What should be the attitude of the Christian in a declining Church?
What should be the attitude of the Christian
in a declining Church?
By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member
2 Timothy 3 – 4: 5
Since this is a message for Christians, we may now pass briefly over some preliminaries, as it is assumed that certain truths are self-evident.
- That we live in an age of unparalleled wickedness in its extent and blatant ungodliness – I say unparalleled – since the speed of modern day communications means that sin in all its horrid forms, is now global and highly contagious.
- That the professing Church is in a state of decline – no honest man, Christian or non-Christian, can deny. I recall at the inception of the Anglican Archbishop, Justin Welby, a columnist in a secular newspaper wrote to the effect – somewhat facetiously – that it was a relief that we now had one who actually believed in God.
The false religion of New Evangelicalism has pervaded most, if not all, of local churches in one form or another. Even some reformed believers now have a very relaxed view of the Christian Lord’s Day (the N.T. Sabbath) and the moral law of God, as expressed in the Ten Commandments. They speak of liberty and doing whatever they wish on this day of holy rest, while they themselves prove by disobedience that they are the servants of corruption.
In my attendance at the Christian Resources Exhibition, while representing Christian Watch, to walk among the stands is akin to a walk in Pilgrim’s Vanity Fair, such is the worldliness and abounding impiety of the corrupt forms of Christianity displayed, with no sense of irony, or any fear of God before the eyes of most.
Horrific accounts of sinful acts in the world and in the professing Church are now so common, as to have almost lost their ability to shock.
What are we to do?
We live in dangerous times, troubling times, yet in times in which all true believers are required by God to be faithful, and even excel (Dan. 11:32). But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overcome you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness (1 Thess. 5:4/5). However, to walk in the light, we must have a right attitude in response towards these times in which Divine providence has placed us.
We may find what this attitude is to be, always and only, in the Holy Oracles of God.
Firstly, we may say fundamentally, it is to recognise with sadness and self-loathing our own part in these things. We each bear our own responsibility in Adam as our representative, and the sad Biblical history of the human race declares that in rebellion against God and in our departing from Him, we have not only brought upon ourselves misery and judgement, but have sinned against infinite Goodness. If we are true Christians, we also have the aggravated sense of sorrow in that we crucified the Lord of Glory by our sin, and were complicit in His death.
Many today are like the proverbial ‘disgusted lady of Tunbridge Wells’, declaring loudly against homosexuality, abortion and the sexualisation of children. So too, many often quote that Scripture from Ezekiel 9:4 that the Lord has an especial regard for those who sigh and cry for the abomination of the times. However, this is surely not to be a crying and sighing at the abominations in our midst, but rather as the Scripture says: for these things. They have been done in our day, and if we are the sons of Adam, we share in the responsibility for them.
Consequently, we are to be much in prayer, for prayer and true repentance go together. We repent unto God, and not like Judas, unto ourselves. As Hezekiah, we should spread these things before the Lord.
Our Lord Jesus told us to watch and pray, particularly in these end times (Mark 13:33). To watch without praying is presumption; to pray without watching is laziness. Therefore, the second attitude to cultivate is watchfulness. Repentance joins with prayer, and prayer to watching. Indeed the exhortation to Timothy in our text (2 Timothy 4:5) is to watch. This exhortation follows the many warnings given in the preceding chapter concerning the last days: of perilous times; a false form of godliness; of evil men and seducers becoming worse and worse in each succeeding generation; a turning away from sound doctrine. Such times are dangerous times and we are to be watchful.