The church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord.
She is his new creation
by water and the word.
From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died. *
Just in the last few days, America and the world have witnessed the terrible advancing barbarism of Islamic terrorism. Its latest atrocity on display is the horrific beheading of American citizen and journalist, James Foley. We see with stunning clarity the absolute, naked evil on display. Incredibly, the atrocity is dispatched to news outlets all over the world then “Facebooked” and Tweeted. This following on the heels of a disgusting image of an eight-year old Australian boy holding up the decapitated head of a Syrian soldier his terrorist father has just handed him for the camera. Again, it appears on Facebook, YouTube, and news outlets around the world to the absolute revulsion of all who still retain the capacity for experiencing revulsion.
At the same time, on our home front, there is this massive upheaval in the now infamous St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri where looters and rioters have occupied the news cycles literally non-stop as a result of a police involved shooting of a black teen. While we wonder where the outcome of the investigation will eventually lead, there is already substantial reason to believe this very racially charged situation is being fueled by imported trouble makers from around the country, coupled with the bipolar criticism of local and state police as being either inadequate or overly militarized.
You may well wonder how these incidents (and there are plenty of others we could mention, but these will do for the sake of discussion for now) so seemingly unconnected have anything in common and moreover why they would rate a topic of interest to Shenandoah Christian Alliance.
Because, if for no other reason, these events may well qualify for entry into an age of terrible social upheaval and societal collapse, and if that is true, now more than ever the Church will need to prepare for the assault on our families, our community and our country that may well occasion a crisis of faith of our own.
Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation:
one Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.
Now as always presenting the good news of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of our sins and the purchase of our souls for eternity against the daily drumbeat of despair and trepidation is precisely where the “charter of salvation” for evangelism, encouragement and edification is directed.
It’s been posited that every generation faces a crisis unique to its own age. For the largest single demographic segment of society living today, there have been plenty of crises. We have faced things from global warming to nuclear winter, over-population to illegal immigration, the war in Viet Nam to the 911 assault and so much more besides.
Arguably our lives have been shaped by cultural and social upheavals that sometimes pale in comparison to our parent’s generation that lived through both the Great Depression and World War II. Yet oddly, it seems we are essentially ill-prepared to contend with these issues without serious division, rancor, and ultimately resignation as our world-view is overcome by the desire to doggedly maintain our lifestyles – happy or not. Imagine then how our children and their children are seeing the world today. Imagine how little preparation they have received at the hands of secular humanists who have fed them the lies and deceit of dead philosophers who never knew God but were determined He either did not exist or if He did was completely irrelevant.
And doesn’t it seem supremely ironic that it is the very prizes of our pursuit of material happiness – our flat screen’s, our smart phones and tablets, media news and entertainment and tabloid sensationalism – that relentlessly remind us how very little reason we have for real peace and happiness? We are constantly confronted with the stories of evil and social breakdown, also ironically usually for commercial gain. It’s typically a ratings game after all.
But here is where it gets interesting: The church, which is you and me, who have the Good News safely deposited in our hearts have more than anyone else on the earth, the blessed hope of an eternal future in the presence of a loving God. For us this is the essence of The Gospel. Having died to Christ is our gain, all else is loss and therefore of no value. Shouldn’t we be the ones who are shouting above the din about how it ends? That the Good Guy wins? (Matthew 19:17)
Though with a scornful wonder
this world sees her oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping;
their cry goes up: “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.
Thankfully we don’t have the exact date, but we know in ways all others who lack belief in a sovereign Lord and cannot know that wars, rumors of wars, violent earthquakes and more are supposed to happen before He returns for His bride. Our responsibility as assigned to us by our Savior and Lord is to present the Good News as an antidote for the bad news, and bring in the harvest of new believers who receive it to become new creations – like us. It should all seem so simple and yet…
Why is it we seem to lack the conviction, the zeal, the equipping and the dedication to Christian principles and values that rise far above all others; those who labor in vain for the lie that they are even willing to die for.
This author has heard this question posed to me any number of times by fellow believers who wonder, “What should we do?” What is our response to be to the lies, the deceit, the corruption that presents itself on parade now day in and day out? How do we train up our children to the ways they should go, especially now that we realize the public schools and the entire world outside our homes and worship houses that have held our children captive the bulk of their waking hours have so utterly failed in their mandate to safeguard them?
The Mission of the SCA is to present the resources and the strategies to both the called as well as the flock to become bold in our witness, educated to His message, and valiant in our steadfast faithfulness to our Bridegroom to whom we say: “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
Jesus tells Peter who has just confessed that He, Jesus, is The Christ, and it is upon this rock, this confession, this statement of fact, that He will build His church. (Matthew 16:18) Then He makes this beloved declaration, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” But we must be careful. Rather than think we are to rush to every hell on earth bringing the Gospel and crushing the enemy at his gates, the faithful translation makes it clear that the gates of hell Jesus is talking about is death. Death has been defeated and we are now more than conquerors. So… stand fast, hold firm and take all the prisoners you can.
Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore:
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.
In the near future, csa4christ.org will post and publish notable names and resources, with the links to as much useful, essential and beneficial information as is possible to equip you for the spiritual battle now waging for the edification of the saints in affirmation of life, marriage, family, faith and our great nation.
Blessings to you, your family, and your community.