Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. (Jude 3, NASB)Though Jesus’ half-brother Jude wrote those lines close to two thousand years ago, they’re as applicable now as they were then – perhaps even more so. We face the same problems Jude speaks of – severe governmental threats to our churches and insidious infiltration by apostates who corrupt the teachings of Scripture.
What’s worst of all, liberal denominations are wholeheartedly accepting these apostate teachings, thereby rolling over and showing a soft underbelly to the teeth of the enemy.
At the recent Resolved Conference in Palm Beach, CA, Pastor John MacArthur spoke of his belief (shared by others, including myself) that America is suffering under divine judgment due to the church’s drift from scriptural truth, a drift caused and exacerbated by lack of Bible literacy and the infiltration of the tenets of Liberal Christianity, which has opened the door to a more secular view of Christianity, which in turn has caused such a problem that:
Slightly over 70 percent of global evangelical leaders at the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization – which convened over 4,000 evangelical leaders from over 190 nations last fall in South Africa – named secularism as a major threat, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey.This combination of Liberal Christianity – which in the main views the Bible as an ‘anthology that documents the human authors' beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing—within a historical or cultural context’, rather than as a ‘collection of factual statements’ – and the secular dogmas of inclusivism, political correctness and diversity have even led to certain Liberal Protestant churches to open their doors to and embrace – and even promote – the teachings of Islam, even as more and more reports reveal the destruction of Christian (and other non-Muslim) houses of worship, the abduction and forced conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, and the outright murder of those who refuse to renounce their original faith within Muslim-majority nations.
This embrace of heresy has resulted in a flabby kind of Christianity, and if we don’t do something about it our flabbiness is going to kill us.
What Christians – those in the West in particular – need to do is get themselves faithfully-fit. As the body needs good nourishment and exercise, as the brain needs to be fed knowledge and exercised through testing, so the spirit within us needs to be fed a diet of solid food (rather than milk) and needs to be exercised through living a godly life and passing on spiritual truths to others.
And that’s not going to be a bed of roses, folks – more like a bed of their thorns. History is replete with stories of the persecution and martyrdom of those early Christians who earnestly contended for the faith and refused to renounce it. Here in America (and largely in the West) we’ve been fortunate (so far) that physical martyrdom hasn’t been asked of us. Our ‘martyrdom’ comes in the form of suffering accusations of bigotry, racism, exclusiveness, mental insufficiency and the like from those who claim to be tolerant and are anything but; in some cases, this even passes on to loss of employment.
When these minor ‘martyrdoms’ happen (and happen they will – Christ warned us repeatedly we’d suffer for our faith), let us count these ‘stripes’ as the marks of Christ and wear them with honor – they are the symbols of our earnest contention for the faith.