An Editorial by Eric Smith

Installment #2 (November 10, 2006)

 

What Now?

 

INTRODUCTION

    My plan is that this be the first of a weekly blog.  It is possible that I will miss a week here and there, but I will do my best not to. If you, the reader want to respond, please do. Feel free to email me here...  rohas1#11th-hour.info   replace the # with a @.  (we have to do that due to so many spam programs scanning websites for email addresses).

    I would like to first to apologize. I have been lax in my responsibility to this website, to all those who faithfully labor in this work and above all to Jesus Christ. I have not contributed as much as I should. Telling myself that I am too busy, at the same time my work load is half what it used to be. I have let financial and family pressure distract me from what I believe to be a very important task.

    I have failed to notice that having less work equals more time that should be split between writing and my family. As for the financial problems…the bills are paid and no one is going hungry. God provides, not always in a way that we want or even understand, but he does provide.

    The question is, am I willing to conform to his will? He has given me the time, the desire and he has promised to provide for my needs. The Holy Spirit certainly has not stopped bugging me with the need to do more.



WHAT NOW?

    One of our number recently received a email thanking him for an article that connected the dots for the author of the email. He said that he had been wondering about problems he saw in the Church and now he understood what was bothering him. His new concern was, “what do I do now?”

    That is a very good question, what are we supposed to do now. For several years we have been warning people that the apostasy Paul warns us of in 2 Thes 2:3 is here now! Many think we are crazy. They look around; they see church attendance up since 9-11 and ask, with so many people turning to Christ how can we see that as a falling away.

    I will grant them some ground, church attendance is up. What did all these new Christians go looking for and what did they find?

    In the wake of 9-11 most went looking for comfort. From those who had never stepped a foot inside a church, to those who felt it might be a good idea to renew their faith. Comfort is not a bad reason to go to church. Comfort is something you will find in Christ. Is there anything more comforting than the fact that God gave of himself so that sinners like us might be forgiven and have a place in Christ’s Kingdom? I can’t think of anything.

    They went looking for comfort and unfortunately they found it. They found it in “Prosperity” Churches, in “Purpose Driven” Churches, “Welcoming and Affirming” Churches and churches that don’t utter a word about sin or repentance lest they should offend someone or scare them off. They found comfort in churches that soothed their itchy ears with talk of Just War Doctrine and Americas Christian foundations. They found Pastors that filled their heads with the idea that electing the right people and passing the right laws would make Gods face shine upon us as a nation once again.

    Very few of them found comfort in Christ because; quite simply they were never shown him. This is the apostasy Paul warned us of. It’s not people leaving the Church. It is the Church leaving Christ. I can’t stress that enough.

    Of course there are some Bible believing, Christ centered churches out there. They tend to be small, unassuming and do not offer the technology or social status of the larger warm and fuzzy churches. It is hard for them to hold on to new members if they are unwilling to bend to the ways of the world. This is not a complaint, just an observation.

    So what do you do if you wake up one day and discover you are in one of these apostate churches? Do you run for the hills, go looking for a Christ centered church where you can fellowship with other like minded Christians? This is an option and it is a good one for many people. I would never question someone’s decision to do that, fellowship is important. Almost twenty years ago I walked away from the church I grew up in because I thought I could maintain my relationship with Christ all by my onesies. (And because some people in the church did not like my Harley, might have been some pride involved there.) I was wrong. It has been a long hard road, but I have learned that fellowship with like minded Christians who seek to do Gods will is very important.


Esther 4:13
Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether hold thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”


    I am asking you to consider another option… Stand and fight. This network we have here can’t reach everyone. You the reader, if you agree with what we have been saying, know better how to apply it to the people you share a pew with. I am not suggesting that you go to church next Sunday, boot your pastor off the pulpit and take over. That won’t work. I would also caution against trying to do anything from a position of leadership within your church. I tried that, it doesn’t work. You can not involve yourself with the day to day business of your church, which I guarantee you is not being done in anyway that the Apostles would recognize, while trying to show them that changes must be made.

    You find yourself conflicted, contradicting yourself, talking to yourself and looking for excuses not to go to church at all. This is where I found myself when we received the email I mentioned earlier. I had quit my position telling them I was quite finished banging my head against the wall. Before I knew it I hadn’t been to church all summer and realized that I had been ducking my pastor’s attempts to meet with me.

    My suggestion, if you choose the stand and fight option, is to do so quietly but firmly. Attend the adult Sunday School class or the Wednesday night Bible study. Be willing to challenge the teacher or pastor if you hear something that does not agree with scripture. Try to always speak from a position of humility and try not to let it become an argument. That takes the attention off of Christ and the Bible and shines it on you. It isn’t about you, it isn’t about me. It’s about Christ. My wife described something I said in church a couple of weeks ago as putting someone in their place. I am sure that is exactly how it came across to everyone else listening as well. This isn’t how I intended it to sound, just a small example of what can happen when you forget to put Christ first.

    Don’t expect people to fall at your feet and thank you for showing them the light. Instead expect exactly the opposite. As time goes by they will begin to understand that you are challenging their beliefs. They will not like that. You will be accused of all kinds of things. You will be called judgmental, unloving even unchristian. You may never see any results or a change in people, changing people is the job of the Holy Spirit.

    Most importantly, and should have been stated first. Don’t go it alone. Christ is your strength and your wisdom; let your words be his words. Your most important weapon is prayer, never forget that.


Mark 13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
 

    What a promise. No matter how bad it gets, Jesus will provide the words through the Holy Spirit. You may never get hauled in front of a judge or government official, but I believe this promise stands whenever, wherever we speak Gods truth.

 

In Christ, E. D. Smith 

 

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