Sunday Afternoon Musings on Scripture
David Olsen describes a sea-change in the religious landscape of America. In his book, The American Church in Crisis, a longitudinal 16 year study looking at attendance in American churches and a whole host of related phenomenon, Olsen’s title sounds a significant alarm. The Church in America is indeed in Crisis.
My own assessment is that she (the American church) is declining in size and influence; she is weak in power, shallow in doctrine, lacking in sacrificial love and in short; she spends her resources and time on yesterday’s programs and trivialities while the world both near and far is still white unto harvest (Luke 10:1-2).
And while the church is in sad shape, it is never time to despair. Jesus is still enthroned. The gospel is still powerful. The word of God is still living and active. Our ascended Lord is still coming to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1). Our nation, and more importantly, the church in our nation could yet rise and make a difference for the Kingdom of God. But it will take a massive turning to God in repentance. The people of God need a passion for holiness.
It is against the Backdrop of The American Church in Crisis, (David Olson, 2008) … that I come to Ezekiel 14 and invite you to read the whole chapter and then read the following few words. Pray with me for the people of God to run into the arms of God.
Read Ezekiel 14:
Are we a land that Noah, Daniel, and Job cannot save?
- Are the idols in our hearts so many, so deeply anchored, so fervently worshipped that only judgment can dislodge them?
- Is famine and poverty and economic devastation our impending future?
- Are there beasts at our doors and swords on our borders and blood on our souls as well as our bodies?
- Is disease and sorrow and helplessness our looming horizon for our arrogance and deceit and thanklessness?
“The gates of hell shall not prevail against Your Church, Oh God, but You don’t need the United States to accomplish Your will. Oh spare us Lord God. Don’t let Israel’s fate become ours. Revive us for Your glory. Fan the flames of revival in our souls that the idols dwelling there would be banished from our hearts and judgment from our land. Amen.”