First of all, I’d like to say that in a large part, I agree with all of the responses I posted previously. But I do differ on a few points.
Here’s my answer:
I think we are reaping the harvest of years and years of the church tolerating, perpetuating, and even celebrating sin.
These are the sins I’m talking about:
- Generations of favoritism towards the wealthy, as James 2 forbids.
- Generations of oppressing the poor and powerless, as the entire bible condemns.
- Generations of hypocrisy – claiming to live “good clean lives” claiming to be “Christian” while living lives of pursuing selfish gain, hating and envying each other, gossip, slander, and love of money.
- Generations of using the church as a stepping block to gain power over other people- other races, other genders, even our own brothers and sisters.
- Generations of quenching the Spirit and instead promoting a legalistic and dogmatic view of the world.
- Generations of claiming to be alive, but instead being dead and in that way inoculating the world against hope the power of God in the church.
There are more things, and I could elaborate specifically but I’d like to move on to the results of these sins.
And here’s how we’re reaping it: I believe that the mass exodus of millennials and Gen Z from the organized church is due to the wounds they have suffered while inside the dead machine of the American church. Because of our lack of life and truth and Spirit, many of them have not rejected us- they are rejecting the Lord. Their blood is on our hands. They are being won to spiritualism, other religions and gods, humanism, hedonism, apathy, and atheism, because we have not walked in righteousness towards God and them.
We condemn them for leaving to nurse their wounds with the balm that the world offers- We claim that they are the problem- We preach about their “apostasy” and against their behavior. But do you know what I think? Some of them are actually rejecting us purely because they are seeking the truth.
I believe the Lord is allowing this exodus. I believe that the “Revival” that we’ve been praying for for so long isn’t looking like “tent meetings where people en masse are repenting-” it is looking like many, many people questioning and researching and wondering and seeking truth wherever they can possibly find it- because the “truth” that the church has been handing out is full of moldy, corrupted, abusive and ungodly poison.
We say we are children of the Living God, but we tolerate and promote abuse, neglect, pride, self-righteousness, hatred, slander, love of money, self-absorption, favoritism, and racism in our lives and in our churches, and we call it “Bible truth.” We do it both by preaching and teaching wrong, but ALSO by living lives that are FULL of it, and claiming we are sinless and “God’s people.”
You know that commandment that says “Not to use the Lord’s name in vain?” I think that we have harped on not saying “oh My God” as an off the cuff phrase when in reality, we are far more guilty of that command by claiming that our lives and our churches are in Jesus’ name, when he would not approve of many of the things that go on in his name or the testimony that many believers live out.
I think the Spirit of God is allowing our generation to reel in frustration, to feel the pain of losing loved ones to apostasy- because he has been feeling the same way for years.
And I think the only way to save our generation is if WE the CHURCH REPENT.
And I don’t mean “repent for the sins of our nation.” I have heard far too many sermons condemning sin outside of the church. Abortion, Evolution, Sexual Deviancy- there is no shortage of Christian voices condemning the rest of the world for these things. But it takes courage to preach repentance to OURSELVES.
When I say REPENT, I mean. REPENT for the SINS of the CHURCH.
We need to repent for being inhospitable to strangers in our own congregations. For being cliquey and rude and self-seeking and proud. (Me, I need to repent of this.)
We need to repent of lack of love- holding onto offenses and delighting when other people fail or are proven unworthy. We need to repent for our lack of patience and kindness. (Me, 100%)
We need to repent for building our power, privilege, and wealth on other people whom we are intended to love and serve as Christ loved. This includes living lives of luxury on the backs of poor laborers in other nations. We need to repent for idolizing the wealthy and the famous people in our nation, and for thinking that God’s favor means that we will have a prettier Instagram-worthy life. (so much me.)
We need to repent for pointing our fingers at other people and not humbly tearing the logs out of our own eyes. We need to repent for the self-righteousness that we have had. (And I am the worst)
We need to repent for our lack of devotion to the Lord and for pledging allegiance to political parties and economic ideologies as if they were the gospel.
We need to repent for our constant molding him to an image we wanted him to be- our boring, tepid, stagnant, SILENT god that He NEVER was.
We need to take a good, hard look at ourselves and beg him to touch the coal to our lips.
We need to repent, and we need to look at him and beg him to have mercy on us.
I say this with complete humility- recognizing that I am so guilty of so much of these things.
I say this also with compassion- I recognize that many believers live lives of hard things- trauma and financial pressure and- well, so many things that I seriously dislike the thought of rebuking any of my brothers or sisters. I know the Lord is tender hearted with his children, even when we have things to repent of.
But we can’t just ignore it.
I believe that if the church would repent for the legalistic, prideful, abusive, and hateful ways that we have been living- and would instead be full of loving, welcoming, kind, tenderhearted, giving, and forgiving people- we wouldn’t need to “fight” for a christian nation. We would be a shiny light in a dark world.