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Contending or compromised: Where is the church?

By Karl I. Payne

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed to the saints.

– Jude 3

I was thinking about the recent elections and an arrogant, duplicitous television media – which, with the exception of Fox News and a handful of cable news sites, now uniformly represent nothing more than talking heads, mindless entertainment and free promotion for a uniform leftist political agenda. That agenda seems faithfully and incessantly to promote naturalism, atheism, globalism, socialism, hedonism or pantheism. Imagine a world without religion or war; a place where everyone lives selflessly and sacrificially for the good of others. A theoretical land where man is god, always evolving closer toward a theoretical Marxist utopian paradise. A theoretical world, made up of theoretical countries, ruled by theoretical benevolent leaders, populated by theoretical people, where wealth is theoretically redistributed honestly and fairly so that everyone can be equally poor, other than those in charge of the redistribution. What an irony that these same Pied Pipers of manmade hope and change regularly ridicule religious orthodoxy and accuse Christians, in particular, of being dreamers who fail to think or live in reality.

Political conservatives of every stripe and gender are viciously attacked or ignored. Religious conservatives, particularly monotheists, are routinely mocked or lampooned, with the exception, ironically, of Muslims, the only monotheistic religion of the big three (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that openly advocates subjugating or killing anyone rejecting their god, prophet or religion.

Have you ever wondered why progressive elites courageously and vocally support the right to portray Jesus submerged in urine or participating in homosexual sex, but remain deaf and dumb when artists drawing cartoons of Muhammad are murdered and writers who publish material critical of Islam or its prophet are forced to live in hiding or suffer the same fate? I have an idea, crazy as it may sound. Orthodox Jews remain silent when Moses is denigrated, and it is assumed they will do so. Evangelical Christians turn the other cheek when Jesus is blasphemed, and it is assumed they will do so. Radical Muslims riot and murder when Muhammad is ridiculed, and it is assumed they will do so.

The ideologically driven media stars, courageous crusaders of free speech and pluralism, such as they are, typically choose to openly attack Jews and Christians, but ignore Muslims. A smart decision if staying alive is important to them, but cowardly if freedom for all and truth are to have any meaning other than talking points when it is convenient or politically correct.

Dr. Payne’s latest book explains how Christians can combat the realms of darkness in the spiritual world: “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonizations and Deliverance”

I wonder if the purveyors of this social experiment have thought about what is going to happen when the feel-good slogans and goodies run out, and the entitled, self-righteous, amoral army they have created turns on them in riots and mayhem for failing to deliver on their utopian promises. Will their own destruction be viewed as part of evolutionary or Marxist progress forward, or have they just decided not to worry about the consequences they are knowingly laying on the backs of their children, grandchildren and country through their play now, pay later sloganeering?

Like it or not, we now live in the midst of corrupt and failing political, media and educational systems, promoting an atheistic or pantheistic ideology and worldview, supported and underwritten financially at the public taxpayer’s expense. Our society willingly funds its own death and declares proudly that this represents fairness and progress.

Without a nationwide God-centered awakening and revival or a radical change in the human nature and heart, the fire of the religious and freedom-based experiment called the United States of America is doomed to burn out sooner rather than later. America is not going to die from the self-imposed loss of accessible energy reserves or fabricated carbon footprints. It is going to die on account of the ongoing war against moral and ethical absolutes, leaving truth to be determined by individuals or culture, where every person is ultimately free to think, say and do whatever is right in his own eyes. One person’s narcissistic sociopath is another person’s freedom fighter, community organizer, religious leader, school teacher, union boss, college professor or politician.

But where is the church, the pillar of truth in culture, charged by God to contend for the faith?

The tragic truth is that with so many Christians and churches in North America appearing to be more concerned about conforming to secular ideas and ideals in an attempt to appear acceptable, relevant and normal to prospective visitors and socially progressive members, we no longer have a message that can be identified as uniquely or distinctly Christian. We simply represent one more antiquated option in a sea of competing options and compelling ideas. The reality of shrinking dollars for nonprofits and the plethora of hands asking for financial help for their favorite charities and causes, even within the church, essentially guarantees that the church will never be able to out promote or outspend causes supported by the government and Hollywood. We are positioned through the media as the victim or less-favored child, and play the part beautifully.

We need to be living, learning, speaking, celebrating and championing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As the book of 1 Peter clearly states in every chapter, we must also be willing to suffer for proclaiming the differences between our eternal hope and this world’s hopelessness, not compromising our distinctive and accommodating our convictions and standards in seeking the approval of man at the expense of the approval of God. Have you noticed that when accommodation and compromise are being demanded for civility or peace’s sake, who is the one expected to do the actual compromising – the secular mind or the sacred mind, the atheist or the theist? You know the answer to this question.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

– 1 John 2:15-17

Contending or compromising: Where is the church? Too many Christians and churches have made blending into culture an art form and running from biblical confrontation a virtue. Redefine compromise and appeasement all you choose; it is still missing the mark of obedience to God. We must stand for Christ as commanded, regardless of what it costs, while we still have the opportunity to do so. We will give an account to God at the Bema seat of Christ for every deed we have done, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, every word we have spoken, Matthew 12:36-37, and our motivation for those deeds and words, 1 Corinthians 4:4-5.

It is time to once again wake up a sleeping giant.

Karl I. Payne is a pastor and author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonizations and Deliverance.”