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华裔90后传道人呼吁:当举目仰望(含音频)
——神带给一个民族灾难,不是要他们解决灾难,而是要他们悔改
2020/7/14 7:14:46
读者:1107
■胡晟宇 筱益译 婷婷校

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当举目仰望

 

文 | 胡晟宇  筱益译 婷婷校

生命季刊微信专稿

 

编者按:本文作者胡晟宇(Sheng Hu)4岁半来美国。大学毕业工作几年后,于2015年蒙神的呼召就读三一神学院,获得道学(MDiv)学位;现于土桑华人基督教会英文堂事奉。

 

本文为作者的“种族问题浅谈”系列文章之三,为筱益弟兄翻译,婷婷姊妹审校,英文原文附后。本文同时在本教会的网页及教会微信公众号“旷野沙漠之州”发表。(参教会网页:http://www.tcccaz.org/race_issue-series_overview/? 教会微信公众号:种族问题浅谈(三))本刊允准播发,特此致谢。

 

目前华裔年轻的第二代对“社会公义”、“种族歧视”等议题,与第一代的父母亲可能持不同观点。作者身为在美国长大的90后青年传道人,力求从圣经角度出发来探讨今天年轻人所遇到的挑战。相信他的文章及证道,会对同代人有启发,有帮助。

 

欢迎各位读者将此文转发给您的子女或教会中的第二代。

 

请阅读作者“种族问题浅谈”系列文章之一、二:

帮助亚裔第二代认清真相?来听这位90后传道人

 

以下两个音频为胡晟宇传道6月21日证道信息(英文),其中内容比文章更加丰富,敬请转发给读英文的亲友:

 

 

以下音频是本文内容,由溪边树弟兄朗读:

 

当举目仰望

The Call to Look Up

(后附英文原文)

 

无一例外,对当前的抗议、社会公正和系统性种族歧视的争议,都卡在社会与政治这根主轴上。也就是说,人们只用政治眼光来诠释美国正发生的所有事情,对于问题如何解决的争议最终也变成替乔拜登或唐纳德川普拉票,就看你站在哪一边。让我失望的是,教会里与教会外的争议没啥区别。在这篇文章里,我希望从属灵的角度诠释当前这些事。我不是先知,但通读了以色列史和教会史,可以提供一些从先知们身上领受的洞见。希望或多或少能帮助大家拥有属天的眼光。毕竟,在世界的末了,所有问题的解决既不在川普手里,也不在拜登手里,而在基督耶稣手里!祂才是万王之王,万主之主。

 

诗篇51篇中,大卫恳求耶和华赦免他和拔示巴犯的奸淫罪。大卫所做的简直不可饶恕:他偷了别人的妻,借刀杀了人家的丈夫(那人是他信任的朋友),然后试图掩盖此事,扮成那个可怜的寡妇的救赎者。有人会说大卫不比(被他取代的)扫罗强。扫罗丢了江山,大卫却保住了王位。祷告中,大卫恳求上帝的赦免,末了竟求上帝祝福他的王国,使其繁荣。令人大跌眼镜,上帝竟然听了大卫的祷告。大卫虽历经(篡位的)阴谋与内战,却毫发无损,他的王国也好好的。甚至,他个人的声誉都没受损,至少在他在世的日子(我在这里没时间论述,只简略提一下,大卫和拔示巴的奸情当时大概不为众人所知晓。)

 

为什么大卫和他的王国能繁荣,而以色列历史上其他数不清的国王却丢了江山?答案绝不可能是大卫比别人更公义(诗篇514-5)。不是!说一千,道一万,归根到底,大卫能保住江山是因为他是爱耶和华上帝的。大卫是个罪人,但爱上帝。他知道耶和华上帝不仅公义,而且称罪人为义(罗马书45)出于公义,上帝谴责大卫的罪,出于怜悯,上帝也愿庇护他。

 

这个原则对每个人的生活都适用,犹太人也好,外邦人也罢,男人也好,女人也罢,奴隶也好,自由人也罢。这个原则对每个时代每种文化都适用。适用于个人,适用于群体,当然也适用于美国。如果你想找出这个国家动荡不安的原因,那就太多了。我们这个国家就像大卫,生在罪中,她的罪恶都摆在上帝面前,无处可藏。比如奴隶制度、贪婪、性泛滥,诸如此类,数不胜数。争论这些毫无意义,因为每个人,每个国家都犯了许多罪,应该在地狱里永远沉沦。如果公义是一个国家繁荣的原因,美国是没有理由期待繁荣的,因为她与其他国家一样,只配得贫穷与苦难。短短几百年历史中,美国唯一的指望是上帝的怜悯。现在,上帝的怜悯离开了美国,不是因为美国有罪(美国一直有罪,并且将一直有罪),而是因为美国拒绝了上帝。

 

作为一个国家,美国不想再要上帝。曾几何时,牧师和教会领袖在我们的国家被尊为社区和政治领袖。总统和州长即便不信耶稣,也敬重上帝和祂的仆人。曾几何时,我们的国家整体上尊重圣经,尊重基督和犹太教的价值观。如今,从大学教授到媒体人再到政客,美国领袖公然藐视并嘲讽上帝的名。我们把上帝赶出学校,赶出政坛,赶出职场,几乎赶出任何公众场合。接着,我们公然将同性婚姻合法化。

 

如果说美国历史上存在这么一个决定性的时刻定格了我们灭亡的命运,那就是2015年这个国家将同性婚姻合法化。使徒保罗在罗马书121-27节警告我们,当人一而再再而三地拒绝上帝,最后上帝会任凭他们在罪中沉沦。任凭一词表示上帝允许人爱干嘛干嘛,不加任何拦阻。

 

人都是罪人,这是颠扑不破的真理。大卫是罪人,跟扫罗没两样。大卫没像扫罗被定罪,唯一的原因是上帝没有从大卫收回祂的怜悯,丢弃大卫(诗篇5111节)。如果上帝从大卫收回祂的怜悯,大卫会跟扫罗或别人一样,难逃厄运。我们活在罪中,我们直奔灭亡而去,唯有上帝的怜悯能救我们脱离灭亡的命运。因此,如果上帝决定收回祂的怜悯,我们的结局就定了,就是灭亡。

 

上帝从一个民族收回祂的怜悯的标志是祂任凭他们放纵性欲,尤其是同性恋。当一个国家走到同性婚姻合法化的地步,你就知道这是确凿的证据,上帝将允许这个国家做她想做的任何事情。上帝将不再干预。换句话说,上帝正式接受这个国家拒绝祂的真理。

 

话说到这里,我们面临的不是政治问题,而是属灵问题。今天,我们常常争论该如何修补我们的政治或社会体制,以为只要我们解决了一个又一个问题,我们的国家就会继续繁荣。但是,即便我们修补好警察、监狱和经济体制,也会出现别的问题撕裂我们赖以生存的社会机体。要想确保我们的生存与福祉,唯一的途径是求上帝保护我们,免得我们陷在罪中

 

大部分基督徒总是觉得上帝想祝福这个国家,只是我们的问题拦阻了祂的祝福。就当前的形势来看这是一种可能,但随着日子一天天流逝,这种可能性好像越来越小。不应再把上帝看作站在我们这边帮我们解决问题,相反,我们需要考虑另一种可能:上帝在跟这个国家作对。我们面临的问题,不仅仅是我们犯罪的自然后果,也是上帝正在对我们的审判。上帝不是来帮忙,而是来审判。

 

我的解读是,那些不断试图在这个地平线上解决这个国家的问题的人是在浪费时间。今天,警察滥杀无辜;明天,会有新一轮的新冠;后天,大规模校园枪击案;接下去是毒品再度大流行;经济大衰退;台风和地震;恐怖袭击......问题会没完没了。上帝带给一个民族灾难,不是要他们“解决”灾难,而是要他们悔改。我们要是悔改,上帝就会解决人的层面的问题。我们要是不悔改,上帝会加给我们更多人的层面的问题,直到我们或悔改,或灭亡。

 

其它许多事情

 

谈到悔改,首要的是,我们不要手指着世界,把责任推给社会。比起教会里的罪恶,同性婚姻合法化都算不了什么。如果教会想为我们遭遇的灾难找个罪魁祸首,不需要去别的地方找,只要照照镜子就行。

 

因为时候到了,审判要从神的家起首。(彼得前书417节)

 

我反对社会公义运动的一个原因是,它过分强调那些次要和更次要的问题。即使美国真的存在系统性不公义(请详见“种族问题浅谈(二)”帮助亚裔第二代认清真相?来听这位90后传道人),教会在试图改变世界之前,先得在更重要的事情上做出改变。去掉世界眼中的刺之前,我们需要先去掉自己眼中的梁木。举几个我目前想到的方面来说明。

 

第一,我们没有传讲完备的福音。完备的福音要求我们传讲悔改、审判,以及与之相关的地狱(马可福音114-15612,使徒行传2381730-312424-25,启示录146-7)。任何人不强调这几点就不是传讲完备的福音。我听过无数的讲道,线上的,线下的,不同宗派和不同教会的,可以说,你很难听到一篇能像耶稣和使徒那样强调悔改与审判的讲道。许多基督徒连福音都没搞明白,就想活出福音的社会果效。福音的社会果效本来是福音的重生能力的体现,而我们期待不必打根基,就直接摘果子。这种想法等同于我们指望一个孩子没学会走路,就去开战斗机一样荒唐,不可理喻!

