Concentrating on the peripherals seems to be the constant pastime of many Christians today. They are greatly exercised about how the church looks, what the minister wears, which version of the Bible he uses, whether or not women cover their heads – with something physical like a hat or berry or scarf – how long the service and especially the sermon lasts, whether or not Psalms are sung exclusively, what form baptism takes, the form of church government, etc. While I do not wish to minimise the importance of these things, there is more than a hint that so long as these outward things are observed, all is well in Zion.
Not so. Behind all these good things is to be found what is in reality the heart of the matter. Outward appearance can express and often covers inward reality. But it is the inward reality that tells the true story. Where the heart is unwell, surgery might be required. When the heart is exposed, truth is seen. When a serious heart condition is discerned, which could prove fatal, immediate action is necessary. But that’s painful, and dangerous. And there are few who will attempt it.
To avoid all challenge and difficulty, its best to stay clear of anything approaching spiritual heart surgery. That’s too much trouble both for the spiritual physician and for the patient. Unlike a hospital heart patient who is usually thankful for such surgery, the church patient is more likely to rise up against you and become violent. No gratitude for help is offered or administered.
And that’s why there are very few true soul physicians in the church today.