Every neighborhood has them, probably every congregation—those people who carry around a spirit of grievance. “I have been wronged,” they say. They develop a self-pitying, complaining spirit.
We believe the Bible teaches that righteousness and peace in church life must be a working reality, not merely a distant, unattainable goal. The Bible also calls the Church to be a healthy, properly functioning body, not a sick or broken one (1Cor 12). We find these requirements sadly lacking at times among conservative Christians. One worldly, sinful culprit responsible for the chaos in many churches is the MTO church mentality.
Like thousands of other Nigerian Christians in recent years, John Yakubu and his family fled their home to escape repeated attacks by Boko Haram terrorists. But, unable to feed his family in the refugee camp, John returned home to collect some of his livestock. There the terrorists seized him and demanded he convert to Islam. On his refusal, they tied him to a tree, cut his head and body with large knives, and left him for dead. However, he was later rescued and taken to a hospital for treatment.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Th 2:11-12).
The question has often been asked, “Which comes first—the chicken or the egg?” This question has been around for generations, but what does come first? The egg really does come from the chicken. But the chicken comes from the egg. To have chickens or eggs, we must conclude we need both chickens and eggs.
Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the December 1993 issue of The Pilgrim Witness.
“Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Oh, if only we could have clutched the gunwale of that heaving boat and witnessed the power of those words! The winds died, the sea was calm, and the disciples were awed. Jesus’ rebuke of those forces shows to us that they were being controlled by a power that was more than natural. Nature is always subject to the will of its Creator.
What attracts people to the variety of churches that are in the world today? It seems that churches in the past attracted people with their elegant buildings—at least by the looks of them—and maybe that still applies to some. But now it seems that they more often interest people by their programs, their music performances, or their preaching that doesn’t step on toes. and many will go for the freedom that they can enjoy at a particular church while still being called Christians.
What do plain suits, holy kisses, and no life insurance have in common? What do female preachers, homosexual practice, and killing enemies have in common? What do stubbly faces, country music, and large bellies have in common? Winking.
It is either loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ or a wink. Winks happen. Winks are effortless. Winks are cheap. But winks communicate. Winks tell whole stories. Winkers recognize each other and they wink. But winkers live in a bubble. Unfortunately they do not know it.
Control is a delicate subject that requires balance. So many things around us seem to be out of control. As parents we must control our children and help them learn self-control. As a church we need some control to keep us on the narrow way to Glory. But in the exercise of control there is potential for abuse! All human hearts have some tendency to err toward wanting more control than God has designed for us to have.
The photograph was poignant. It seemed to illustrate a contrast of world views. In the photograph was a crowd of people at a Fourth of July celebration with their eyes turned upward, watching a fireworks display. Dispersed among the crowd were a few sisters with headship veilings and their less noticeable male counterparts from the “peace churches,” exclaiming at the beauty of the display.
It could be said that value is in the eye of the beholder. Value is described as the importance or worth that we place upon something. We measure worth by the qualities we perceive. While viewpoints and perceptions vary greatly in the world today, most people place family and friends high on the list of what they value.