 

第二,我们不祷告。基督徒常常提及美国历史上过去的好时光:在那个大觉醒大复兴年代,灵魂得拯救,社会被改变。但令我不解的是,我们为什么很少提到,这些复兴运动的领袖就像初代教会的使徒那样,每天花几个小时跪在地上祷告(使徒行传64)?摩西拯救了一个民族,并奠定其架构,他每天大部分时间是与耶和华神单独相处的。马丁·路德的宗教改革改变了整个欧洲,他说,他若不是每天花三小时祷告,将一事无成。约翰·卫斯理每天花两个小时祷告,改变了一个国家。威廉·威伯福斯结束了英国的奴隶交易,他归功于每天早上与上帝的亲近,而不是他的政治精明。每一个伟大的基督徒改革者都是暗室祷告的精兵,都强调祷告在他们的生命中胜过任何别的事。或许,我们不提祷告,是因为我们懒。我们想要祷告的果实,却不想付上祷告的代价。那些夸夸其谈、吹嘘着要改变世界却不愿祷告的基督徒,轻则是愚昧无知;重则是假冒伪善。

 

第三,我们不讲圣洁,不谈敬畏上帝。圣洁是上帝的主要属性(以赛亚63,启示录48),敬畏是我们对上帝的主要回应(诗篇2514338861111110,传道书1213,路加福音125,哥林多后书71,彼得前书117217)。圣经竭力强调圣洁与敬畏上帝。而我们与之相反,竭力回避圣洁与敬畏上帝。我们常用上帝是爱的教义来反对敬畏上帝的教义,好像上帝是爱敬畏上帝是对立的,这本身就是个失败。这种反应正说明教会缺乏对上帝的基本认识,不知道该如何跟上帝建立关系。上帝命令我们先爱祂,其次爱邻舍。问题是,福音派教会常常假定她已经认识上帝了,而直接跳去爱邻舍了。这就像大部分福音派教会读启示录的时候,自动跟非拉铁非教会对号入座一样。再读一遍吧!我们绝不是非拉铁非。我们是老底嘉。

 

第四,我们注重世界的认同过于上帝的认同。扪心自省,现今许多教会采纳社会公义那套说法,其动机并非真正出于关心种族平等。今天的任何种族歧视,十年前,二十年前,三十年前早就存在。为什么许多教会现在突然关心起种族歧视?如果这个问题今天值得关心,五年前一定也值得关心。今天,教会里社会公义的呼声高涨,并非真的关心这个问题,而是想效法这个世界。他们发出这样的呼声,因为这呼声受欢迎;因为他们不想被批评,因为他们更喜欢得到世界的认可,而不是上帝的认可。社会公义不是圣经的理想,假使是,我们为世界的缘故而不是为上帝的缘故而奋斗,都不蒙上帝喜悦。事实上,这就是耶稣常常责备法利赛人的那种假冒为善。法利赛人祈祷,不是因为他们爱上帝,而是想表现;他们施舍给穷人,不是因为他们有爱心,而是想表现。他们做的任何事都是为了表现。这种行为不是出于信心,而是出于情欲。这是罪(罗马书1423)。

 

第五,教会有太多异端。上网搜一搜美国最大教会排名,搜一搜基督教书店畅销书排名,你就会发现大多数是异端。比如成功神学,后现代自由主义,商业模式的教会增长,世俗心理学......数不胜数。几年前,学者们把现今年轻一代的“基督信仰”叫做道德治疗法。在这种所谓的基督信仰中,神基本上就像圣诞老人,他想你乖乖的,当你需要他时,他就来帮你解决麻烦。每个人基本上都是好人,死了就上天堂。不需要悔改,不需要过公义的生活,不需要为我们的罪付上赎价。今天,这种神学观点在教会中并不罕见,甚至成为典型。比起几个坏警察对社会造成的伤害,错误的教导造成的伤害更大更严重。我倒是想看到教会起来抗议假教师。我一定会加入那个运动。至于社会公义的抗议?先等等吧!可能会等很久。

