Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another great turn of a phrase. . .

Anthony Esolen has written eloquently again.  This is the conclusion to his article in Crisis magazine:
Over and over, wrong and wrong again; with the Church not speaking to the world from her wisdom, but the world teaching the Church a lesson in its foolishness, and the Church going along, like the puny kid in the schoolyard who sucks up to the bully and learns to cheer when the bully beats up the kid’s own brothers.
Like the promise of the old Bionic Man, saviors of the church have come forward with the promise that we can make the church better, we can improve on the old message, we can rescue worship from irrelevance, and we can reach people by listening to them...  The prophets of the mighty once and future church have proven to be false voices.  But we still listened to them and now we find ourselves with a church that has heard too well the voice of the world and forgotten to hear and proclaim the voice of Jesus.

We sat by and laughed at the crude and vulgar caricatures of a church that went before, of pious children and ancient rites, of moral confidence and doctrinal certitude, and of truth that does not change.  We laughed and promised that the once and future church would not be your grandfather's church but a new creation relevant and relative, with big ears to listen to the world and small mouths with not much to say but "yes" to every sin called normal and every old heresy called truth.

We lived more in fear of what the world thought than what Jesus thinks and so we sucked up to the powers of the moment rather than risk rejection in standing close to Jesus.  Someone once told me that if you stand close to Jesus you will be spattered with blood.  Well, the clothes of modern Christianity are pretty clean.  We tell every one to trust the voice of desire and to do what seems right in their own eyes and then wonder why no one pays much attention to us anymore.  We have selective memory and can recall absolute clarity everything wrong with the past but cannot name one thing right.

We cheer as the bully of the moment trashes marriage and lauds abortion, glories in sex and dismisses Scripture.  We are standing on the right side of earthly power but on the wrong side of faithfulness.  We have emptied the churches of the transcendent in order to make room for the moment and lowered the ceiling so that we could be the main focus and the object of what passes as worship.  We did it all in the name of relevance and still the world ignores us.  What more can we ditch on the side of the road to moral ambiguity, heresy, and hell?

We have forgotten that we are in but not of the world, that the old man was drowned in baptism so that the new man might rise anew in Christ, and that we are citizens of an everlasting city that is burning ever more brightly as the passing one fades.  We have a message for a world captive to sin and comfortable with death.  We have a hope strong enough for a people who have learned to be friends with despair.  We have a cross big enough to carry the weight of every disappointment.  We have a Gospel strong enough to be a lifeboat for every sinner.  We have a truth that does not pass away for a world that does not even realize it is.

Wake up Christians and wake up Church.  Relevance was supposed to save us but it took our soul and left us the lukewarm whom not even God can love.  But it does not have to be this way.  Read the Word.  Trust in the crucified Savior.  Rejoice in the absolution of your sins.  Eat the flesh and drink the blood that satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst once for all. 

1 comment:

Donna Fritz said...

AMEN. This is one of the best descriptions of our "culturally relevant" churches trying to look just like the other churches down the street. Pray that our LCMS Convention will help shape us into what Lutheran is supposed to be.