June 30, 2012


The Decline

            We are constantly amazed at the rapid advancement in technology.  Changes are coming so fast that we can’t keep up with them. Some things are getting better and, in some respects, life is getting easier.  In the light of all that’s happening, it’s easy to overlook the fact that we are in a moral and spiritual decline.  Are you aware of it?  The more we mature in the Christian life the more alarmed we are about what we see taking place around us.

For those of you who are not aware of the decline and those who refuse to believe it, I would like to call to your attention a bit of history.  The decline didn’t start last week or last year.  Some say we have been in a decline ever since Christ left us and went back to heaven.  The truth is that since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden conditions have never been what they could or should be.   Let’s just go back a few years in history and note some changes.

In the early 1900 some of the major newspapers started publishing a Sunday edition.  I wasn’t around yet but I can imagine that many good Christians saw it as an infringement on the sacredness of Sunday.  Then came the time when businesses started staying open on Sundays.  Many Christians said, “There ought to be a law,” and indeed there were laws passed to stop it but little by little secular society won out.  Back in the early 60’s we started hearing of Christians getting a divorce.  Good Christians ask, “Why, how could they do such a thing?”  Then came the revolution in women’s dress styles.  “Why, I can’t believe it.  Mrs. Fritz came to church in pants this morning.”  With the influence of television, pants gave way to nudity.  First it was just in the night clubs but eventually it was seen in street clothes as well.

The hippie culture brought in the “I don’t care about my appearance” attitude.  At first it was just a radical fringe element and everyone thought it would go away but, alas, it’s still with us.  The wedding march and the “With this ring I thee wed” gave way to, “Let’s just shack up.”  Now we are told that homosexuality is an acceptable life style.  We are seeing more and more flagrant manifestations of low morals in high places and many people are willing to let it be.  Where will it end?  I foresee the day when having multiple marriage partners will be accepted.  After all, if Frank can afford to have five wives, what’s wrong with it?

There are those on the left who hail these changes as liberation.  But has it given us peace and happiness?  To the contrary, we have more social and emotional problems than ever before.  Only those with blind eyes fail to see it.  What begins as liberation ends up being restraint and hardship

At the same time we have suffered a spiritual decline.  The American Colonists fought against German rationalism.  Then came the inroads of modernism that wreaked havoc in many churches and left multitudes with doubts about the miracles of Christ and his virgin birth as well as the inspiration of the Bible.

As spirituality declined, some churches gave up, first their mid week service, and then the Sunday evening service.  Some responded to the summer slump by suspending Sunday school until summer was over.  Many weak Christians still go to church in their pj’s in front of the television.  Many that were once God honoring churches have given way to the modern philosophy that says the only way to reach people and keep them in church is by entertaining them.  They are using the world’s music and drama instead of preaching. Social activities now take the place of Bible studies and prayer meetings.  Multitudes, with a lack of spiritual discernment, are attracted to the emotional highs offered by the charismatic movement.  Many, who were once good Christians, have departed from the straight and narrow way.  They have been taught to deride the faithful followers of Christ by calling them “legalists.”

Praise be to God, there are still multitudes who have not bowed the knee to Baal.  There is still a faithful multitude who are burdened about the spiritual and moral decline they see all around them.  There are still churches all across the country and around the world who still have mid week services, Sunday evening services and prayer meetings.  They aren’t dying.  To the contrary, many are growing and rejoicing in the blessings of God.

“My beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).  These are days that try men’s souls.  We are constantly assaulted by forces that weaken and destroy our moral and spiritual fiber.

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might”  (Ephesians 6:10).  The weak are giving way.  The battle is to the strong.  Where is the courage of Daniel who went to the lion’s den rather than bow to the emperor?  Where is the courage of that faithful multitude of Anabaptists who gave their bodies to be burned rather than yield to the demands of an apostate religious system? “Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?”

The world needs to see more manifestations of genuine Christian living.  Give us courage, Lord, to give this world what it needs, and not just what it wants; to reform instead of conform; to spend time daily with thee on the mount that we might have the strength to descend to the valley and fight with the giants who are taking from us all that is noble and precious.

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