 

第六,教会里相当一部分自称基督徒的人没有真信。葛培理牧师曾说,在他的布道会决志信耶稣的人中间,若有5%的真正得救,他就很高兴了。陶恕(A. W. Tozer)曾宣称他不相信美国教会中95%自称基督徒的真的得救了。A. W. Pink甚至建议98%自称基督徒的没有真正相信。我们的孩子一旦进入大学,大约有80%会离开教会。如果教会里的人都活不出公义,我们怎能指望世人活出公义(加拉太书214)?如果我们自己的家都被烧成灰了,我们还怎能指责邻居家失火呢?

 

教会还有许多问题。坦白地说,写这篇文章已让我感到郁闷。我想以此作为结尾:我们要把重要的事情放前面。教会作为整体没有和上帝建立正确的关系,而且大错特错了。每个宗派,每个种族,每个时代都错了。教会需要被圣灵来改变。要是我们不摆正跟神的关系,谈论别的事情没有任何意义。反过来,如果我们摆正跟上帝的关系,上帝会眷顾我们身体的需要,无论个人也好,集体也罢。

 

你们要先求祂的国和祂的义。这些东西都要加给你们了。(马太福音633

 

The call to look up

 

The conversation about the current protests, social justice, systemic racism has universally been stuck at the sociological-political axis. That is, we interpret all that is happening in our nation through political lenses, and any discussion about solutions too often times ends up with a pitch to vote forJoe Biden or Donald Trump (depending on which side you’re on). To my chagrin,the conversation in the church does not seem all that much different from the conversation outside the church. In this article, I wish to interpret current events spiritually. I am no prophet, but I have read enoughof Israelite history and church history to offer some prophetically educated insight. It is my humble desire that perhaps I can help turn our eyes upward. After all, at the end of the day, the solution is neither in Donald Trump nor Joe Biden, but in Christ Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 

In Psalm 51, David asks the Lord for forgiveness for his adultery with Bathsheba. What he had done was unforgiveable: he stole another man’s wife, had the husband killed (and that man was one of his trusted friends), then tried to cover it up by acting as a redeemer for the unfortunate widow. One can argue that David was no better than Saul. And yet Saul lost his kingdom while David kept his. David asked for forgiveness from God, and then at the end of his prayer, he audaciously even asked that God would prosper and bless the nationtoo. And God spectacularly answered David’s prayer! Through conspiracy andcivil war, David came through unscathed, with his kingdom intact. In fact, even his personal reputation was not marred, at least not in his lifetime (his sinwith Bathsheba most likely went unexposed, though I do not have time to develop that here).

 

Why is it that David and his kingdom prospered, while countless other monarchs lost the kingdom during Israel’s history? The answer cannot be that David was more righteous than others (Ps. 51:4-5). No, he kept the kingdom because at the end of the day, when all is said and done, he loved the LORD. Hewas a sinner who loved God. He knew that the LORD was both just and justifier of the wicked (Rom. 4:5). The same God who condemns David in his sin is also willing to shelter him in his mercy.

 

This principle applies in the life of every individual, Jews or Gentiles, man or woman, slave or free. This principle applies across generations and across culture. It applies individually and also corporately.This principle applies to America. If you are looking for reasons why thiscountry is in turmoil, there are too many to count. This country of ours, justlike David, was born in sin, and her transgressions are ever before God. Slavery, greed, sexual immorality, etc. The list goes on. There is no point debating over this because every person, every country, has enough sin to damn themselves to hell for all eternity. If righteousness were the cause for the prosperity of a country, America has no ground to expect anything but povertyand suffering (just like every other nation). The only hope America ever had inher centuries of existence has been the mercy of God. And now, that mercy has been taken from her, not because America is sinful (she always has been and always will be), but because she has rejected God.

 

America as a nation no longer wants God. Our country used to be a place where pastors and church leaders were seen as leaders of our communities and politics. Even presidents and governors who did not personally believe in Jesus tipped the hat to God and his clergy. The country as a whole respected the Bible and Christian-Judeo values. Now, from academic professors to media anchors to politicians, American leaders open disdain and mock the name of God.We’ve kicked God out of our schools, out of our politics, out of our workplaces, and virtually every public space.

 

And then we had the audacity to legalize gay marriage.

