Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of stories about the after-effects of intense persecution and for the most part, they have unfortunately left me un-phased and unchallenged. This year I took up the challenge to read as many of A. W. Tozer’s works as I could, and while several other authors joined the reading list, their writings forced me to be more reflective about persecution and the stories that I’ve heard. Because of that reflection, I am left deeply troubled, to the point of sorrow and lament.
Christians… While I am immensely thankful to God for the wondrous comfort and freedom we have enjoyed in the American culture. I must admit that we have become coddled by the comforts of America’s freedoms. Our grasp of sacrificial living is diluted from the years free of life-threatening persecution. Our grasp of grace is diluted because of our pragmatic and vocation-oriented identity. Our grasp of theology as a whole is warped because of our individualism and lack of serious study of God’s word, History, and Culture.
In reality, we have neglected serious and intentional discipleship. We have relegated the Great Commission to the Pulpit and signed away our responsibilities within our hearts. My heart aches for the church in America to be rekindled with fond affection and desperate drive to know God and see Him known and glorified. While our zeal must always be tempered by the work and fruit of the Spirit, our zeal must also be present so that it may be tempered.
All of this has brought me to the opinion that we will not see a revival unless we start earnestly seeking it in prayer, deed, word, and life. Jesus has been made a weak, quivering, desperate, attention-seeking, a-moral, figure in American culture. Jesus has been completely vilified for speaking harsh words. The church has canceled the Biblical Jesus to a large degree and replaced Him with an American Jesus, that teaches an American Theology, to support an American Culture. Why then, are we surprised that people don’t see the Jesus of the Bible in the church?
So what do we do?
Start by raising the standard for our Men of God. Pastors, spend time learning the original languages if you are able. Pastors, find someone to disciple you as Paul discipled Timothy. Fathers, study God’s word, and the influential voices from our past, Step up and lead your families in truth, in word, and in love. Let’s recenter our lives on Christ through discipline, devotion, and prayer.
Reading suggestions to understand the current situation:
Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham;
Every Square Inch by Bruce Ashford;
Discipleship by A.W. Tozer & William Seaver
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Man by Carl Trueman
The Master’s Plan for Evangelism by Robert Coleman
Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill