My Fear With Houston

Is there a reason the church isn’t having an impact in America? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us know about the story in Houston where pastors have been told to send in their sermons on homosexuality by the mayor. Thankfully, there has been a pushback to this and not just pastors in Houston, but pastors all over the world, even as far as Australia. It’s good to see members of the church sticking up for themselves finally, but I have a great fear about what’s going on.

What is that? Well back at the time of Chick-Fil-A Day, we had several people line up at Chick-Fil-A’s all across the country. That included me and my family. We all wanted to take our part. Chick-Fil-A set record sales that day and we sent a message to the people that many of us do believe still in traditional marriage or at least Chick-Fil-A’s freedom to hold the beliefs that they hold.

After this great victory, the church showed its further determination in the battle by….

Okay. They didn’t. The church went home the next day and did absolutely nothing with the momentum that they had just created. They went out and bought themselves chicken sandwiches. That was their duty at the time and with that done, they can finally get back to their comfortable lifestyles. The battle had been won after all.

Then we had the Phil Robertson situation. When Phil Robertson was suspended from Duck Dynasty, Christians immediately started cancelling their accounts with A&E and disconnecting their Cable. A Facebook page was set up instantly and it had a million likes on it quite quickly. Christians refused to back down and when the battle was won, Christians followed this up by….

Well, they did nothing again. They had their favorite TV show back and that was enough.

Of course, let’s not forget Suntrust. When Suntrust was found to have cancelled an account of two Christians who were opposed to homosexual behavior, Christians immediately went to their Facebook page to protest and started saying they were going to transfer their accounts over. Suntrust relented and the church continued in the battle by….

What a shock. Again, the church did nothing.

Now we’ll sit back and watch the news and see what is going on in our country and wonder “How did we get to this position?”

Brace yourselves. I have a suggestion.

Could it be we got where we are because the church has been more interested in its own comfort and what Christianity can do for them than it is for spreading the Kingdom of God? Biblically, we’re supposed to be the bride of Christ, yet what would we think of a bride who expected their husband to wait on them hand and foot, to do everything for them, and didn’t give anything in return.

And yet, what kind of bride are we here in America to Christ?

You see church, while we’ve been sitting around discussing how we feel about certain passages in the Bible and having concerts and pizza parties for our youth, the world has been changing all around us. While we’ve been having classes on how to be good parents (And there’s nothing wrong with that), many parents have been killing their own children in the womb. While we’ve been having classes on marriage enrichment (And there is nothing wrong with that), the culture of divorce has sprung upon us and pre-marital sex has become the norm. While we’ve been having classes offered at churches on self-defense (And there is nothing wrong with that), we’ve been neglecting spiritual and intellectual self-defense and our youth have gone off to college and apostasized.

The church can win battles. The problem is the church just doesn’t show up.

The other problem is that when we win a battle, we do nothing. Imagine a general in a war who spends all his time trying to win a spot on the battlefield that the enemy has taken. When he is successful and has the enemy on the run, he has his army sit back and do nothing more. Such a general would soon find himself replaced.

We’re in a culture war. There’s a little tip here that should be obvious. The only way you win wars is by fighting in them. Too many of us have taken the attitude as if we are to be gentle Jesus meek and mild. I’m not sure what NT these people are reading, but it’s not the one I read. Meek and mild people do not get crucified. They are not threats to anyone. At best, they are annoyances that the establishment will walk over.

Which is kind of the way the church is viewed today. You can do whatever you want to them. They won’t stand up. They won’t do anything about it. These same people would not dare try anything like this in a Muslim country. They know that Muslims would not sit back and take it. Now I’m certainly not advocating we use violent means like I think Muslims too often would to protest against what’s going on, but I am asking that we at least have the spine to stand up for ourselves.

Would you enter into a battle if you did not think you had at least a good chance of winning? Of course not. You want to be able to live or at least be healthy. So the question we have to ask is why are there so many people in this country who are willing to take on Christianity and the church and fight against them?

Answer: They’re sure they can win the battle.

Sad reality: They’re right.

They don’t have to be. Christians have shown they can win battles. The problem is we’re just not going out and fighting. We too often have the escapist mentality going on and think that this world just doesn’t really matter. It’s not our home. It’s just passing through. All that matters is my individual comfort. Don’t make me risk myself for the cause of Christ.

Well Christianity is not about just you.

Christ did not die for your personal comfort.

You are called to be a slave of Christ. He is your absolute master. You are to do what He says and part of what He said is the Great Commission. That will not make you feel comfortable a lot of times when you do it. Tough.

We often talk about how much Jesus means to us and how He is worth everything to us, but when push comes to shove, we don’t show it. How do I know that? Look at the way America is today. It got that way because Christians sat back and did nothing. If we continue to sit back and do nothing, we can expect the trend will continue. If we actually get up and stand up for ourselves, we can expect a reversal.

I’ve been hoping for a long time the church will wake up and realize what is going on. So far, my expectations have not been realized. May that soon change. My fear is not that we will lose the battle. (In fact, losing the battle with the case of Houston could spur us to fight even harder.) My fear is that we will win the battle and then do nothing.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

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10 Responses to “My Fear With Houston”

  1. labreuer Says:

    Is there a reason the church isn’t having an impact in America?

    When it comes to getting excited about news, doing something, and then going back to life as usual, I heavily suggest Jacques Ellul’s The Political Illusion. He observes this effect and talks about its impact on politics.

    Could it be we got where we are because the church has been more interested in its own comfort and what Christianity can do for them than it is for spreading the Kingdom of God?

    Of course. Sacrifice is for losers. Furthermore, the idea that politics can be used to ‘win’ is hilariously false; see Ellul’s work, as well as James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World, and perhaps even Yoram Hazony’s discussion of Joseph in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture. Jesus won via anti-politics. He undermined the political system, let the political system murder him, and thereby fundamentally altered reality.

  2. Clare Flourish Says:

    I think you are not passionate, because you are concerned about the wrong things. What bothers you? Your first three concerns are non-Christians having sex, and you also mention abortion. I look at Matthew 25. The Lord is concerned with the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, in prison, and I see no need to interpret those other than literally. You can add metaphorical interpretations if you like, but the literal come first. Stop worrying about sex, and start worrying about physical need.

    • labreuer Says:

      I object; the problem with the focus on sex is not a focus on sex, but being retarded about understanding what the actual issues are with sex. First, sexual immorality is a symptom, not a cause. Second, research such as Chap Clark’s Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers argues that sex is often used as an effort to have some kind of real relationship; are Christians offering any better options? In my experience: generally no. For example, the premarital class my wife and I attended was almost exclusively “how to be true friends”. It was sad that this was not a generally taught thing. More research can be found in Christian Smith’s Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood.

      What God cares about most is right relationship; this captures both an antagonism to sexual morality, as well as a promotion of taking care of others’ physical and spiritual/​relational needs. One way you can tell whether you are taking care of spiritual needs is if you expect that the person to whom you are ministering could, one day, function as well if not better than you are functioning, right now. Many ministries to the poor, needy, and oppressed don’t actually do this. I suggest Corbett and Fikkert’s When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself.

      Those who minister only to the physical are those who deny the spiritual. Can you pick out the matter and energy which constitute a healthy relationship? I doubt it. So if all I do is feed, house, and cure a person, I do not aid that person in his/her poiēma, in his/her phortion. Or, in secular terms (a lossy mechanism, but still useful), I suggest Robinson and Aronica’s The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. Fail to help a person unlock his/her ‘Element’, and I claim you do the person a disservice.

      • Clare Flourish Says:

        Thank you for that. It is an interesting perspective. I mean no irony here.

        That ministering to the spiritual needs: what would it look like?

      • labreuer Says:

        I wrote “spiritual/​relational” on purpose: I’m not sure they are different. The word ‘spiritual’ is perhaps less encumbered by the mechanical philosophy. Anyhow, one can see four relationships damaged in the Fall:

             (1) human–God
             (2) human–human
             (3) human–nature
             (4) human–self

        The word ‘spiritual’ would include repair of all of (1)–(4), instead of some subset, usually a subset which excludes (1). To “be of one spirit” with someone or a group is to share the same ultimate desire, even if the various persons fulfill different functions. One critical aspect of such a community is that it does not require “politics of force/​coercion”, which is the common type of politics. One could see Jesus as practicing anti-politics, and one could see his execution as an immune response from a political system.

        A nice succinct way to describe a ‘spiritual’ method of interaction is Mt 20:20–28 and Jn 13:1–20. I really like poiēma, given that it is used only twice in the NT, in Eph 2:10 and Rom 1:20. In case there’s any doubt, see 1 Cor 11:7.

  3. Johnny Thunder Says:

    The physical needs of babies getting murdered by the millions in their mothers’ wombs with Clare’s approval sounds pretty serious to me.

  4. EMuse Says:

    This article is about the church’s lack of social potency, not about sex. Matthew 25 is about kingdom dynamics of faithfulness and righteousness, not social work.

  5. Mark Richmond Says:

    Interesting stuff. I find a lot to chew on here. I have felt for many years the church has taken a two tiered approach to politics. First one is a denial that any of it is relevant. The second one is a full fledged frontal assault into the political realm. There are so many Christians I know who are not knowledgeable about their own countries founding documents and cannot many times even identify the three branches of government. As Christians we are expected to be good citizens and active ones. The world is the world and always will be the world- sin will always reign. Its the degree to which it reigns. Winning others to Christ is of paramount first importance but affecting the culture is of great importance as well. The arts, culture and business has been abandoned by Christians in general and then we wonder why we are so attacked. I am sure Satan is pleased when Christians cluster in church and aren’t vocal at the PTA, committee meetings and group settings. The idea of being PC in our culture has extended far to often into the Christian realm. My 2 cents.

    • labreuer Says:

      Interesting stuff. I find a lot to chew on here. I have felt for many years the church has taken a two tiered approach to politics. First one is a denial that any of it is relevant. The second one is a full fledged frontal assault into the political realm.

      If you like this stuff, I suggest reading Jacques Ellul’s The Political Illusion, The Subversion of Christianity, and James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World. The general argument is that we need to engage in anti-politics, by replacing politics’ doing things by force and coercion, with doing things by cooperation and love.

  6. peripateopneuma Says:

    The easy answer is, the Church preaches and bickers, neither are it’s calling. Somewhere those in the church became concerned with how those outside the church live, and what those inside the church know and believe theologically and left it’s calling behind.

    Leaving that calling behind means they pissed on Christ’s expectations and started doing their own thing.

    The fruit you see is what you’d expect. According to Paul in Gal 5 it’s pure fleshly motivations that drive the Church today.

    The churches job is to love it’s neighbor and enemy and Agapao is a providential love, NOT a preaching judgemental love.

    The church has blindly become Anti Christ in it’s behavior.

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