 

If there ever was a definitive moment in American history when we sealed our own destruction, it was in 2015 when this country legalized gay marriage. In Romans 1:21-27, Paul tells us that when people reject God over and over again, God eventually gives them over to their sins. This language of“giving over” means that he allows them to go their way without hindrance.

 

The truth is that everyone is a sinner. David was a sinner just like Saul. The only reason David was not condemned like Saul was that God did not take his mercy from him (Ps. 51:11). If God were to take his mercy away from David, he would perish just like Saul, or anyone else. In our sins, we are always headed for certain destruction. The only thing keeping us from destruction is God’s mercy. Thus, if God decides to take away his mercy from us, it spells definitive, certain doom for us.

 

The sign that God has indeed taken his mercy from a people is that he gives them over to sexual immorality, specifically in the form of homosexuality. When you see a country get to the point where gay marriage isnormalized, that is definitive evidence that God will now allow this country to do whatever she wants. He will not intervene. In other words, he formally accepts this country’s rejection of his Word.

 

That being said, our problem is spiritual, not political. The conversation we often have today is how to fix our political or social systems– as though our nation would be prosperous, if only we could fix one more problem. But even if we fixed the police, or the prison system, or the economic system, there will always be another problem to unravel the fabric of our existence. The only sure way to ensure our welfare and survival is to have God protect us from our own sins.

 

Most Christians always seem to just assume that God wants to bless thisnation but our problems are getting in the way. This interpretation of ourcurrent situation is possible, but seems less and less likely with each passing day. Instead of seeing God on our side against our problems, we need toconsider the possibility that God is against this nation, and our problems areboth the natural result of our own sins, and also God’s active judgment againstus. God is not here to help; he is here to judge.

 

It is my interpretation that those who continually seek to solve this nations’ problems “horizontally” are wasting their time. Today it is police killings, tomorrow it is another COVID outbreak, the next day a massive school shooting, the next day a resurgent opioid pandemic, the next day another recession, the next day hurricanes and earthquakes, the next day another terrorist attack,the list is endless. God does not bring calamities to a people so they can“solve” the calamities. God brings calamites to people so they can repent. Oncewe repent, God will solve the horizontal problems. But if we do not repent, Godwill bring more and more horizontal problems until either we repent or we die.

 

A MILLION OTHER THINGS

 

When it comes to repentance, let us not primarily concern ourselves withpointing the finger at the world and blaming it for all of our problems. Eventhe legalization of gay marriage is trifle compared with the sins that goes onin the church. If the church wants to find the culprit for all of our calamities, she needs to look no further than the mirror.

 

For it is time for judgment to begin with God's household [1Pet. 4:17].

 

One of the reasons I reject the social justice movement is that it gives too much emphasis to secondary and tertiary issues. Even if it can be granted that there is systemic injustice in America that needs to be repentedof (see last article for a more detailed take on this particular issue), there are more important issues within the church that we need to change before we attempt to change the world. We need to take the plank out of our own eyes before we take the speck out of the world’s eyes. I will give you a few items off the top of my head regarding what I mean.

 

First, we do not preach the full gospel. A full presentation ofthe gospel requires that we preach on repentance, judgment, and, byimplication, hell. [Mk. 1:14-15, 6:12, Acts 2:38, 17:30-31, 24:24-25, Rev.14:6-7]. Anyone who does not emphasize these aspects is not presenting a fullgospel. From the countless preaching I’ve heard online, in person, acrossvarious denominations and churches across the country, I can tell you that itis extremely rare to find preaching that emphasizes repentance and judgment as Jesus and the apostles did. So many Christians want to live out the social implications of the gospel, but we have not even gotten the gospel itself down! The social implication of the gospel is the absolute epitome of the gospel’s regenerative power. But we somehow expect that we can skip the foundations and go straightfor the prize. This is the equivalent of expecting a child to fly a fighter jet before he has learned to walk. It is absurd beyond comprehension!

 

Second, we do not pray. Christians so often talk about the “good old days” of the revivalists during the Religious Awakenings in American history when souls were being saved and society was being changed. But I amcurious… why do we seldom mention that the leaders of these movements literally spent hours every day on their knees in prayer, just like the apostles did [Acts6:4]? Moses saved and structured an entire nation, and he would spend themajority of his day with the LORD in private communion [Ex. 33:7-11]. MartinLuther reformed a continent, and he said that unless he spent 3 hours a day in prayer, he could get nothing done. John Wesley changed a nation, and he spenttwo hours every day in prayer. William Wilberforce ended the slave trade in Britain, and credited his efforts to his morning devotions with God, not his political acumen. Every great Christian reformer has been a soldier in theprayer closet and has emphasized this aspect of his or her life more than anything else. Perhaps we do not mention this because we are lazy. We want the fruit, but we do not want to labor. We want all the benefits, but none of thehard work. Christians who boast about wanting to make great social changes but do not want to pray are ignorant at best, hypocritical at worst.

