The Church in America is about to be tested and purified as never before. To be ready for what she may face, its members must have a realistic perspective of its present status. A brief look into the Old Testament sheds some light. Most of us are familiar with Israel’s exodus from Egypt, but there was a second exodus roughly a thousand years later. This one was from Babylon, but it was much less impressive than the first because only a remnant chose to leave the place of their captivity and return home.
They Settled for Less
God had previously delivered His people through the death of their Passover lamb and had miraculously brought them through the wilderness to bring them to the Promised Land. Yet, when the twelve spies returned with the news that giants were living there, the people chose fear over God’s promises. Despite the positive reports from Caleb and Joshua, the people were ready to return to Egypt. At the time of the second exodus, most of the people chose the “comforts” of Babylon over the difficulties that awaited them should they return home. Giving no thought to God’s promises, they settled for something far less than what ultimately awaited them if they would be willing to pay the price.
Sadly, it looks like the Church in America is following in Israel’s footsteps. We are about to feel like we are captives in our own version of Babylon. Since our calling is a heavenly one, we are citizens of heaven. Earth is not our home, and neither is America. We are just passing through and have been told to “occupy” until we have been called home. Our success as God’s occupiers will depend on how attached we have become to the comforts of our Babylon. Given the anemic state of the American Church, it appears that comfortable Christianity has become the official state religion. Its followers are devoted to defending their primary doctrine—comfort, which requires avoiding all forms of pain including those awkward encounters of trying to evangelize and disciple the lost. They have convinced themselves that going to church, reading their Bible occasionally, and praying when they have run out of options will keep them in God’s good graces.
Go Along to Get Along
With this mindset, the most committed members will find themselves just like the Jews who chose to stay in Babylon. These members will have received an offer to return to their real home in heaven, but if they must go through their own wilderness to get there, they will prefer to stay right where they are. The uncertainties and challenges of the wilderness will be viewed as threats to their survival, just like the giants in Israel’s Promised Land. Fear will rule the day. Identifying as citizens of their American “Babylon,” these religious zealots will choose to go along to get along.
As Good as it Gets
Strangely, no one will publicly (or privately) identify as a member of this church. Everyone thinks these slackers are other people in some other church, never theirs. Even when some have realized the need for national repentance, most, in my opinion, have failed to grasp the magnitude of their own sins, including their own dedication to comfortable Christianity. We have been spared persecution for so long that we have become accustomed to our mediocre fruit bearing and have concluded that this must be as good as it gets.
Within the Church
With this as our standard, we figure we may as well make ourselves comfortable so we can find some pleasure in our Christian endeavors, even if they are bearing little fruit for the kingdom. We will take pleasure in praying for God to move while He continues to wait for us to obey. How can we ask God for a revival and a fresh falling of the Spirit when we have refused to obey Christ’s commands ourselves? Such is the state of the Church in America. The giants in our land are of our own making and the Church today has chosen to worship them instead of destroying them. The lost people the Church loves to vilify are simply doing what lost people do. If God brings a revival, it will be within the Church.