Friday, 13 July 2012

Dr J. Edwin Orr and Revival

Dr J. Edwin Orr taught that if revival is to flower, certain things must happen:

"Little by little, the church loses its grip on essential things, becomes a social club, goes to sleep or flies off at a tangent. All over the world we find sleeping churches, and all round them are the gospel-starved masses. Instead of performing the first thing of importance, evangelising the masses, they are engaged in a bewildering variety of pastimes--anything but the real thing."

Let me take these points in order: Has the church today lost "its grip on essential things"?  Is the Gospel of God being proclaimed every Lord's day from every pulpit established for the preaching of the Gospel?  Is there passion and a sense of urgency in the preaching that marked a previous generation of preachers?  

Or has the church degenerated into "a social club"?  Is it now the kind of organisation that is only interested in men's well-being in this world, and not so much in their eternal souls?  Does it try to cater for every 'special interest group' within its jurisdiction?  Does it break up its congregations into ages and gender groups, rather than having the entire church involved in all church activities?

Has the church today gone to "sleep"?  I don't think there can be any doubt that this is a fair description of many churches today - they are asleep while their members and community goes to hell without the only Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.  Is she so inebriated by notions of her own self-importance and by her seeking to be applauded and honoured by the godless world that she sees no dangers anywhere that should cause concern to the Church of Christ?

Is it true that the church in many of her manifestations worldwide has flown "off at a tangent" and has become involved in politics, social action, an organiser of charitable activities; has she been taken down the road paved by godless philosophers without even realising it?

Dr Orr is correct: "All over the world we find sleeping churches."  How utterly sad!  And how unacceptable!  Who has cast the spell upon them that has created this situation?  Satan.  The church has allowed Satan to become a church member!  He is welcome in very many churches around the globe.  He presents himself as "an angel of light," and very often has a good 'profession of faith' which the church elders accept without question.  Preachers who have been brought under his power and influence are lulling their congregations to sleep with empty sermons, pious platitudes and sloppy sentimentalism.  The churches are asleep.

So intent are ministers and churches to keep strictly within their pre-determined parish boundaries that evangelism of the masses is a non-starter.  As Dr Orr rightly asserts,"all around them are gospel-starved masses."  Multitudes are on the broad road that leads to destruction.  Why?  Because they have not been told the Gospel in a way that grips them and 'nails them to their pews' as they listen.  They might have listened to carefully Bible studies, but these are not, I repeat, are not sermons. The masses are not being evangelised and the sheep are not being fed because the church is intent in and dedicated to amusing the goats.  They are happier to have loads of good, and not so good, pagans, in their membership because that keeps the money rolling in, than to tell them the unadulterated truth of the Gospel. 

Churches today have programmes of all kinds to entertain the goats, but not so much activity that will turn goats into sheep, as William Still of Aberdeen once said.  She has lost her vocation and Ichabod has been written over her.  Even the so-called pure churches are facing the same problems today.  Their members do not want the Gospel preached in their church - that's for mission halls and street corners, not the church.

Dr Edwin Orr is totally correct.  There must be immediate and radical change in every church if they are to meet the challenges of "this present evil age," (Gal.1:4).

But the biggest question of all is, Is she up to it?



Sharon Collins said...

O church arise and put your armour on hear the call of Christ our captor

Hazlett Lynch said...

Sharon, let us keep in touch. It is great that you also share my perspective on spiritual things.