Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Where Are We Failing?
Note: This article is from the general director of SGA/UK. He graciously allowed me to reproduce it here at The Seventh Sola. A very timely word.
By William Smylie
As we view the church scene at home, and in some places abroad, it would generally be agreed that it is failing to make a significant impact on society. There is much activity and organisation, yet the fruit and influence are minimal.
Amazingly, in trying to analyse why this is so, some look back to the times of Wesley, Whitfield, Spurgeon, and in more recent times, Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones, and use them as scapegoats for the ills of the church of our day. They maintain that these servants of God failed to prepare the church for the future, by failing to lay sound foundations and were only interested in getting their own generations into the kingdom. Blaming the past is to level accusations against servants of God. The reality is that by any standards their ministries, under God, were exceptionally fruitful in their generations, as they brought the Gospel to multitudes and society was impacted as a result.
Instead of learning important spiritual lessons from them, and being inspired to look to the Lord prayerfully and expectantly that He would be pleased to bestow His blessing upon us as He did upon them, their critics fail themselves to address the real cause of our present situation … the weakness of preaching in our day. The preachers of past generations were not afraid to name and confront the sins of their day and preach against them. Today when sin is mentioned, if it is mentioned at all, it is spoken of in a doctrinal way, thus giving a theoretical adherence to its existence.
There may even be a willingness to emphasise that the Lord Jesus died as a sacrifice for sin, which is of course correct, but too often there is a failure to enunciate what sin is in the individual life. Seldom do we hear evangelicals speak out against the immorality and greed of our day. That is not to say that they are worse than other sins but they are sins that are rampant in today’s church.
What we see instead is that such sin is often ignored, even condoned, to the point that it has become accepted as the norm and part of church life in today’s society. Surely we need to get back to the reality of calling sin what it is … SIN, and sending out a clarion call to repentance, not only to the sinner but also to Christians.
In reading the biographies of Godly men of past generations, and the history of their period of the Christian church, we cannot fail to notice that their strong stand against, and intolerance of sin, brought about deep conviction and true repentance. Our predicament stems, not from failure on the part of these men of past generations, but from our failure in departing from their teaching and stance against sin.
Let us not be those who blame past faithful servants of God for our barren spiritual situation today, but let us return to true faithful preaching against sin without fear or favour. Every generation of Christians has a responsibility to their own generation.
We have that responsibility to our generation.