Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD,
For my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:12,13).
Dear Members of the Acts Forum,
You have joined this group because you have witnessed a great atrocity. You have read the Holy Scriptures breathed forth by the very Spirit of God, you have also observed the practices of the Church in America, and you cannot any longer with your imagination fill the chasm that divides the two. You witness on the one hand that the Spirit of God through Christ declares, “Fear not little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom; sell your possessions and give to the poor,” and on the other the American Church declares, “The tithe is God’s; the rest is yours.” You also witness on the one hand the Spirit of God through Christ commands, “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven,” and on the other the American Church declares, “Live the American Dream; buy for yourself SUVs and large and beautiful houses in safe neighborhoods.” You have also witnessed on the one hand the Spirit of God through Christ declares, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on…Seek the kingdom of God, and these things will be added to you,” and on the other hand the American Church declares, “Build bigger barns and retirement funds so that your soul might rest easily.” You witness these things in the American Church, and you, with great lamentation, witness them in your own soul.
By the Spirit of God, you have come to realize that the God of the Bible and the God of the American Church are not the same God. You have come to realize that the God of the Bible is a holy and untamable God and that the God of the American Church is a corny and well-contained God. You have come to realize that the God of the Bible is a God that provides sufficiency in himself alone and that the God of the American Church provides sufficiency in possessions. You witness these things, and you, like the convicted at Pentecost, are cut to the heart by the very Spirit of God and cry out, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
My brothers and sisters, there is no easy remedy for our ill. It is a sophisticated cancer that has been silently progressing for decades, cunningly injecting into our veins the pleasures of the world all the while sucking out the joy that is in God. It has transformed the American Church not into a shrine for unadulterated Materialism but into a shrine for Materialism with cross and steeple upon it. She has the oracles of God within her walls, but has not its convictions. She has a Christ and a Savior, but he has no power to save. She has a God, but he is petty and mutable. And again your heart cries out, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Brothers and sisters, take heart, for we do have a divinely appointed course of action. First, we must pray. We must pray that the Spirit of God that dwells within us will convict us of the things of God. We must pray that our hearts and minds, through the power of the Spirit, will submit to all the declarations of Scripture. We must pray that our misconceived thoughts about the Almighty will be nullified and replaced with proper ones. Second, we must be diligent students of the oracles of God. We must test every nook and cranny of our hearts, minds, and lives against the clear commands of Scripture and destroy all of our inconsistencies. Third, having prayed and having come to a proper understanding of God and his commands, we must proclaim these to the Church. A medicine that remains in the cupboard is of no benefit to the dying soul, “For how are they to hear without a preacher?” Finally, the Church must be purged of those who resist the will of God. These steps might take a lifetime to accomplish, or, if the Lord so desires, might never be accomplished in our lifetimes in our churches. And yet we must try for his name’s sake.
The first step is a crucial one. We must pray. Therefore I propose that those of us who are willing meet weekly for prayer for the American Church. There is no power for change apart from the working of the Spirit of God, and we must seek his power and implore him for wisdom. I propose that Saturday mornings be designated for such a time of prayer, but other times can be proposed and considered. Your input is desired.
To God Alone Be the Glory,