Basket of Figs

Published 2001-03

Bud Powell

Trinity Covenant RCUS, Colorado Springs

 

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The Salt of the Earth

 

 

The Church is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.   That is a fact.  Jesus did not say that the church ought to be the salt of the earth, but that it is. 

 

It is true that what is taught in the church becomes currency in the world’s market of ideas.  The present state of emotionalism and irrationalism in Western Society has come from the church.

 

It was the church that taught its members that the words of the Bible were unreliable.  The Bible was not to be thought of as a book of covenant between God and His people, a covenant that was understandable and plain.  Instead, the Bible was to be read for its personal and emotional content, and each man had the right to place his own meaning and content upon the words, twisting them to his own desires and ideas.

 

For you see, the Holy Spirit was not to be found in the words of the Scriptures, but in the experiences of the Christian.  America has suffered from this virus from the time of the so-called “First Great Awakening,” which moved the churches away from the study and understanding of the Scriptures to emotion and experience.  Revivalists excoriated the professional and learned clergy as being “dead” and “cold.”  Proof was to be found in the experiences of the “revived,” not in the words of Scripture.  Look what God is doing in the lives of so many people, was the answer given to objectors.  The emphasis was shifted from inspired Scriptures to inspired people.

 

American churches came to believe that the Bible was just a tool of the learned to hinder the liberty and freedom of the common Christian, to hold people in bondage.  People should be free to follow the leading of the Spirit.  Translation:  Follow your feelings, no matter how irrational or how contrary to the Bible.  One of the most obvious manifestations of this lawless spirit was the thrusting of women into the gospel ministry, for the 19th Century revivals gave prominent place to women preachers, directly contrary to the words of Scripture.  Spirit-inspired women replaced inspired Scripture.

 

But ideas have consequences.  The church taught America to look to emotion and experience rather than to the book of the covenant.  Was it any wonder that her citizens extrapolated that spirit into the political process?

 

People learned from the church that the words were their enemy, that the Spirit was their true and proper guide.  No wonder they looked on the law and the Constitution as barriers to progress and liberty.  No matter that the words provided a way to amend these political documents—that was too slow and too restricted by careful process.  Inspired men will replace the words by fiat and judicial decision.  Do the clear words of the Constitution get in the way of what we want to do?  “Well,” we reply.  “The Constitution is a growing and living document, and we must not be bound by the dead letter of words.”  In the same way that revivalists subverted the covenant of Scriptures, the national covenant was subverted by emotional and lawless individualism.

 

So it is somewhat ironic that the evangelical community of Christians today is trying to lead the nation back to constitutionalism.  The emperor has no clothes.  We taught society to rely upon emotion at the expense of reason and our senses.  While claiming to believe the Bible we ignored its plain teachings in order to follow our prejudices and our own agendas.  We insisted on our own private interpretations, refusing the “bondage” of creeds, substituting our own ideas for the clear words of Scripture.  While claiming to love and obey the Scriptures, we left them unread and un-heeded.

 

We sought a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ that was extra-Biblical and rooted in experience.  We forgot, or ignored, the truth that the “Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  2Tim. 3:16,17   We closed our Bibles and tried to hear the voice of Christ in our own souls, substituting our humanity for the Spirit of God.  It was very exhilarating and pleasure-packed, but deceitful none-the-less.  We really did not believe that we could be perfected by the Scriptures and be thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  No, we wanted something more personal, and longed for the next revival.  The problem:  every revival, every bit of spiritual “progress” was made at the expense of the Covenant that God had made with His people.   We hated that idea of being bound by words.  Covenant was too narrow for our tastes.

 

We mourned the defiling of our national agreement and covenant.  We complained when those in high places trampled the constitution underfoot in the name of liberty.  The irony was that the church had supplied them weapons and taught them where to aim, and we were powerless in the face of our own weapons.  It is time to repent.

 

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