| The Report of the Watcher|
We desperately need seers who can see through the mist - Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.
The Report of the Watcher
WERE SOME WATCHER OR HOLY ONE from the bright world above to come among us for a time with the power to diagnose the spiritual ills of church people, there is one entry which I am quite sure would appear on the vast majority of his reports: Definite evidence of chronic spiritual lassitude; level of moral enthusiasm extremely low.
What makes this condition especially significant is that Americans are not naturally an unenthusiastic people. Indeed they have a worldwide reputation for being just the opposite. Visitors to our shores from other countries never cease to marvel at the vigor and energy with which we attack our problems. We live at a fever pitch, and whether we are erecting buildings, laying highways, promoting athletic events, celebrating special days or welcoming returning heroes, we always do it with an exaggerated flourish. Our building will be taller, our highway broader, our athletic contest more colorful, our celebration more elaborate and more expensive than would be true anywhere else on earth. We walk faster, drive faster, earn more, spend more and run a higher blood pressure than any other people in the world.
In only one field of human interest are we slow and apathetic: that is the field of personal religion. There for some strange reason our enthusiasm lags. Church people habitually approach the matter of their personal relation to God in a dull, half-hearted way which is altogether out of keeping with their general temperament and wholly inconsistent with the importance of the subject.
It is true that there is a lot of religious activity among us: inter-church basketball tournaments, religious splash parties followed by devotions, weekend camping trips with a Bible quiz around the fire. Sunday school picnics, building fund drives and ministerial breakfasts are with us in unbelievable numbers, and they are carried on with typical American gusto. It is when we enter the sacred precincts of the hearts personal religion that we suddenly lose all enthusiasm.
So we find this strange and contradictory situation: a world of noisy, headlong religious activity carried on without moral energy or spiritual fervor. In a years travel among the churches one scarcely finds a believer whose blood count is normal and whose temperature is up to standard. The flush and excitement of the soul in love must be sought in the New Testament or in the biographies of the saints; we look for them in vain among the professed followers of Christ in our day.
Now if there is any reality within the whole sphere of human experience that is by its very nature worthy to challenge the mind, charm the heart and bring the total life to a burning focus, it is the reality that revolves around the Person of Christ. If He is who and what the Christian message declares Him to be, then the thought of Him should be the most exciting, the most stimulating, to enter the human mind. It is not hard to understand how Paul could join wine and the Spirit in one verse: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). When the Spirit presents Christ to our inner vision it has an exhilarating effect on the soul much as wine has on the body. The Spirit-filled man may literally dwell in a state of spiritual fervor amounting to a mild and pure inebriation.
God dwells in a state of perpetual enthusiasm. He is delighted with all that is good and lovingly concerned about all that is wrong. He pursues His labors always in a fullness of holy zeal. No wonder the Spirit came at Pentecost as the sound of a rushing mighty wind and sat in tongues of fire on every forehead. In so doing He was acting as one of the Persons of the blessed Godhead.
Whatever else happened at Pentecost, one thing that cannot be missed by the most casual observer was the sudden upsurging of moral enthusiasm. Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire. They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon.
Dante, on his imaginary journey through hell, came upon a group of lost souls who sighed and moaned continually as they whirled about aimlessly in the dusky air. Virgil, his guide, explained that these were the wretched people, the nearly soulless, who while they lived on earth had not moral energy enough to be either good or evil. They had earned neither praise nor blame. And with them, sharing in their punishment were those angels who would take sides neither with God nor Satan. The doom of all of the weak and irresolute crew was to be suspended forever between a hell that despised them and a heaven that would not receive their defiled presence. Not even their names were to be mentioned again in heaven or earth or hell. Look, said the guide, and pass on.
Was Dante saying in his own way what our Lord had said long before to the church of Laodicea: You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarmneither hot nor coldI am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16)?
The low level of moral enthusiasm among us may have a significance far deeper than we are willing to believe.
Of God and Men
| 2004/7/27 9:40||Profile|
| Re: The Report of the Watcher|
TerryLee you posted:
((( We desperately need seers who can see through the mist - Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.
Amen to this ... But in modern America i'd say we've become much to "civilized" to actually crucify any Christian leaders of prophetic vision ... We're much more prone to blithe criticizing, marginalizing and/or ostracising of such folk back to the wildernesses they came from ...
We Americans certainly are an enthusiastic people, but only if it's in pursuit of our own life, liberty and most important pursuit of happiness, and a life of "service" and/or "servitude" to God, or to one another, deep down inside don't really fit into that pursuit, we're individualistic not corporate, we're capitalism not socialism, and we shoot communist ... '0) ...
Christ admonished us to;
Matt.6:  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
The latter part of this scripture, as quiet as it's kept, is secret anathema to so many American saints ... How in the world can God really expect an American, even a Christian one, to not be concerned with thought for our life, what we shall eat, or what we shall drink; or yet for our body, what we shall put on? ... Our whole concern is "meat" ...
i just watched a program on C-SPAN BOOK channel where an author stated that somehow Americans have gotten prosperity, and spirituality so intermingled that it's almost impossible for us to separate them in our minds ... We've taken a tack exactly opposite of Christ's words, believing that material wealth is a sign of His blessing, and so now we seek hard after the gifts, and not the Giver ...
There was a time when i used to think that God could raise up men as Tozer spoke of, to bring voluntary repentance amongst God's people, particularly in America, of awakening us from the fact that we've been sucked into worshipping "big time" at the feet of the idol Mammon, but i don't think that anymore ... i think God's about to push the idol over on us ... Maybe that'll get us ALL enthusiastic about Him ...
| 2004/7/27 13:11||Profile|
When the true prophets stand up to confront the people of God regarding the controversy of the Lord, most of them/us will react with anger and call the daring truth teller by names judgmental, unloving, legalistic, etc.
There are strong and humble men close to us at this internet gathering who speak true words on contemporary issues. We ought to prepare ears and hearts to receive what they are ready to give.
| 2004/7/27 13:30||Profile|