It seems to me that 21st century Western culture says that the church may be fine, but should stay in its own sphere and not really effect public life. By contrast, God says that the church is His instrument of salvation and reconciliation in the world, and that, however much Hell would like to triumph over her, she will stand forever.
Two very different views.
Our day and place seem to view the Christian church with ambivalence mixed with a smidgen of scorn. I argue that the Bible paints her as a blemished but divine sword, being forged (and slowly refined) in a fire to cut through Hell and sin and death and damnation. She is an imperfect instrument being used perfectly. She is a flawed body whose Head (Jesus Christ) knows exactly what He is doing. The church is not a joke. She is not irrelevant. She should not stay in her Sunday school room and leave the world to do what it thinks best.
She has the only message of freedom to an enslaved world, and she should not stay silent, no matter what the world says.
“But we don’t want you speaking about that sin.”
You mean that thing over there, the one that will kill you and those around you? That evil that promises God’s wrath on you and will afflict our fellow human beings and will bring judgment on our nation? That’s the one you want us to pipe down about? Well then I dare say our finger is actually on a very important nerve there, I’m afraid. For I venture to say there is a reason you want us to stay quiet about that sin, as opposed to others.
“But you must not carry that into work or public life.”
You mean I should check my Savior at the door, then? I’m sorry, but that’s the very thing I must not do. Both for your good and for mine.
“But you churches don’t even agree amongst yourselves.”
In some ways and in some things we don’t, it’s true. But if we believe and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are a part of His massive body, His Church. And He is faithful to help us speak His Word, albeit imperfectly, for the salvation of souls and the blessing of the world, even though each of our individual churches or denominations is almost certainly honestly wrong about some things. The beautiful thing is that His Word is clearest where it is most crucial, and so Gospel-preaching churches will always be able to agree where it matters most: The sinfulness of man, the perfectness of Christ, His death and resurrection as God and God’s Son to save those who will believe in Him, and His future return to make all things right.
The church of Jesus Christ should not seek to be as harmless and quiet as our present culture would like her to be. True, she is not a belligerent Bride, but she absolutely shares the convictions and the mission of her Husband: The rescue and repentance of sinners to the glory of God.
Christian churches, we are not to stay in a corner and do our best to not to bother anybody. Read the book of Acts. We have a grand mission. And though it will frustrate many who are hardhearted (like our Savior frustrated many who were hardhearted), it will transform the lives of many others forever.
We have a calling that only we can perform.
And we cannot perform it by being silent.