It’s business as usual in the church today. As society races toward hell and judgment, the church can’t get a crowd to think, pray, study the Scriptures, or care for the lost. Think of the things that bother us enough to yell and talk back to the television, but don’t bother us enough to get on our faces before God.
Years ago someone asked an influential person, “What do you think of civilization?” He replied, “I think it’s a good idea. Why doesn’t somebody start it?” We are on the verge of anarchy. We already have streets unsafe to walk and a morally depraved society. What’s next?
We think because of increases in technology that we are making progress. In reality, we’re just better educated pagans. We’ve lost our minds and our souls. The question could be asked, “Is it too late for America? Have we passed the point of no return? Is there any hope?”
Good questions. My fear is, apart from a powerful and convicting move of the Holy Spirit in Awakening, we have passed the point of no return. We’ve moved so far to the edge of the cliff that one puff of wind could send us on a free fall toward destruction.
We surely have anarchy. Lawlessness abounds. It’s the book of Judges updated to the 21st century. We’re selling dirt and calling it gold, silver, and precious stones. There are no absolutes. Everything is relative. We’ve thrown out right and wrong so we can feed our flesh.
We surely have some indications of apostasy in the professing church. There is a falling away from essential truth and sound doctrine for “what’s in it for me?” theology. The early church confronted false teaching in a way that seems offensive in our sensitive, self-centered age. But you deal with cancer or you’ll die!
My greatest fear is the apathy in the church. I can’t do much to change the conditions of society. It disturbs me that churches across this land are not disturbed. A few here and there see the signs of the times, but mostly the landscaped is littered with a pathetic band of churches singing “Rescue the Perishing,” and they don’t give a rip if the world goes to hell. The love of many has waxed cold. Vance Havner said, “The order of the day is abounding lawlessness and abating love.” We’ve left our first love, and the lukewarm church nauseates Christ.
We better wake up. If the president and congress are leaving our children and grandchildren with a nation broken and in debt, we are leaving them with a powerless church that has a form of godliness without power. If we don’t change, the blood of a generation will be on our hands. It’s not for someone else to fix this problem. The problem and the responsibility are ours.
We can blame everyone on the planet, but this has happened under our watch. It was the church that sat silently while things changed. We substituted petitions, politics, and boycotts for prayer and brokenness over the sin of the land. We pointed fingers, but judgment begins at the house of God. We make excuses when we have no excuse. We run to our little Bible studies with no intention of doing what the Bible says.
We must pray. We must seek the Lord. He’s our only hope. We’ve organized, now we need to agonize. We’ve had our programs, but we’ve forsaken the house of prayer. Vance Havner said, “The average church congregation is in no mood for it. Most of them couldn’t care less. That is evident from the dead-pan expression on most faces. . . . But some of us might start praying that God would raise up a Gideon’s Band to begin with, and hope that it might grow.” Join me in desperate praying that will turn the tide. If we aren’t desperate now, when? If not us, who? What if 1,000 churches in America got desperate for God? We will never know if we don’t start.
(copyright 2009, Michael Catt)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.