The Church Today
by James E. Boyd
The older I get the less I like to become involved in a head-on discussion of particular church problems with my fellow pastors. The reason being, I believe, that more often than not, the discussion evolves into a debate or argument that proves frustrating and, in the end, no one agrees on anything and nothing is resolved. Next to the legal profession, perhaps, preachers and theologians are the biggest arguers on the planet. Opinions are like noses; everybody has one.
However, if 41 years in this work at least entitles me to an an opinion about my work, I'll venture one. Certainly, homosexual relations are anti-Christian. The Bible teaches that it is anti-Christian and the average Sunday school student knows it. But it seems that the sin of homosexuality, like so many other sins, is on it's way to acceptance within the "church" community. I put the word "church" in quotation marks because the modern generation of "church" people is proposing its own definition of the church which often bears little resemblance to that proposed in the New Testament. It may no longer be the real truth that matters as much as one's definition of what truth is.
When I was first ordained to the ministry in 1958, two week revivals were still being carried out in some places. Women would not be seen in church in anything but a dress. If a woman came to church wearing a lot of makeup, she became the object of a whisper campaign. Men ruled the church. During that era, most of the churches in my area, of all denominations, practiced a code of ethics that was strictly enforced. If a person joined a church he/she was expected to abide by its rules. People still believed the Bible and expected the preacher to preach it. The church was a force within the community to be reckoned with.
Today, sin is an ugly word in the pulpit. Many of the terrible sins of a half century ago have become acceptable in the "church." The facts are evident: when I entered the ministry, I was appalled that around 30% percent of all marriages were ending in divorce. Today over 50% of all marriages are ending in divorce. Too, in those years, divorcees in the pulpit were unheard of. today, especially in liberal denominations such as ours, it is quite common for a divorcee to be appointed to the pastorate. Today, divorce, which was once a cardinal sin, has been accepted as tolerable. And I could go on itemizing......
How did the devil defeat us? The answer is obvious and Biblical. He used the same ole ruse that he used in the Garden of Eden. And, too, he has bought us out. The most important thing in the church today is not the honest Gospel but the church budget and our careers. It's easier to "go with the flow" than it is to "rock the boat."
The acceptance of homosexuality, as much as I deplore the disgusting thought, is right around the corner from becoming another acceptable sin in the "church." Another frightening thing about all this is that many "mainline church folks" don't seem to care very much one way or another.
I take hope in the fact that the "gates of hell shall not prevail against the church." and I also remember that "straight is the way and narrow the gate that leads to life eternal and few there be that find it."
Although we may not presently be a part of it, Christ's church is still around somewhere.
James E. Boyd, Pastor
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