Proclaiming the word of God is a difficult task. It carries with it a big responsibility as an error may cause a scandal to the listener and push them away from the Lord. Added to this are the more 'liberal' thinking of intellectuals who come up with ideas that neither propagate the gospel and in fact dilute the power of the gospel.
What I am referring to is the move in some churches towards changing some of the teachings and doctrines to make them palatable to the so called special interest groups. This move towards political correctness (ie. from referring to God in the neutral gender to outright calling him in the feminine gender) or quoting scripture or explaining passages in scripture to justify specific lifestyles and actions (ie. Homosexual life style, same sex marriages, adultery, fornication, abortion and euthanasia) is an outright insult to the Lord.
Aside from these changes in the churches, Christianity is being hit hard on the streets. In Seattle, Washington, USA a few weeks ago, a bus driver forced a woman out of a bus because she was talking to a fellow passenger about Jesus. In the US and Canada, the government hands out condoms to students but it is illegal to hand out bibles. In British Columbia, Canada, a public school teacher was teaching his kindergarten class that two fathers or two mothers living in sexual union as a family is normal. The school board consisting of parents tried to stop this and was brought to court. The school board was ordered to allow this to be taught. On television shows, people who have extra- or pre-marital affairs are cool and the bad guys are the preachers and Christians.
Indeed, the church is being attacked both from within and from the outside. And the forces that do this seems to be winning. But we take comfort that God is in control and that all these have been foretold in scripture. “For although they knew God, they never glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” (Romans 1:21-27)
We know that God is still in control and he allows these to happen and eventually his Holy Name will be glorified. And the only way that the Church can win is to remember who can save her.
When we look at scripture, we see that Jesus made a promise to Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). In the Acts of the Apostles, we see how the Spirit of God worked in the growth of the early church. The persecution of the Christians after the death of Stephen dispersed the Christians in Jerusalem. But this was also an opportunity for Christians to spread the gospel to the neighboring countries.
As the Church celebrates the last year before the Jubilee year, and as we celebrate Pentecost this May, let us pray that the Father may send his Spirit so that his gospel may be preached with power and that people may turn their hearts back to God.
Lord, send forth your Spirit - and you shall renew the face of the earth (Psalm 104-30)