Please Don’t Awaken the Sleeping Church

By Al Benson Jr.

Recently on http://www.thedailybeast.com I read an article entitled: A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent. It was written by a Kirsten Powers. I don’t know anything about this lady but she did posit some thoughts that American Christians should be thinking about and probably haven’t a clue about.

Anyone who has read my material in recent years realizes that I have grave questions about what the Church in this country is doing (and isn’t doing). The Church today seems to be submerged in what I would call a wait for the rapture, just be nice, the Lord’s in control and so we do nothing theology. That’s about the briefest way I can describe it and keep it civil.

Powers states in her article: “Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.” She noted further down in the article an event that took place in Nairobi, Kenya that killed more than 70 people. She said: “The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab ‘confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.’ The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot…In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls.” It’s interesting that weve been told what a bad guy Assad in Syria is and yet Christians, it seems, have been safe under his government and they realize that if he goes, then their safety net is gone.

It’s the same game they played in Iraq a couple decades ago. We were all told what a scumbag Saddam Hussein was, and I will agree, he was no Sunday school teacher, but yet under his regime, Christians in Iraq were left alone. You can’t say that has been the case since. Christians in Iraq now are an endangered species. I find it interesting that in these instances, regimes that have not harassed Christians are the ones that our government has targeted. Any pattern here?

Powers has observed that: “American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.”

So what’s the problem with America’s churches? And what “issues” do they organize around that are so important that they easily overlook what happens to their brethren in other areas? Some organize to combat abortion. That’s good. No problem there except that not enough are doing it and not enough are concerned.

I am a Reformed Christian and so I expect I will make some folks mad with my comments, but I feel I have to say what I am saying here. This is a subject I have struggled with. Many churches and Christians today, and for over a century have been caught up in what I call “the rapture cult” (there was a book written by that same name around 30 years ago). The main idea is that the Lord could come back anytime now and so why be involved in anything political, educational, or culture changing because we won’t be here anyway—so just sit back and do nothing and don’t worry about it. You have to wonder where the rapture was for those poor folks getting slaughtered in the Middle East, or for all the martyrs over the centuries that have died for their faith, some of which are still dying for it. It almost seems that this rapture concept was invented for American Christians to keep them on the couch, and therefore doing nothing. Now understand, when I question the “rapture cult” I am not questioning the Lord’s second coming. Scripture says He will return and I believe that. I just don’t think it will happen in the next ten minutes like some of these folks do. Their belief in this neutralizes them.

Then there are the “just be nice” folks who don’t want to offend anyone, anywhere, at anytime and to call sin by its real name they’d have to do that, and so they don’t—anytime. Now admittedly, Christians shouldn’t run around trying to be ornery, but stop and think a bit. Obviously Jesus “offended” the Jewish religious establishment or they would not have schemed to get the Romans to nail Him to the cross. If you read the Gospels, Jesus spent quite a bit of time offending the Jewish religious establishment—and He did it not only by healing and helping people, often on the Sabbath, but He did it by telling that establishment the truth about Himself. They weren’t having any of that. Three years after He started His ministry they proved it. And they continued to prove it all the way through the Book of Acts if you care to read about it. Jesus told them that their religious establishment had become apostate and revolutionary and that He had come to inaugurate God’s Kingdom and do away with their religious establishment and that really ticked them off. It ticks off some Christians today, too, who feel that Christians ought to support political Zionism no matter what. This is a complicated subject and I will try to do another article on it later.

And, last but not least, at least for me, come the folks, many of them Reformed, who say “The Lord’s in control of it all, so why worry or get upset, just let Him take care of it all.” Again, let me state that I have never said the Lord wasn’t in control of all things. I don’t doubt He is, but, again, lots of folks use this as an excuse for doing nothing. If the Lord’s in control then He will sort it all out and I don’t have to do anything except go along for the ride. Another great neutralizer! The Lord’s in control, therefore, I don’t gotta do nothin’. I’ve talked with some of these folks and put forth the novel concept that, while the Lord is in control, maybe, just maybe, He wants to exercise some of that control through His people. That doesn’t go over real well. They don’t like that idea anymore than the Pharisees liked the idea of Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath.

I recently heard a minister say that maybe God is allowing Islam to do what it’s doing in this country and in Europe because the church is basically asleep, or so concerned about non-essential issues that it doesn’t have any time for what’s important. That might explain the great big yawn American Christians give when they hear about horrendous atrocities being committed against their brethren in the Middle East and Africa.

Somehow, American Christians seem to have been neutralized to the point where they really think “it can’t happen here.” They don’t realize that as long as they sit and do nothing about anything it will happen here and is happening while they enjoy spiritual slumber.

Between the Scofield Bible Notes, bland evangelicalism, and unconcerned “Reformers” the Church is in serious trouble in this country and in others as well.

