(The Church is a tremendous force for good in the world. But what difference can the church make if it doesn’t first make an eternal difference?)
I heard a part of The Glenn Beck program last week that caught my attention immediately. I can’t remember which day it was but that doesn’t really matter; I hear Glenn say things all the time that are akin to the remark I’m about to tell you about. But this was the most blatant example of Glenn assaulting Christianity that I have ever heard.
The statement that Glenn Beck made was that, if your church is only interested in getting people “down into the waters of baptism, then I don’t want to be a part of your church!” The context of the remark was that he want to be a part of a church that does good things.
As a Christian, I want to do good things. But I don’t want to have anything to do with a church that’s main interest is anything other than taking lost people “down into the waters of baptism.”
I have written recently about our country’s need to return to a common morality that has its roots in Christianity. The key phrase is “has its roots in Christianity.” Good works are the product of people going “down into the waters of baptism.” Common morality and decency are the products of lives that have been at least influenced by the Bible, to the end that they are radically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16). Everyone likes to focus on the “good works” part of that verse. I want to focus on the “light so shine” part. Where does that light come from, if not from the in-dwelling Spirit of God whose main interest is your eternal salvation?
If the Church ever becomes an institution of good works, God help this world. They will never receive what they truly need. I want a church that is ONLY interested in the eternal salvation of souls.
Glenn Beck’s flaw is a tendency toward universalism. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as we are being good human beings. His flaw isn’t the only flaw out there, however.
“I’m done with religion [and] stupid rules, that somebody other than Jesus thought up for my own good.”
The words of Pastor Jim Burgen sound progressive and attractive to many people. But I’m afraid it is because so many people misdefine “religion.” The Bible defines the boundaries of the most important relationship we almost never had- our relationship with Jesus Christ, a loving but just Savior. He redeemed us because He wanted to, not because we deserved it. Burgen’s statement in the article, “We’re not anyone’s holy spirit,” is so far removed as to be in recognizable compared to the sentiment of great preachers of old whose goal was the eternal salvation of lost souls:
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Doing good works is a byproduct of the Spirit of Christ in the lives of believers. Spirit-filled believers are born into a church with the sole mission of redeeming lost souls through faith in Jesus and obedience to His Word. I don’t want, and the world doesn’t need, a church that is interested in the here-and-now. Guide me, correct me, convict me, and change me in a church that is completely focused on the eternal there-and-then.