 

Third, we do not preach holiness and the fear of God. Holinessis God’s primary attribute [Isa. 6:3, Rev. 4:8]. The fear of God is the primary response on our part [Ps. 25:14, 33:8, 86:11, 111:10, Eccl. 12:13, Lk. 12:5, 2Cor. 7:1, 1 Pet. 1:17, 2:17]. The Bible goes out of its way to emphasize these features. We, on the other hand, go out of our way to avoid them. The fact thatthe most common objection to the doctrine of the fear of God is the doctrine ofthe “love of God” – as if the love and fear of God are dichotomous – is already a failure in itself.  That response ispretty telling of the lack of basic understanding that the church has of Godand how we are to relate to him. God commanded us to love him first and ourneighbors second. The problem is the evangelical church too often assumes thatshe knows her God and can just move on to the second part of that commandment.It is as if most evangelical churches today read the letters of Revelation andautomatically identifies itself with Philadelphia. Read it again. We are definitely not Philadelphia. We are Laodicea.

 

Fourth, we care too much about the approval of the world and not enough about the approval of God. If we had to be honest with ourselves, adriving motivation for many churches who have adopted the social justice mantrais not actually a concern for racial equality. Whatever racism there is today was certainly around ten years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago. Why isit that so many churches all the sudden care about it now? If this cause is worth caring about today, it was worth caring about five years ago. The surgein churches chanting for social justice today is less about genuine concern forthe issue and more about wanting to be like the nations around them. They chantbecause it is popular. They chant because they do not want to be criticized.They chant because they love the approval of the world more than the approvalof God. Even if social justice is a biblical cause – which it is not – takingit up for the sake of the world rather than God garners no favor from God. Infact, it is the very hypocrisy which Jesus condemned in the Pharisees. Theyprayed not because they loved God, but to show off. They gave money to the poornot because they were compassionate, but to show off. Everything they did wasto show off. This kind of work is not of faith, but of the flesh, and it is sin[Rom. 14:23].

 

Fifth, there is too much heresy in the church. Take a browse through the list of America’s largest churches. Take a browse through the Bestseller section of most Christian bookstores. The vast majority of it is flat-outheresy. Prosperity Gospel. Post-Modern Liberalism. Business Model ChurchGrowth. Secular Psychology. The list is endless. A few years ago, researchershave identified the “Christianity” of younger generations today as Moral Therapeutic Deism. In this version of Christianity, their conception of God is basically a Santa Claus-like being who wants you to be nice and will bail you out of trouble when you need him. Everyone is basically good and when they die,they go to heaven. There is no need for repentance or living a righteous life.There is no need for atonement for our sins. This kind of theology is not abnormal. This is typical of churchgoers today. False teaching has done way more damage to our society than bad police officers ever have and everwill. I would love to see churches rise up and protest against false teachers. I would definitely join that movement. Social justice? That’s going to have to wait (and it’ll be quite a long wait).

 

Sixth, a good majority of people who claim to be Christian in ourchurches are not actually converted. Billy Graham once said that if even 5%of those who made a decision for Jesus in his crusades were actually saved, he would be happy. A. W. Tozer once noted that he did not believe 95% of professing Christians within the American church were actually saved. A. W.Pink went as far as suggesting that 98% of self-professed Christians were not genuinely converted. Something like 80% of our children leave the church after they leave for college. How can we expect the world to live righteously if those in the church do not even live righteously [Gal. 2:14]? How can we seriously point a finger at our neighbor’s house for being on fire while our own house is burning to the ground?

 

There are plenty more problems in the church, but frankly I am already depressed writing this, so I will conclude with this: we need to keep first things first. The church as a whole is not right with God. Not even close. No denomination, race, or generation is exempt from this. The church does not need to go change the world. The church needs to be changed by the Holy Spirit. Until we get right with God first, there is no point talking about anything else. On the other hand, if we get right with God, he will take care of our physical needs, individually and corporately.

 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you [Matt. 6:33]. 

 

 

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