MY YEARS AS A PASTOR
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” [Rom. 13:11].
This past August, I observed the 47th anniversary of my ordination as a Baptist preacher. In August of 1972, I was “set apart” for gospel ministry in a ceremony at the Dunbar Baptist Church. I looked again this week at the names on my ordination document of the nine preachers who participated in this event. When I realized that only two remain alive, a sadness encompassed me and tears came to my eyes.
I wondered what these good and faithful men who are now with the Lord would think if they were still alive? It is mind boggling as one thinks of the changes that have occurred in our world and Christianity in these past nearly 50 years. This is true in all churches, but the changes are especially obvious in those which are evangelical, or fundamental, or conservative. However, the changes that appear the most dramatic have settled into the independent Baptist churches. The changes must surely be referenced to the abandonment and/or compromise of God’s word and clear biblical principles. Added to these are the new SOCIETAL ISSUES we now face, and the pervasive APATHY, and spiritual COLDNESS in even the best of our churches.
Fifty years ago, I was examined regarding my training and understanding of bible doctrines and theological trends. I was also questioned regarding my beliefs and position of current social issues such as marriage/divorce, abortion, drinking, gambling, premarital sex, and so forth. There were some pretty intelligent, informed, and politically savvy men on that council who grilled me. But no one asked me about my opinion on same-sex marriage, or on transgender, or drag-queens reading to kids in the library, or at what age you chose your gender, or on if it was ok for a homosexual to pastor a church, and so on. After all, who would have thought that these would ever be issues?
But that was then and now is now. Today, even good, godly, and faithful members and preachers seem to be confused or affected by the issues, the decline and the lethargy. The excitement, the love, the desire, and fervor exhibited by Christians and, even in our churches, are more often for things of this world rather than the things of God. Daily prayer, bible reading and study, church attendance, and soul-winning are afterthoughts or often neglected entirely. As this world rushes toward moral nihilism, even in the best of our churches there is a deepening spiritual lethargy, and Christ’s people are spiritually “asleep.” I fear what it may soon take for the Lord to awaken us from slumber and our stupor of indifference.
It has been often observed, that throughout history that “suffering is often God’s megaphone to rouse a sleepy world and church.” But why must God use suffering? Could it be that this is due that our sleep is so deep and the dream from which we must be awakened is so pleasant? Our dream is the lie and illusion “that all is well?” WEN
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