Editor’s Note: This article by Dr. Michael Brown also appears in The Christian Post.
America’s greatest crisis today is not economic, nor is it political, social, or military. To be sure, we are teetering on the edge of a massive financial collapse, while at the same time we are politically and socially divided, not to mention mired in two or three costly wars.
But our greatest crisis goes deeper. It is a spiritual crisis, and because it is a spiritual crisis, it is a moral crisis. The light within us has become dark (see Matt 6:23) and the salt has lost its saltiness (see Matt 5:13). The Church of Jesus, which is called to be the spiritual lamp and the moral preservative of society, has fallen asleep. The awakening must begin with us.
This is not to minimize the many acute problems we face in our country today. Abortion on demand still takes more than a million lives a year. The family unit continues to erode. Gay activism continues to challenge our biblical values and freedoms. Human trafficking, gang violence, teen drug use, and a host of other social ills stare us in the face. But our problem is not so much the presence of darkness as it is the absence of light. The finger must first be pointed at us.
You see, it is to be expected that sinful people do sinful things and that worldly people do worldly things. But it is unexpected when those called to be righteous live just like the world, when the sins of the society become the sins of the Church, when it is the world that changes the Church rather than the Church that changes the world. Can anyone really dispute that for the last generation this is exactly what has happened?
It was Dr. Martin Luther King who noted that,
The Church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.
This certainly cuts to the core of the never-ending debate about the meaning of the separation of Church and state. But King also issued this warning:
If the Church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
What an indictment of the American Church today. Having lost our prophetic zeal – our consciousness of God, our conviction of sin, our brokenness for the lost, our courage to go against the grain and challenge the status quo, our moral imperative – we have become, in all too many cases, an irrelevant social club. In fact, it would not be that far out of line for many of our religious assemblies to change their marquees to read, “Irrelevant Social Club: Meets Sunday Mornings and Wednesday Nights.”
Without a doubt, there is a godly remnant that is seeking God, reaching out, touching the world, making a difference, but we deceive ourselves if we imagine it is anything more than a remnant. George Barna discovered that the most accurate articulation of the moral standard of today’s Christian teens was “whatever,” while Prof. Kenda Creasy Dean in her book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, argued persuasively that the toothless and tepid Christianity found among young people in many of our churches has been inherited directly from their parents.
We have gotten to the point where we hope (rather than take for granted) that the famous pastor or evangelist or teacher whose ministry has so blessed us will not be caught in some kind of moral scandal, while on the local level, millions of people are dropping out of church participation because of boredom and disillusionment. This is not the “glorious Church” for which Jesus died and rose and sent His Spirit. Something is terribly wrong and something is clearly missing.
But it is not time for us to point accusing fingers at this denomination or that leader, at this local congregation or at that TV preacher. Rather, as Ambrose said, “Before God can deliver us, we must undeceive ourselves,” and the awakening that we so desperately need, yes, the awakening that America must have, begins with each of us individually. Each of us must search our own hearts and lives and ask, “Have I left my first love? Have I become cold or compromised? Have the values of the world corrupted me? Have I become polluted by sin?”
As an old evangelist once counseled, the best way to pray for revival is to draw a circle on the ground, then step inside that circle, and then pray, “Lord, revive everything inside this circle.” Let the awakening begin with us.
Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: abortion, Almost Christian, awakening, christian post, conviction, Dr. Michael Brown, Kenda Creasy Dean, Martin Luther King, Revival, seeking God
“Planned Parenthood’s response to the Tebow family’s Super Bowl ad continues that organization’s history of deception. It features two African Americans, Planned Parenthood’s preferred target for abortion, talking about ‘respecting’ women’s choices without ever mentioning the ‘A’ word. Spare me. If abortion is supposed to be a choice that everyone respects, why can’t Planned Parenthood even allow the word to be spoken?”
— Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., commenting on Planned Parenthood’s response to the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad.
Posted in Life & Family, News Tagged with: abortion, Martin Luther King, planned parenthood, pro-life, super bowl, Tim Tebow
Nathan Harden had this to say on the oftentimes anti-Christian Huffington Post:
In today’s political landscape, we normally think of the mixing of religion and politics as the doing of white conservatives.
