Why It Is Wrong to Blame the State of Christianity on Christians
Salvation belongs to God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1); and salvation produces a new, chosen race of people drawn to Christ, from every race (Jn 6:44; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 5:9; 7:9). These adopted children of God (Rom 8:15, 23) are first children of Adam (Rom 5:12–21). They are heirs of original sin (Rom 5:12) and operate from a sin nature (Eph 2:3). Sin remains in the Christian, even after she has been converted (1 Jn 1:9).
Whereas sinners think nothing of their sins, God works His salvation in each member of Christ’s body (Rom 12:4–5). Sin becomes an abhorrent practice, by God’s redeemed people. An internal war, between one’s flesh and God’s Spirit, rages for the remainder of each Christian’s life (Gal 5:17). Unbelievers have no such conflict, for sin reigns in their mortal flesh (Rom 5:21).
As Christians do theology, there are divisions because of Bible interpretation. There is one revelation, one truth, but disagreements create disunity over the meaning of hermeneutical methods and conclusions. Christians wish to please God (2 Cor 5:9), but this is only possible by faith in Christ Jesus (Heb 11:6). God has made us adequate, as His servants (2 Cor 3:5–6), by His positioning us “in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:30).
Throughout history, Christianity has burgeoned and waned at different times and in diverse places. At times, it has been dominated by the Arians (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Arminians (Pelagian man-centered theology). Still, God has always preserved a remnant people in Christ’s church (Rom 11:5), the Israel of God (Gal 6:16).
Jesus Christ promised to build His church (Mt 16:18). This is evidenced by all the people that the Father gives to the Son (Jn 6:39), and all who come to Jesus, He promises to in no way cast them out (Jn 6:37). Still, no one comes to God the Father, except through Christ (Jn 14:6), by the Father drawing them (Jn 6:44), for Jesus is the exclusive way to the Father (Jn 14:6). He who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son of God, does not have the life (1 Jn 5:12).
To criticize the state of the church, as if it were to be lost, stolen, or destroyed is ignorant. God’s Temple in the Spirit will be built (Eph 2:20–22) at the pace and progress of God’s will and work to conform His people to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). Each member is fitted like a stone in a great edifice. One looks at most work sites and wonders how-in-the-world that particular project will come to fruition. It does so, by the implementation of the architect’s blueprint.
As iron sharpens iron (Prv 27:17), so Christians spur one another, onto love and good works. This is accomplished by employing the Word of God. We challenge those who flirt with heresy to return to the Scriptures, instead of leaning on their own understanding. Some have zeal without knowledge (Rom 10:2), claiming they have received private revelation through visions, dreams, or angels.
Instead of wielding the Sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), which is the Word of God, these will spout their opinions, in the likeness of a broken sprinkler head. We have a Word from God (the Bible). We need to hear the Word of truth, preached (2 Tim 4:2). Men of God should never preach or write, until they have matured in their understanding of sound doctrine (Eccl 12:10; Titus 1:9).
The preacher, teacher, writer must communicate from a heart of love for God’s elect, both regenerate and unregenerate (2 Tim 2:10). His mission is to win souls, by capturing hearts, minds, and wills (Prv 11:30). Therefore, He must be apt to teach (1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:2), so to give a reason for the hope within him (1 Pet 3:15). It is wise for this man to be accountable to his local church pastor or a team of elders, all of whom must be capable of rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
The servant of the Lord must not strive (2 Tim 2:24), but be peaceable and gentle (1 Pet 2:18), especially considering the sovereignty of God, who is all-wise and all-powerful. God is able to make all grace abound to the least of Christ’s brethren (Acts 20:32; Rom 9:8), to enhance his or her sanctification (1 Thess 4:3), and to perform their good works prepared from beforehand (Ps 138:8; Eph 2:10).
There is arrogance in serving the devil, by accusing or excusing saints, when Christ is the One who exalts and humbles His own. The hypocrisy of claiming to be the chief of sinners, only to then tear down what Christ is building is dangerous. It is frightening to watch God lay a man low, and then to watch that man rise, in the pride of imagining himself to be a superior Christian. At best, we are all unprofitable servants (Lk 17:10). We must, and He will ensure, we will walk humbly with our God (Mic 6:8).
May it never be that we boast in our litany of sins, as a prisoner in jail boasts of his evil deeds. Nor should Christians boast in themselves, positively, as in the list of accomplishments (Jer 9:23–24; Gal 6:14), or some rogue assessment of being “godly.” We have a Gospel to proclaim (Rom 1:16–17), not a blog of opinions, revealing one’s uninformed judgments. Let a man examine himself in the mirror of Holy Writ. Only the Spirit and the Word serve to judge the secrets of each man’s heart.
The state of Christianity will continue to appear weak, vulnerable, scattered, and inept in the assessment of the unrighteous. The devil accesses the church with relative ease. There remains one repellent; one thing that expels that old deceiver (Jn 8:44). It is the Word of God, in the pulpit, and in the heart of the qualified man of God (1 Tim 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9). It is God’s calling and equipping that allows a congregation to recognize his appointment, from the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28).
Christian, are you one loose cannon, or do you have a diet of false professors to feed you their opinions, born of sin and ignorance? Repent and set your heart to study the Word of God (Ezra 7:10). Keep your eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2), not on His objects of mercy being prepared for glory (Rom 9:23). Their work-in-progress status, with the help of destructive demons, will only convince you via temptation to blame other Christians for the state of Christianity. It may be imperfect in your sight, but perfect in the sight of the One who judges in righteousness, and who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11).
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 19, 2022