GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 646 • May28, 2021
SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST – Number 13
SHOULD WE BE SAVING CHRISTIANITY?
Some would say, “Why would we even ask such a question?” They are sure that Christianity is not lost, not in any danger, that it is safe in the hands of God and His Holy Spirit, that the work of Christ cannot be undone, that if there is any threat to it God will defend it and defeat every enemy. Certainly – (this is said very loudly and emphatically by ignorant theologians and accepted by their naive disciples and followers who trust without seriously questioning their popes, prelates, pastors, preachers, proclaimers, practitioners and pretended prophets who only repeat what their trusted theologians tell them) – certainly the work of the Sovereign God cannot be overthrown by any human or worldly power or even by Satanic or demonic power and “the church and all the people of God are safe in the hands of Jesus.” They may rest this claim in the words of Jesus who said of the church He would build: the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:16-18).
This question about saving Christianity is easily misunderstood, but it also has a solid practical application. Preserving (that’s a proper meaning of saving) and maintaining God’s plan and structure of the Christian faith and religion is absolutely necessary if the true church of God in Christ is to survive and continue on earth. Of course we could argue that false religions, including those falsely called Christian, may abound and seem to grow in strength and numbers of adherents. But no one – no man or group of men and not Satan himself and all the powers of hell can preserve the counterfeits. God will destroy them – Christ will destroy them with the breath of his mouth at his return and consign them to eternal perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12).
For a long time the church in our country, though not in all parts of the world, has enjoyed a generally peaceful and safe relationship with the world. It is easy for us to ignore or forget the pains and perils of Christians in places where a non-Christian religion rules supreme or seeks supremacy. Christians are looked upon as infidels and idolaters (because they reject the gods and goddesses and prophets promoted by the locals) – some feel they are serving their gods by persecuting and killing Christians. But things are changing in our country now, and in most other countries once friendly to Christianity, the so-called Western Civilization. The push of the rapidly ascending “cancel” crowd wants no religion at all, no God and no gods but only evolving humanity and atheistic culture. The church is not safe. Christians are not safe (nor are any other religious people). You are not safe if you resist or reject non-religious or anti-religious terrorists. Racial terrorism is also a rising threat posed by those obsessed with an “only our lives matter” mantra — all others are anathema.
A time of peace and relative safety for Christians does not necessarily mean peace and safety for the gospel of Christ or for Biblical Christianity. Sometimes the church itself – called the church but actually being “the churches” as denominated parts of “Christendom” have engaged in destruction of the gospel of God and the church of Jesus Christ. I dare to say that the true church (which we claim to be – the true one amidst a plethora of spurious counterfeits) suffers from self-destructive detours and departures from God’s truth, God’s way. Efforts to divide and differentiate were made early – within two or three decades of the church’s beginning (see 1 Corinthians 1:10-13) and have been made frequently and currently to change the doctrines, the meaning, and the course of Christianity.
We are currently experiencing an accelerated effort not just to change the doctrines and bring Christianity into closer harmony with culture, society and politics, and “human nature,” but to discredit it completely and remove it from social consciousness. Now, not only Christianity and its message are not safe but Christians are also no longer safe. The tendency of nominal Christians may be to change the gospel, change the whole message and the activities of the church so that it will be tolerated. — not popular, not appreciated, approved, and applied but simply allowed to exist and be practiced even if diluted, homogenized, and skimmed of any controversial content. Are we to be content with an edict of toleration (a la Constantine in 311-13 AD)? It may sound like a step forward from the burgeoning intolerance, not of religion but of Christian faith and practice. Toleration these days seems to be predicated upon not being against anything that anybody does or wants to do. That’s the kind of toleration that undergirds “social justice” rather than law, LGBTQ and gender fluidity rather than biology and other sciences, political correctness with everybody’s feelings sacrosanct, truth being whatever you want it to be or claim it to be regardless of facts, a society and a world in which one is denied the freedom to speak actual truth if anybody else objects to it or denies it. We should not tolerate that kind of tolerance.
Ignoring the truth, denying the truth, perverting the presentation of the truth, or replacing the truth with untruth does not change the truth. As William Cullen Bryant famously said, “Truth crushed to earth shall rise again.” It doesn’t go away, it may remain long hidden, but it is only waiting to be found again. The truths of Christianity are eternal – often obscured and hidden, ignored, denied, and exchanged for lies (Romans 1:25) – but will rise up again in judgment of everyone. Christianity as designed and designated by God — not what has been twisted and manipulated, reconfigured by theologians to match evolving sectarian preferences into what is now termed Christendom or Christianity for Dummies (excuse the pun), but God’s original form which has not been and never will be changed by God. There was a time, not so long ago, when a noble concept was espoused and promoted: Restoration, and Return to the original intent of God, the primal form of the religion of Christ under His New Testament. It was a radical concept that did not win approval from entrenched denominational Christendom, the human substitute for God’s enterprise.
Some believe and defend Christianity as it has become and now is. They advocate for a “living growing developing” entity which is “becoming what it is going to be” but is not in its final form yet. They want to defend it from incursions of false (non-Christian) religion, but are not concerned about the changes that have accrued over nearly 20 centuries of internal abuse and disfigurement of the original. God’s way doesn’t need to be updated, revised, brought in line with evolving culture, pseudo-science, tradition, re-written history, etc – it does not need to be and actually cannot be improved, since it is as perfect as God who gave it is perfect. It only needs to be restored to its rightful place in the minds, hearts, and actions of the people who claim to be His people, His church. Do not waste time with reforming something that was wrong at its inception – like the multitude of false churches and the “mother” of all false churches (it has a name, but will be nameless in this essay). Don’t wait for God and Christ and the Spirit of God to “catch up” with you and be assimilated by you. Seek rather to be assimilated by the Lord God into that holy and righteous body of saved and sanctified persons He calls His people, His church. Stop trying to make God what you want Him to be and submit to Him so that He can make you what He wants you to be.
It has been said often, and needs repeating: THERE IS ONE GOD, ONLY ONE. AND YOU ARE NOT GOD. I’d like to expand that a bit. You are not God, I am not God, the nation is not God, the world is not God, we are not God, the church is not God, the Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant-Reformed-Restored churches singly or collectively are not God, Christendom or Christianity is not God, The domestic terrorist groups – you could probably name two or three – are not God, Satan is not God, ONLY GOD IS GOD. We are allowed to speak what God speaks. We cannot speak for Him. We cannot overrule Him. We are not allowed to change, add to, or delete any of His words. The same is true about the Christ. We are to teach, apply, impose and command all that He commands, nothing more and nothing less (Matthew 28_18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Galatians 1:6-10). When we do that we will be building up His church, not building one to suit ourselves which He will necessarily refuse to acknowledge, approve, or accept no matter what it may call itself and no matter what honor may be given to it by men. Unless the Lord builds the house [or the church] those who do build it labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
NOTE: This is the final segment in this essay of 13 parts, SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST.