I was talking with a group of men, and the subject of the persecuted Church in other countries and the growth of such churches came up. You know the saying that the church had the most growth during extreme pressure. Basically the Chinese Church would benefit from going back underground because they will grow spiritually. Not because of the persecution but because of what the persecution produces: community, a common cause, an overall dependence on Christ. There was a longing for that type of persecution to happen in the western church not for the persecution but for what the persecution produces. We realize that what the western church is lacking is community, and a common cause and dependence on Christ.
So the question is why.
Why does it seem that the church in America is unaware of the persecution they are under? Why does it seem that the American Church is powerless? And what can we do?
Let me tackle the first question. Why does it seem like the church in America is unaware of the persecution they are under? The answer is simple. The seducing power of comfort and circus.
Comfort: a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
Because society’s obsession with comfort has bled into the church. We avoid anything that gets us out of the state of ease. We avoid real life communities for Social media, podcasts, YouTube, and blogs. Because it’s easier to act like you know what you’re talking about virtually. Instead of going through the awkward and uncomfortable times of getting to know someone in person flaws and all. Men avoid Brotherhood and women avoid Sisterhood for the same reasons. We choose to be miserable and lonely because it’s uncomfortable to do otherwise. We choose to leave the raising of our children solely to the youth pastors and government schools because obeying God when he says
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 ESV
is just too uncomfortable.
We refuse to eat meat so we can shove a heaping spoonfuls of lukewarm mush down our gullets. Because chewing is just too…you know… uncomfortable. So we sit comfortably ignoring the signs of War. We ignore the millions of babies being murdered every year by Planned Parenthood. We ignore the thousands of men committing suicide every year because of lack of Brotherhood and the lack of strong community. We ignore the millions of families impacted my divorce, absentee fathers, Jezebel mother’s and dysfunctional households. Instead of quenching the fiery darts of the wicked one with our faith. We sit idly by watching the darts hit everything around us. We sit because it’s comfortable and getting up takes too much effort. In this war in the Foxhole we plug our ears and cover our heads with our blankets because it’s too uncomfortable to fight.
Circus is just another way of saying entertainment. The glittery, clown filled tightrope-walking, trapeze flying, dopamine drip that keeps you distracted from what’s going on. So intoxicating that you won’t dare look away for fear of missing out.
In the circus sermons turn into motivational speeches about how you can “get yours “and be “a better person”. In the circus worship music is turned from worshipping God to self worship with Christian glaze so it goes down easy. In the circus the Thrills are not too thrilling.The risks are not too risky. There is just the right amount of excitement to keep the audience on edge of their seats. There is just enough to keep them engaged, entertained and wanting more. So like the churches during the Holocaust while the Jews were getting sent to concentration camps. We turn up the circus to keep us distracted from the horror that is right outside the door. We are detained by entertainment.
Why does the Church in America seems so powerless?
We are being choked slowly by the serpent. The serpent cannot defeat the Church but he can suffocate different bodies of churches. By subtly squeezing the life out of the people. That is how snakes constrict. They apply pressure until the prey exhales Then It squeezes until the prey is unable to breathe. Now it can devour its prey whole.
So every time a man avoids responsibility and Brotherhood. Every time a pastor changes a sermon because the women might throw conniption fit. Every family that is lonely because the same people talk to the same people every Sunday. Every loud , immodest dressing girl and effeminate boy in the youth group. Every woman “pastor” allowed in the pulpit. Every “Jesus is my boyfriend” song and Joel Osteenish “Christian” book. The serpent squeezes a little tighter.
What can we do?
Rely on what Christ has done.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
Because Christ has overcome the world.( John 16:33) We can overcome through Him.( 1 John 5:4-5) We must fight for the faith. We must fight the good fight. We must unsheathe the word of God and attack the dragon. We must storm the gates of Hell. We will not fail because God is with us. (Joshua 1). We fight for the King.
The Wrap up.
We are under intense persecution. However it is subtle and under the camouflage of comfort and circus. Satan is trying to constrict the church bit by bit. The serpent wants us distracted from the battle. However we must fight the good fight of Faith. Through the power of Jesus Christ we will overcome the world.