“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build at all.” (Psalm 127:1)
99% of what should concern us Christians about the condition of the Church in America stems from the radical realization that we are a generation that has done headstands to build ourselves without the agency of a cross.
From the prophets’ books, conferences and teachings we champion, to the politics we engage in, to the altar calls we issue, it is abundantly clear that as a whole, we are a people who oblige a Church without a cross and a cross without a grave.
Once we realize that we’re a generation of church-goers who has utterly failed to practically apply the cross to our lives, what we’ve experienced over these last several years makes perfect sense::
Of course we have scores of “prophets” who are not being held accountable for falsely prophesying Trump’s landslide victory.
Of course millions of evangelical leaders are knitting fig leaves together in an attempt to divorce us from the horrific histories of our native and black families.
Of course we can storm the capital with militant cries like “Valkyrie” and then deny complicity when people are murdered and our god fails to act on our behalf.
Of course we vehemently believe that we could be raptured out of here at any moment, because our God would never make us suffer through tribulation.
Of course millions in our family attend cult political rallies that are filled with rancor, malice and Christian syncretism.
Of course when faced with a plague we rise up in loud, angry protest against our government rather than weep between the porch and the altar.
Of course we proffer conspiracy theories instead of seeking the naked truth about ourselves before the Holy gaze of the God of Daniel 9.
Of course we promote revival apart from the message of Jeremiah.
Of course our ministries, books, conferences and church events are auto-tuned to definitions of power and glory that look nothing like Jesus.
Of course we champion political and ecclesial leaders who promise us righteousness while exalting self.
Of course we sweep their sad, sordid stories under the rug when they collapse under moral failure after failure after failure…
There’s been no doubt about where we stand. We American evangelicals have spent a generation building a Church upon the unstable soil of the uncrucified self.
Beloved. A cross must, and WILL be applied. There is no hope for a people in this hour that will not say “yes” to Jesus’ administration of the cross. A crossless woman will not become the Bride of the Lamb. The message of Revelation, if anything, should tell us that.
The act of taking God’s analysis of our situation seriously is called repentance. It entails more than modifying the plumbing, holding a housewarming party, or adorning the living room with new furniture. The type of shift the Lord is calling His people to make involves leveling ourselves to our foundations and scrutinizing everything we do and believe and assert through the lens of selflessly seeking the Lord. Life under the cross in this hour is that radical.
Is there grace for the conversation? Of course. But we almost dare not mention it for fear that we use it to our self-excusing advantage like we have for decades. Ours is a well-worn groove. It’s become a familiar spirit. Unless we press into the Holy Spirit’s Presence with great intentionality and fasting our 21c minds will warp and distort the message of the eternal – to our own destruction.
Unless we take up our cross we will not be worthy of Him. (Matthew 10:38)
JSB • April, 2022