Most Pastors Don’t Have A Biblical Worldview and It’s a Problem

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

Matthew 15:8-9

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

If the Apostle Paul attended a Sunday service today would he recognize the American church as the Church he help found? Probably not.

George Barna and Arizona Christian University published an alarming study in 2022. Here is a direct quote from the American Worldview Inventory 2022:

“Among all Christian pastors in the United States, slightly more than one out of every three (37%) possesses a biblical worldview

 

Among Senior Pastors, four out of 10 (41%) have a biblical worldview—the highest incidence among any of the five pastoral positions studied. Next highest was the 28% among Associate Pastors. Less than half as many Teaching Pastors (13%) and Children’s and Youth Pastors (12%) have a biblical worldview. The lowest level of biblical worldview was among Executive Pastors—only 4% have consistently biblical beliefs and behaviors.

 

Much like other Americans, the pastors who do not have a biblical worldview are unlikely to fully embrace a competing worldview (such as Secular Humanism, Marxism, or others). In fact, less than 1% of pastors embody a worldview other than Biblical Theism (i.e., the biblical worldview).

 

Instead, their prevailing worldview is best described as Syncretism, the blending of ideas and applications from a variety of holistic worldviews into a unique but inconsistent combination that represents their personal preferences. More than six out of 10 pastors (62%) have a predominantly syncretistic worldview.” (1)

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” – Matthew 15:8-9

What price will our children and grandchildren pay for this drift? What must you speak up about today that if you don’t, you will regret tomorrow?

Eric Metaxas said, “It is far easier to ignore God’s call than to acknowledge it and rise to fulfill it, but it is more difficult and painful than anything to live with the results of ignoring God’s call. Let the reader understand…”

Diagnosing the Problem

As individuals and the church, we are prone to place blame and responsibility for our failures, problems and weaknesses outside ourselves. Just as we face significant challenges and threats from the outside, we fail to realize most problems and failures begin on the inside. On the same note, we are the solution (Christ being the ultimate solution). As faithful Christians, we must be sober-minded and honest about our weakness and sin. As the Church we should remove the log from our own eye before removing the speck from someone else’s.

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God…” – 1 Peter 4:17a

As I survey the landscape of the American evangelical church, I am grieved and disgusted. The church is cowering in the fear of man. Preachers and theologians dress up their cowardice using a camouflage of thin theological justifications and proof-texts (albeit out-of-context). “Leave theology and interpretation of scripture to the experts!” is the cry from comfortable ivory towers far above the burning cities. This is gnosticism in new garb. The professional ministerial class is over-confident in their seminary degrees and under-informed about the realities of the world around them.

Church Inc. Business

A modern Tower of Babel has been constructed through empire-building and marketing of religious goods and services (entertainment and programs). This feeds Christian consumerism. It seems like many churches have been transformed into businesses.

Institutionalism, elitism, pragmatism, moralism, and pretension have overtaken the original mission of the church. The incremental secularization of the church combined with pragmatism and a focus on church growth over Kingdom growth have resulted in a consumer-focused mission over a Christ-focused one.

The clarion call of the modern American evangelical church is, “Let us make a brand for ourselves, create more parking, and more views on YouTube! Lest we become irrelevant!”

When a church behaves like a business, preachers and pastors are replaced by a specialized managerial class of administrators that embrace a business mindset over a biblical mindset. Many of these administrators and executive pastors have specialized administrative degrees from seminaries. The problem is that seminaries are poor at teaching business administration, it’s not their purpose. If you want to run a business, get an MBA from a University not a D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) from a seminary.

The D.Min. was created in the 1970’s and marketed by seminaries to those seeking upward mobility but did not have time, commitment, or resources to obtain a Ph.D. David Wells wrote, “This is the old market mechanism at work. In the 1970’s many seminaries were hard pressed financially, and the D.Min. was a lucrative new product to sell. At the same time, many ministers were hard-pressed psychologically as they sensed the decline in their profession…” (2)

Should it surprise anyone that, “The lowest level of biblical worldview was among Executive Pastors—only 4% have consistently biblical beliefs and behaviors?” (3)

Professional administrators have replaced called and committed pastors as the business of Church Inc. has replaced the ministry and witness of the Church. As a result, the goal is to use marketing strategies to entice people to come to a church ‘worship experience.’ As such, many evangelical pulpits promote therapeutic moralistic deism over biblical faith. Think of a rock concert and a TED talk followed by a therapeutic message making sinners feel better about their sin and a God who winks at sin. Aaron Renn, says it’s a “curious blend of moral posturing and play-it-safe proclamations” which are becoming the dominant evangelical perspective today.

