By Pastor Timothy Johnson
In the days before the “No weapons on school property” policy, you could travel to any high school in the county where I live and see quite a few gun racks in the rear windows of pick-up trucks. A high percentage of those gun racks held either a shotgun or rifle.
In many areas of the nation, guns are a part of everyday life as households have a handgun or shotgun in the home for protection. Depending on the season, hunting is a regular activity.
In other areas of the nation, guns are also a part of everyday life. However, it is people, not deer, and squirrels being shot.
Location is not the only thing indicating a difference. Time also shows a vast difference in the usage of guns. Before the 1980s, mass shootings were extremely rare and school shootings were nonexistent.
Mass shootings are not the only things that have increased over the decades. The divorce rate in 1958 was 2.1 per 1,000 people. The sexual revolution began in the 1960s, and by the end of that decade, the divorce rate quadrupled. The divorce rate more than doubled again between the 1960s and the end of the 1980s. Since then, the divorce rate has slowly dropped, but the divorce rate does not tell the whole story.
According to a January 2021 article from Psychology Today, the number of couples living together without marriage in the 1970s was one-fifth of one percent. Today, the number is 15 percent. The report also states that cohabitating couples have a greater chance of divorce if they do get married. Couples living together also break up without getting married. Therefore, when you add the number of divorces with the number of cohabitation break ups, the splitting up number is still climbing.
The divorce rate has been rising for over a century. For example, the divorce rate was one in every 1,000 at the start of World War I. In 1867, the rate was only .3 per 1,000.
I am not trying to compare mass shootings or murder with divorce. Murder is never acceptable, and sometimes divorce is necessary. I am only attempting to point out that the rise of unbiblical behavior has been rising over the decades. Many other examples could be used instead or in addition, but we will stop here.
What is the difference? What is the answer?
I believe the difference and the solution are the same — Jesus Christ, or at a minimum, Christian influence.
Jesus describes the condition of the church before the rapture when He sends His message to the church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). Not every Christian or every church will hold these characteristics. Still, the spiritual condition of the Laodiceans is the predominant spiritual condition of churches and Christians today.
Jesus told the Laodiceans they were not hot or cold; they were lukewarm. He would rather have them hot or cold. Why would God want a Christian cold? Read the argument between God and Moses in Exodus chapters 3-4. The last thing Moses wants to do is go back to Egypt, confront Pharaoh, and lead over a million people across the wilderness. Moses is totally against the idea. However, God was able to work with Moses’ cold heart and mold him into a passionate, on-fire (hot) leader.
When a person is apathetic (being lukewarm), it is difficult for even God to deal with them.
In decades past, Christians’ Bibles looked worn from use. Now many of God’s people have to search the house to find their Bible because they cannot remember where they put it or when was the last time they used it. The reason for the change? Years ago, Christians had a love for the Word and a constant desire to study the Scripture. Now Christians are not hot or cold to the Bible; lukewarmness reigns because we might read the Bible if we have the time, but if not, it is perfectly fine. The change came because Christians’ hearts toward the Scripture went from hot to lukewarm.
Over the same period, church attendance went from Christians being there regardless of the sacrifice needed to attend to getting there when the schedule permits. Today, regular church attendance no longer means every service; regular church attendance means every Easter. The church is lukewarm in its devotion to God’s house.
These are only two examples of lukewarmness. The evidence of lukewarmness is all through today’s church as the church grows into an entertainment center and not a house of prayer, worship, and spiritual growth.
One last example of apathy within the church — Christians often use the phrase, “I am only a sinner saved by grace.” The statement is 100-percent true. However, the phrase is often an excuse to sin. We say these words to explain why we have violated God’s law instead of using them to illustrate God’s grace. God can grab our life and, by His grace, transform our life into a life of righteousness.
Sadly, because of the church’s lukewarmness, most Christians have not experienced God’s transformation in their lives. Christian apathy toward God, His Word, and His house is killing the church. That same apathy brings with it a lack of influence which is destroying the society around us.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County, Indiana. Webpage: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; email: [email protected]; address: 410 S. Jefferson St. Rockville IN 47872; all Bible references KJV. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.