But if you know your history, of course, you know that The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded by a group of black religious leaders, the most important of which was the group’s first president, Martin Luther King.
The real work of the Civil Rights movement — everything from rallies to bus boycotts — was carried out through the organizational infrastructure of the black church. And the words that inspired the movement were mostly the words of preachers. Without religion, and Christianity in particular, it is not certain that the Civil Rights movement would have taken place at all.
Harden later points out that “King’s commitment to non-violent resistance was motivated by his faith,” quoting Dr. King as saying:
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.
Dr. Brown adds more to the picture with his account of a pivotal moment in Dr. King’s life:
By January 1956, with the Montgomery bus boycott in full swing, threatening phone calls, up to 40 a day, began pouring into King’s home. Though he put up a strong front, the threats unsettled him. One midnight as he sat over a cup of coffee worrying, the phone rang again, and the caller said, “Nigger, we are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.” King later described what happened in the next few minutes.
“I sat there and thought about a beautiful little daughter who had just been born. . . . She was the darling of my life. I’d come in night after night and see that little gentle smile. And I sat at that table thinking about that little girl and thinking about the fact that she could be taken away from me any minute.
“And I started thinking about a dedicated, devoted, and loyal wife, who was over there asleep. And she could be taken from me, or I could be taken from her. And I got to the point that I couldn’t take it any longer. I was weak. . . .
“And I discovered then that religion had become real to me, and I had to know God for myself. And I bowed down over that cup of coffee. I never will forget it. . . . I prayed a prayer, and I prayed out loud that night. I said, ‘Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think I’m right. I think the cause we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak, they will begin to get weak. . . .’
“And it seemed at that moment I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo I will be with you, even until the end of the world. . . .’ Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared.” Christian History 65 (Vol. XIX, No. 1), 40.
Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: Dr. Michael Brown, jeremiah, Martin Luther King, the huffington post
MESSIANIC JEWISH LEADER OF CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN ACTIVIST GROUP UNEQUIVOCALLY DENOUNCES SHOOTINGS AT GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER IN TEL AVIV
Contact: Eric McCoy, firstname.lastname@example.org. 704-701-2886
CHARLOTTE, August 2, 2009: Dr. Michael Brown, leader of the Charlotte-based Coalition of Conscience, which is known for its strong differences with many of the goals of gay activism, has “categorically and unequivocally denounced” the murderous shootings that took place last night at a gay community center in Tel Aviv.
Brown, himself a Jewish follower of Jesus, says he was “shocked and saddened” to hear the news of the killings, especially in Israel. “We don’t have the details yet, but this has all the markings of an act of raw hatred, and as such it must be utterly renounced. Whatever differences any of us may have with any sector of society, be those religious differences or ideological differences, we must maintain those differences with civility and respect. The moment we resort to violence, especially in God’s name, we become agents of destruction and bring reproach to the God we claim to serve.”
Brown points to the non-violent example of Jesus who instructed his followers to put down their swords and to take up their crosses – meaning, to renounce violence and to practice self-denial – noting that it was this example that inspired the non-violent social movements of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
“True moral and cultural revolution,” Brown notes, “does not come about through hatred or intimidation or violence. It comes about through prayer and service, through influencing people’s hearts and minds, overcoming wrong ideologies with right ideologies. But violence only begets violence.”
This past Friday, Brown sat down with a lesbian leader in Charlotte to discuss their differences and to gain better appreciation for each other’s perspectives. He believes that such mutually respectful interaction can help deter the misunderstandings that all too often lead to violence.
“I have friends who received death threats simply because they worked for Proposition 8 in California, and I have received ugly threats as well. Then today, tragically, we hear of a deranged man who killed and wounded gay and lesbian young people in cold blood. This tells me that there are fanatics on all sides and in all religions, and it behooves us as leaders to set an example of civility and respect in the midst of our differences and to say, ‘The violence stops here.’”
Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: charlotte, Coalition of Conscience, Dr. Michael Brown, Gandhi, homosexuality, israel, Martin Luther King, tel aviv, violence