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21 thoughts on “Please Don’t Awaken the Sleeping Church

  1. Well, I agree with everything you said. So, what are we supposed to do? Pray is all I’ve come up with so far. You got any better ideas? If you do, I hope you don’t keep them to yourself for very long.

  2. Praying might be a good place to start and after that we need to get ourselves educated as to what goes on and how we can oppose it as Christians and not just sit it out. If Christians don’t start opposing the anti-Christ culture around them then it wins by default. How about Christians starting to find out what’e evil out there and who promotes it and finding ways to expose both evil and evildoers. We won’t change it all overnight but we need to start to do something.

    • The “frozen chosen” sitting in the pews doesn’t know what to do. Finding evil and who promotes it should be simple. It’s everywhere you look. How to expose the evil and the evildoers is another matter. Speaking truth to power is like so much water running off a duck’s back. I’ve talked to politicians about something as simple as making ultrasounds mandatory at abortion clinics only to be told we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that. You can’t even vote them out. I’ve stood in front of the abortion clinic alone and with others praying, but the infanticide continues. I’ve pled with the school board over their unlawful property tax increases and been ignored. I’ve fed, clothed, transported and encouraged inmates with God’s word and watched them go back to jail. I just don’t know how one person can do anything to alter the situation. America turned her back on God’s law in 1787 when the Constitution was adopted. I doubt there is any political answer to America’s problems. Politics is the problem. God will not be mocked. I fear the U.S. is under the judgment of God right now. If I’m right, things are going to change in a big way. I can only hope enough people will understand the importance of God’s law so that can become the basis of what rises from the ashes. It is imperative we teach God’s law to our children and grand children if they are to survive.

      • I agree, we turned our back on God’s Law in 1787. We have to have a multi-generational approach just like we do with education. My wife and I learned that the public school system was basically anti-Christ so we worked at giving our children a Christian education, both in Christian schools and at home. Now our daughter is homeschooling her six kids. This is the way we have to do it. One person can’t, or so we think, make much difference, but with the Lord’s guidance and direction, one person can often reach someone that might make a difference. We can only do what the Lord enables us to do, but we need to be about doing that to the best of our ability. In the Book of Acts, Paul preached to power and it didn’t seem to make much difference, but we don’t know for sure. If you have “preached to power” you have done what the Lord wanted you to do and the results are up to Him. You have been faithful. Thank Him that He allowed you to do so and let Him use it as He will, even if it is for judgment against those you have preached to.

  3. It is about time Christians around the world stood up for what they believe, if they do truly believe! While I don’t care for Powers’ politics, she does appear to be changing somewhat after her Christian conversion and she is welcome to the Christian community… Her article is a good start and a focus on the problem with rampant radical Islam… Some background on Kirsten Powers…

    Kirsten Powers
    Born: 1969 (age 45–46), Fairbanks, Alaska
    Nationality: United States
    Ethnicity: Irish
    Alma mater: University of Maryland
    Occupation: Columnist, pundit
    Religion: Christian
    Spouse(s): Marty Makary (2010-2013)

    Kirsten A. Powers is an American political pundit, analyst, USA Today columnist, and a Fox News contributor. She began her career as a Democratic Party staff assistant with the Clinton-Gore presidential transition team in 1992, followed by an appointment as Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public Affairs in the Clinton administration from 1993-1998. She subsequently worked in various roles including press secretary, communications consultant and party consultant. She also serves as a columnist to USA Today, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

    Kirsten Powers is a columnist for The Daily Beast. She is also a contributor to USA Today and a Fox News political analyst. She served in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998 and has worked in New York State and city politics. Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, The New York Observer, Salon.com, Elle magazine, and American Prospect online.

    Anthony Weiner’s former girlfriend Kirsten Powers defended him on TV to millions of people after he insisted to her that he didn’t send lewd photos on Twitter. Now she takes him to task for his rampant misogyny—and says he must resign immediately.

    Full disclosure: I briefly dated Anthony almost a decade ago after meeting him at a post campaign party for the 2002 New York gubernatorial race, during which I had worked as Andrew Cuomo’s press secretary. The relationship didn’t last, but we stayed friends. While we were dating, he traveled with my family to Costa Rica for Christmas, and years later I spent Thanksgiving with his when I was stranded in New York City because of work. He was a strong support when my father died suddenly from a heart attack seven years ago. When a relationship I had been hopeful about ended in 2006, he cleared his calendar to spend a Saturday with me and reassure me about my decision. We only dated for three months, and he was for the most part a doting boyfriend and my family was very fond of him.

    Last April, Kirsten Powers went on Focus on the Family to talk about her watershed column shaming the media into covering the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

    In that interview, she also shares her own story about coming to faith in Christ through the ministry of Tim Keller’s church in New York City. It turns out that Eric Metaxas also had a role in her conversion, and she is surprisingly candid about the whole thing.

