Archive: Stand Tall!

“The world pays no attention to the Church.”

Today we hear this criticism like a litany of despair. And we panic. For to be ignored is to fail, humanely speaking. And failure is disgrace in America’s success- slanted culture.

“The world pays no attention to the Church.”

And so we reach for the panic button. Frantically, we try to change the Church and the Gospel so that more people will like us.

“The world pays no attention to the Church.”

Increasingly, our official response is, “OK, then let the world set the agenda for the Church.” Let the world be the dog and let the Church of Jesus Christ be the tail, so to speak.

“Let the world set the agenda” is a slick slogan. But it is also a very sick slogan. It is a siren song of seduction, luring the Church to conform to the world. Actually, the opposite is true: God intends the unbelieving world to conform to the timeless Gospel of which the Church should be the primary custodian.

But the Church seems to forget that it represents a sovereign, all-powerful God. We represent Him who made all things in the beginning … Him who will remake the universe to His liking in the end. This all-wise God will have His way whether or not 99 per cent of humanity chooses to ignore Him, laugh at His Son, poke fun at His Gospel. The only ultimate question is whether humanity will bring itself into conformity with the will of God-or choose, instead, to perish in defiance.

The Church must always remember that God rules, not man. “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”

The Church dares not lose Christ’s compassion for bringing a lost world back to God. But neither should the Church of Jesus Christ cower in shame when the unbelieving world mocks us or ignores us because of our faith in the living God.

Let us remember that in eternity, it will be unredeemed “sinners in the hands of an angry God” … not God in the hands of angry sinners. An all-powerful and holy God offers wholeness to sinners. They, not God, are on the spot. And if unbelievers choose to ignore the kindness of God, they multiply their sorrows.

Stand tall, O men of God! You stand on the side of the Eternal. And because you stand with Him, the unbelieving world is sure to reject you. “Unfaithful people! Don’t you know that to be the world’s friend means to be God’s enemy? Whoever wants to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy.” (James 4:4) So stand tall, O men of God. He is with us, Emmanuel.


A good steward gives gladly and sacrificially of his or her money to support the Cause of Jesus Christ. But a good steward’s responsibility does not end when a sacrificial gift has been put into the offering plate. A good steward must also use discretion in giving. He or she must be very careful that do11ars given to Jesus Christ are not diverted into questionable causes that may weaken Christ’s Church, or sabotage the Kingdom of God.

We are often lax in this matter of watchful stewardship. For it seems that we have gotten to thinking it is the laymen’s job to write big checks, and then it is the job of church leaders to spend those checks … without question from the givers. Sometimes it has even been suggested that we are not “good Methodists” if we dare to ask questions about where our dollars go.

History teaches that church leaders have not always used church dollars in a way that jibes with the New Testament. A realistic understanding of fallen human nature ought to make us question the habit of blind giving – without knowing where our dollars go.

What might happen if God prodded each Methodist church into making a careful examination of how Christ’s dollars are being spent?

Suppose each official board made its own investigation, and then told each congregation the facts.

And suppose each church adopted a simple standard of stewardship evaluation: “Is the money from our collection plates being used to further the Cause of Jesus Christ as this is made clear in holy Scripture?”

Suppose, as the result of a new spirit of watchful and Christ-exalting stewardship, that each Methodist church began channeling its dollars to those individuals and/or institutions which passed the test.

For example, suppose Methodist churches began supporting those colleges and universities which are unashamedly Christian, by the historic Methodist standard: Scripture. (Suppose Methodist people decided that secular colleges ought to be supported by non-church dollars.)

Suppose Methodist giving power was focused on helping those missionaries at home and overseas who consider personal salvation as the necessary prerequisite to social salvation. (Suppose Methodist people felt that lack of salvation-centeredness meant that missions were no longer Christian and should, therefore, come under jurisdiction of Uncle Sam’s Office of Economic Opportunity or the United Nations?)

Suppose Methodist churches concentrated their seminary support on those seminaries which proudly and prominently teach that Jesus Christ is indispensable to the world, to the Church, and to every individual . . . and that “all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the man who serves God may be fully qualified and e quipped to do every kind of good work” (II Timothy 3:16).

Suppose Methodist churches issued paychecks to all church leaders who enthusiastically teach, write, preach and promulgate the official Methodist doctrines as contained in our Articles of Religion … and our vows of ordination. (Suppose Methodist people decided that those who do not like Methodist doctrine should get their paychecks somewhere else.)

Suppose official boards began directing their “green power” to those social and evangelistic concerns which are not ashamed of the Christian Gospel … which operate on the New Testament principle “Jesus is Lord.”

Suppose every Methodist church woke up to its responsibility for the stewardship of stewardship.

And suppose each official board gave itself over to the direction of the Holy Spirit when it came time to decide which dollars go where.


Among the scores of letters in response to the July issue came an epistle from the West. Speaking of his new appointment, a jubilant young pastor wrote:

“After my fourth weekend in … it is quite clear that the people here are drooling over the Gospel they’ve not heard for a decade. The church has been steadily and surely dying, losing members right and left to independent Churches of Christ and Baptists. …But the last two Sundays, attendance has shot up – to the amazement of long-time members. As my lay leader said, it’s the preaching and the Spirit with it. …”

This is no freak experience. We are hearing from all over America that Methodists are hungry for the Gospel. The leader of a worldwide Christian organization recently told us that everywhere he meets spiritually-starving Methodists. He thinks that the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church are the two places where a great revival is most likely in our time.

Which means that those who hold a firm belief in the New Testament Gospel have, by faith, the key to victory in the present chaos. God makes this Gospel freely available to all. Those who choose to believe it, preach it, and live by its marvelous truth – these have a secret weapon that is invincible.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

“Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (I Corinthians 15:57).


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