Clipped Wings: The Shameful Domestication of Prophetic Truth in 21st Century Evangelical America
You brood of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of Hell? – John the Baptist
This is my first blog in almost a year, and I feel compelled to deliver a painful truth to the American Church: we are dying. We are not dying because of millennials, we are not dying because we are persecuted, and we are not dying because it is no longer fashionable to be religious. We are dying because we are scared to be shaken. But heed my warning: if we will not be shaken on our own, God Himself will shake us.
The sleepy murmurs of sermons on Sundays on how to improve one’s week or a Sunday-to-Sunday exegesis on the book of Galatians does not cut it. The Church, the “big C” Church, the global unit of the Body of Christ, is blocking out the noise of the oppressed. Church, you are afraid.
You post videos of how, “SJW Christians” don’t understand the Gospel. You are guilty of contorting the Gospel to expel any and every belief under the sun except for yours! You don’t think Jesus was concerned with social justice?
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in… you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. – Matthew 23:13,14
Jesus cared for widows and orphans. He loved the destitute and downtrodden. Children are dying in schools, and no one wants to lift a sympathetic ear in our evangelical churches to victims of these atrocities. Joel predicts a day where the Spirit of God will fall so powerfully onto children that they will prophecy! Jesus then warns that all who lift a hand to cause these young ones to stumble should have a millstone hung around their neck and thrown into the sea! Like it or not, the children, the victims, the destitute, are raising their voices, and the American Evangelical Church seeks their heads on pikes stating that the Democratic Party is paying them to speak out against gun violence.
A prophet who is silenced is as useful as an angel with clipped wings.
Preachers! Our desire to have the crowds love us is a sign that we have chosen to listen to the praises of our audience rather than the voice of God! Their applause drowns out the ability to hear the still small whisper of the One who called us! Do you think Jeremiah was praised for his sermons on Babylon overtaking Judah, or the Temple (think of your home church) being rendered to rubble? No! He was thrown into a cistern and covered with cement. Your Savior and LORD warns you of the love of the crowds.
and [the Pharisees] love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. – Matthew 23:6
Was Stephen accepted for preaching the Gospel? No! He was taken out of the Holy City and stoned! His murderers were so angry with his message that they gritted their teeth and shoved their fingers in their ears. You domesticate the Lion of Judah as a pet when you water down your messages to little-better than motivational speeches. The Good News of Christ is no good news at all if it does not confront us with the damaging and damning realities of our sin.
When we finish being offended by the wrong things – such as who urinates in whose bathroom, who tries to take our guns, or if our sermons get enough “amens” – and focus on what God’s heart is for our nation, we can be the nation that God approves of: The Spirit-drenched prophetic Church community that shapes the world and prepares the Bride for our LORD’s return. That is the true amen! Let it be so! Open our ears, Lord! Open our hearts! Tear open the floodgates of heaven and rain your approval and appointing over us.
Church, this is our promise and warning: Humble yourselves or be humbled, be willing to listen or be forced to listen, wake up or be woken up by God. Prophecy, true prophecy, disturbs and unsettles until the common mold is broken in order for God to reshape and remold for His purposes. Prophecy is not a self-help message, it is a repent and restore message. Turn to God. Seek Him continually. Humble yourself and fight for the oppressed. Despise your status. Be servant of all, or be the least in Heaven.
If these words are accepted, great. Amen. So be it. But if they are not, I am in good company, for I remember a certain Rabbi saying that a prophet is not welcome even in his hometown.
March 20, 2019
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