What is the spiritual state of the American church?I fear that we in the West are becoming so seriously morally compromised that we will find it increasingly difficult to withstand the attacks that are coming against the church—both from secularism in general and the spread of Islam. We are yielding ourselves and compromising with regard to the values that nibble away at our single-minded commitment to Jesus Christ.
Our moral compromises make us weak and vulnerable to whatever wind of adversity comes against us.
Let’s review a few of the kinds of compromise that can weaken us as believers.
1. The Compromise of Consumerism
Our world is crammed full of things and activities that in and of themselves aren’t inherently sinful, but we allow them to fill the void which only God can fill. In this way we become practical polytheists: We worship God Himself on Sunday, then indulge ourselves with the gods of materialism and self-fulfillment the rest of the week.
Perhaps our greatest failure is that we have equated the American way of life with the Christian way of life.
2. The Compromise of a Weakened Gospel
There are at least a couple different ways in which a weakened gospel is affecting the church today.
First, there is a more general kind of gospel compromise in the sense that believers are watering down the gospel message in an attempt to make Christianity look more appealing to unbelievers.
Second, some people today have become advocates of what is called Chrislam—that is, the bringing together of Christianity and Islam.
This is not the place to present a critique of this new form of syncretism, except to say that it is difficult—in fact, impossible—for a person to receive Christ as Savior and remain a Muslim. Islam explicitly denies the deity of Christ, His crucifixion, and that He alone is the way to salvation. Christianity teaches that salvation is possible only because of Christ’s deity and His crucifixion.
3. The Compromise of Institutionalized Christianity
I am not saying that we should do away with church buildings or pastors. But we want to make sure we don’t lose sight of what a church really is—the people, and not the building or an organization.
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Make no mistake: If we compromise morally or spiritually—if we lose the gospel and the transformed lives that accompany it—the church will be vulnerable when hostility and persecution come, and in time, it will diminish or die out.
I believe the church in America has been spared of major persecution so far because many Christians here have been mightily used by God to spread the gospel to the world. Almost certainly that would end if and when persecution became more intrusive and hampered our ministries.
So what can your church do—or what can you do—to grow deeper and more interconnected roots to prepare for the storm that is sure to come?
- Cut down on worldly distractions and spend more time reading the Scriptures. We must have our roots deeply planted in the soil of God’s Word.
- Connect with other believers in fellowship and accountability. Our repentance must be deep and lasting, and our courage must be consistent and contagious.
When these things happen, we will have equipped ourselves to endure.
Adapted from The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent by Erwin Lutzer