    Video: http://www.dennyburk.com/journalist-kirsten-powers-tells-about-her-conversion-to-christ/

    Here’s an excerpt:
    Really, I mean it was just sort of like God…invading my life. It was very unwelcome. I didn’t like it… I started having a lot of different experiences where I just felt…God doing a lot of things in my life. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I did just have this moment of the scales falling off my eyes, and just saying, ‘this is totally true, I don’t even have any doubt’…

    I don’t really feel like I had any courage…when I became a Christian, I just gave in… It wasn’t courageous; I didn’t have any choice. I kept trying to not believe and I… just couldn’t avoid it. If I could have avoided it, I would have. There is nothing convenient about it in my life, in the world I live in. It’s not like living in the South or living somewhere where everybody is a Christian. I live in a world where nobody is a believer.

    • Al,
      Thanks for passing this along. I didn’t know anything about the lady but it would seem that the Lord has worked in her life and this article is part of the results of that. Has she not written this we never would have seen it and would never have been able to pass along her comments to others, so the Lord does work in this way with each of us.

      • You’re welcome! I’ve read the comments posted here and it seems to me that even though our numbers might be small, the good Lord will use each of us in our present locations and abilities to accomplish His will. I share your concerns about the Reformed Church.

  4. This is an interesting beginning. I’d love to hear your more developed thought son the topics that you mentioned you’d expand on. Especially about who Christ calls out. I’m always interested to see which way Christians are going to take that discussion.
    Blessing on your journey!

    • Could you please expand on what you mean by who Christ calls out? There are lots of takes on that by different people and I want to be sure I understand where you are coming from. Thanks.

      • Forgive the slang. You said that Christ often riled up the Jewish temple officials. I’d love to see your take on who that means we should be unafraid to anger in modern day.

  5. As others have asked, what’s to be done? Change is needed on the individual level as well as the group level, leaders are needed. The urge to ‘fix the world’ is very strong, but not realistic and can lead to pride. Of course, pointing out falsehoods and errors are a part of speaking truthfully. Its called the straight and narrow path because its hard to walk.

    I’m into quotes today, so here’s some tangentially related quotes:

    “A fish that is alive swims against the flow of water. One that is dead floats down with the water. A true Christian goes against the current of sinful age. A false one is swept away by its swiftness.”

    + St. Philaret of Moscow

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    Reinhold Niebuhr

    “Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.”
    St Seraphim of Sarov

    Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

    1 Thess 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

    “Excessive care about worldly matters is characteristic of an unbelieving and fainthearted person, and woe to us, if, in taking care of ourselves, we do not use as our foundation our faith in God, who cares for us! If we do not attribute visible blessings to Him, which we use in this life, then how can we expect those blessings from Him which are promised in the future? We will not be of such little faith. By the words of our Savior, it is better first to seek the Kingdom of God, for the rest shall be added unto us (see Mt. 6:33).”

    – St. Seraphim of Sarov

    1 Thess 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

    2 Corinthians 6:
    14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;

    ‘Of all the afflictions that burden the human race, there is not one, whether spiritual or bodily, that cannot be healed by the Holy Scriptures.’

    St. John Chrysostom

    ‘A humble man who lives a spiritual life, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will relate all things to himself and not to others.’

    St. Mark the Ascetic

    • This is a good quote. And I agree, a lot also needs to be done on the individual level before we can ever make any difference at any greater level. My point is that much of the church is not trying to either equip us at the individual level or being an example at any higher level. Much of it is like the dead fish.

  6. I am currently in the unenviable position of being involved in three churches. I speak truth in each – and find myself rejected in all. For the record, I didn’t ask for this. I’ve actually asked God to take me away from it, but He makes me stay. All three churches are fine with keeping pagan rituals. One denies not only that we’re in the endtimes, but says that prophecy about “that stuff” doesn’t matter and it’s too difficult to understand anyway. The other two believe that we’re in the endtimes, but it’s okay because “We’re outta here! Praise God, He will make a way for us to escape.” Like He did for all the Christians dying in the Middle East and Africa? I keep sounding the alarm in what small way I can – and they keep hitting the snooze. I tell them America is under judgment and they say “America is the greatest country on earth and God is going to restore her to her former glory.” The greatest move of God IS coming, but it comes on the wings of the greatest persecution in history. Just don’t tell anyone because they’ll decide you’re crazy…

    • Lots of Christians in this country have bought into the “rapture” theory and it is truly their excuse for not doing anything. As you say, where was the “rapture” for Christians in Africa and other places where there is persecution? Unfortunately, with some exceptions, I find most American Christians totally clueless and happy to remain that way. We will be judged–and this almost total Christian apathy is part of the reason.

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