I read a great post today from Mike Breen: “Obituary for the American Church.” In it he talks about how celebrity, consumerism and competition have led us off course, away from the things we (the Church) are called to focus on. At the end he lifts up a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. and his Letter From A Birmingham Jail. Take a second to read this powerful section from the letter:
There was a time when the church was very powerful…in those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven.” Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.
If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
I knew of MLK the great civil rights leader but I didn’t realize he was also a modern day prophet, foreseeing the great decaying of the American church. Are you willing to sacrifice church as you know it?
Abandon Church As…
- part of society
- safe, comfortable
- an entertainment destination
Embrace Church As…
- an assembly of outside agitators
- a mission outpost