In Jerome’s letter to Gaudentius in A.D. 413, he wrote the following:
“Churches once held sacred are now but heaps of dust and ashes; and yet we have our minds set on the desire of gain. We live as though we are going to die tomorrow, yet we build as though we are going to live always in this world.”
The world has a common message; We are living in a time of great turmoil. Fear and confusion have overtaken the communities of nations. God and Truth no longer have a place in the discourse, but a thirst for more division and hate as evident in the discussions being held around family dinner tables. These dinner tables include those families that have professed to be Christ followers. So I dare to ask, “Where is the Church?” “Why are we witnessing a lack of influence towards resolution and peace among those who profess to carry the Good News, the message of the Cross?”
An honest observation would say that one of two things are currently happening in the Church:
- The Church is as divided as the society, or
- The Church is no longer as relevant to the community as it once was.
I would offer that both are applicable. While the Church continues to debate doctrines and disciplines and fueling their own divisions and anger towards its own, it continues to lose its appeal as the bearer of Godly direction and influence among society. By ignoring what is happening outside of its walls, it gives up its power to affect change through the truth of the Gospel and its role as Ambassadors of the Kingdom of God here on earth. By refusing to engage the evil that has overtaken our Countries, it has become ineffective in bringing hope and assurance to the families, the schools, and communities.
Jesus said that the Church is the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14 “Ye are the light of the world.”
Matthew 5:16 “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Another way of pointing out what Jesus said is:
- That the world without the Church has no light.
- That the world is incapable of reflecting light in its own darkness.
- That the light will reveal the good works of the Church and bring glory to God.
- That the Church is to purposely shine its light before the world.
Society has no sense of direction and clarity. Just look at what has happened to our children from the time that prayer and the Bible were taken out of public schools in the United States. I emphasize on our children because it is the current and future generations that will continue down this path of indifference to God.
- On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment because it represented an establishment of religion.
- In 1963, in Abington School District v. Schempp, the Court disallowed Bible readings in public schools for similar reasons.
What has happened to the very fiber of the family with a new generation that does not value God as the source of their being? The nucleus of the home has been shattered. Some may choose to have a blind eye to this reality by arguing for the continued separation of Church and State. Yet we fail to heed the call of God in 2 Chronicles 7:14,
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
Notice that the call of God is to His people (the Church). We, the Church, have lost our ways with a sense of pride. What has the Church been seeking instead of the face of God? As Jerome wrote some 1,600 years ago, “we have our minds set on the desire of gain.”
Efforts have been made in some state-level legislation in the United States towards allowing for the function of prayer and the Bible back in our schools, such as:
- This year, Florida Governor, Rick Scott signed The Florida Student and Personnel Religious Liberties Act [SB 436] which ensures that students of every grade in Florida schools have the right to pray, lead prayers, and organize and participate in religious activities and organizations before, during, and after school, without fear of discrimination or punishment. The bill also affords school faculty the right to participate in student-initiated religious activities.
- Also this year, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 128 into law, allowing Kentucky public schools to teach courses on the Bible
- in 2013, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2633 that lead to student-led prayer over school intercoms or at graduations or sporting events. The law says all Mississippi school districts must adopt a policy to allow a “limited public forum” at school events, such as football games or morning announcements, to let students express religious beliefs.
Although these signed bills continue to usher in some hope for change, we cannot be ignorant of the fact that the solution to our society’s problems lies in the outreach and actions of the Church. It is an issue of repentance and a turning back to God!
What do you believe would happen if the Church would choose to unite in a move of solidarity and humbleness to seek God direction?
God will hear from heaven and will forgive His people and restore their land [Country]! This is a promise from God!
Do you believe that the Church is partly or wholly responsible for the decline of our societies in turning away from, or ignoring its influence, responsibility, and power to affect moral and spiritual change? I look forward to your comments!