Sunday, December 14, 2008
The Nation Follows the Church
In the Obituary that he wrote after the death of the Rev. J. Gresham Machen, D. D., H. L. Mencken penned these words:
Upon this contumacy Dr. Machen fell with loud shouts of alarm. He denied absolutely that anyone had a right to revise and sophisticate Holy Writ. Either it was the Word of God or it was not the Word of God, and if it was, then it was equally authoritative in all its details,and had to be accepted or rejected as a whole. Anyone was free to reject it, but no one was free to mutilate it or to read things into it that were not there. Thus the issue with the Modernists was clearly joined, and Dr. Machen argued them quite out of court, and sent them scurrying back to their literary and sociological Kaffeeklatsche. His operations, to be sure, did not prove that Holy Writ was infallible either as history or as theology, but they at least disposed of those who proposed to read it as they might read a newspaper, believing what they chose and rejecting what they chose. (as quoted in Gary North's book, Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church)
There are many lessons that can be learned from this book by all those who hold to the Orthodox Christian Faith, irrespective of their Denominational roots. The book is obtainable free of cost from the website http://GaryNorth.com/freebooks
In the book of Revelation, Jesus says that His Church is to be a source of life for the healing of the nations:
And he showed me a pure rive of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and of either side of the river, was the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and gave fruit every month: and the leaves of the Tree served to heal the nations with. (Revelation 22: 1-2).
If the river of God's Word that proceeds from the teaching and preaching of the church is not crystal clear, then the fruit will not be wholesome and the leaves will be poisonous. The nation follows the church; and if the church is exuding unwholesome and poisonous food, then the nation will become sick to the heart. A sick nation is ripe for God's judgment. As Jeremiah records:
I will speak suddenly against a nation or against a kingdom to pluck it up and to root it out and to destroy it. But if this nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their wickedness, I will repent of the plague that I thought to bring upon them. And I will speak suddenly concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom to build it and to plant it. But if it do evil in my sight and hear not my voice, I will repent of the good that I thought to do for them. (Jeremiah 18:7-10).
Brothers, we cannot play at church. Brothers, we cannot afford to be nice. Brothers we cannot be concerned about how others will feel towards us if we proclaim the unadulterated Truth. Our nation is at risk. Either God's Word is God's Word and we need to embrace it as the Truth in every minute detail, or it is not, and we should turn elsewhere for guidance through life.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord - the Triune God, Who in six literal days created the heavens and the earth, Who is the Law-giver and Judge of all who transgress His Holy, unbreakable Law-Word, Who is the only hope of salvation, Who will hold all men, women and children to account for every word, deed and thought, but Who casts all sins into the sea of forgetfulness on behalf of those who confess and forsake their wickedness. But, how can we repent if we first have not had sin defined for us, and then faithfully proclaimed to us?