel so wonderful, is that is saves us from the sins that only promise eternal death. If we diminish the truth of scripture by declaring something in opposition to what is revealed, we are in part, rejecting the faith. There are some incredibly phenomenal, faithful teachers of the Word – yet when we entertain the teaching of wolves, we will be devoured.
The extraordinary thing in this is that scripture shares the full, hard truth without any shame or cowardice. Why do so many feel the need to soften it if the message declares itself to be without blemish?
It is in this that I weep. I fear that the church has become too relevant; she has grown in affection toward this world, rolling happily in the muck and stench, without regard to her wedding day. She has donned the guise of false interpretation, forsaking biblical truth in order to show the world how cool and accepting she is. She has grown complacent in speculation and fruitless arguments; she has grown complacent in developing a love for external morality over the doctrines of grace. She has relished in divisions, and reveled in false doctrine. She has neglected her first love and in so doing, painfully misrepresented God to the world.
I thank the Lord that He has no desire to leave her in putrescence – but desires to reconcile her. I thank the Lord that there are faithful men and women in the church, striving to honor and glorify Him. But today I mourn. I weep for the state of the American church.