It seems like the modern evangelical worship service is built around entertainment and performance for the experience of attendees. It begs the question, exactly who is the worship experience for? What is the purpose of worship? Can we entertain the lost into the Kingdom? Perhaps we can get everyone emotionally riled up and feeling good or watching online? Is the tithe just a tip or a transaction in the eyes of most Christians? Consumers demand, “Entertain me, make me feel good, and in return I’ll throw some cash in the offering plate. But, keep the sermon short, I have a 1:00pm tee-time.”

The Reality

We’re a preference-driven society… Don’t like how the preacher looks? Leave! Don’t like the sermon? Leave! Don’t like the music? Leave! After all, there are thousands of worship experiences at your fingertips. Don’t forget we have an espresso bar serving hot Lattes in the back of the sanctuary for your worship enjoyment.

If “sightly more than one out of every three (37%) pastors possesses a biblical worldview” then, our churches will look like the world and use the tactics of the world to be accepted by the world.

Here’s an idea that Chuck Colson put forth, “It’s time for the church to be THE Church” and stop being like the world. This is going to require a multigenerational recovery of a biblical worldview among those who are called to ministry. That recovery must begin now.

“You may be able to articulate a biblical worldview but if your biblical worldview doesn’t arise from the deep and growing love of Jesus Christ and the love for others (particularly sinners – just like us) then, you may have a biblical worldview but it doesn’t have you?”

– Dr. Bill Brown, Ph.D. (Colson Center for Christian Worldview)

 

Footnotes:
(1) https://www.arizonachristian.edu/2022/05/12/shocking-lack-of-biblical-worldview-among-american-pastors/
(2) Wells, David F. “No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology” (1993)
(3) https://www.arizonachristian.edu/2022/05/12/shocking-lack-of-biblical-worldview-among-american-pastors/

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Now more than ever, worldview training is essential. It is not a Christian elective. I launched the Forge Room Foundation in order to equip Christians to understand our cultural moment and respond with a biblical worldview perspective.

Learn more and give here…

Video: Why the Church Abandoned the Culture with Michael Craven

Live Webinar and Q&A with Michael Craven 3/4/2024

The Christian faith has gone from being a public truth to a private experience. The role of the Church in the broader culture has waned over the past 100 years. As faith has receded from society, dark ideologies have set up residence in the cultural domains vacated by Christians. Little wonder our families, communities, institutions, and even churches are in decay. What would our churches, families, communities, and nation look like when Christians invade all of culture with the truth and light of Jesus Christ? Lance Cashion is joined by special guest, Michael Craven, Vice President of Equipping & Mobilization at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Did Christians lose a ‘culture war’? Or did we abandon the cultural domains God commanded us to steward?
Where do we go from here?

You will have a better understanding of why the church is in its current state in America. You’ll also be equipped to help your local church recover its rightful role in society. You will be encouraged and hopeful for the future as you live boldly for Christ in this generation.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Now more than ever, worldview training is essential. It is not a Christian elective. I launched the Forge Room Foundation in order to equip Christians to understand our cultural moment and respond with a biblical worldview perspective.

Learn more and give here…

Rise up and Rebuild

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat… What is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be… Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

 

Sir Winston Churchill (May 13, 1940)

The lobby is full. The gourmet coffee is hot. The music is good. The rooms are big and luxurious. The furniture is comfortable. The captain’s voice puts me at ease. Everyone is smiling and feeling good. The pleasurable experience is worth the price of the morning hassle. A young bride looks at her husband, and warmly remarks, “I’m so glad we came to church today. Hurry, let’s drop off the kids at childcare. I hear the band starting to play and I don’t want to miss the first song!”

Church, do you see the trouble we’re in?

Christian escapism is not biblical Christianity. We’re so comfortable and familiar with our Sunday ‘worship experiences’ that cater to our personal preferences and whims, we don’t realize we’re living in a spiritual wasteland. If the Apostle Paul walked into our church buildings this Sunday to check the fruit of his church-planting ministry, would he recognize the church as the Church he planted? In other words, would the Apostle, who was martyred for the Church, recognize the gathering of a distinct people living in the world but are not of the world? Would Paul see a gathered people demonstrating to the unbelieving world what life looks like living under the rule and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ?

What I am about to say may sound like a harsh critique. It is nonetheless honest, accurate, and intended as a wake up call.

Generally speaking, the church in America is in ruins. And, we’ve grown accustomed to living among the ruins. In fact, we disguise the broken-down spiritual walls with physical veneers and accoutrements to portray stability and strength. Personal preference, privatization, and corporatization have replaced the supernatural dynamism and distinctive functions of the Church. As such, we have redefined the meaning of “church.” Prophetic preaching has been replaced with profit preaching. The congregant is viewed as a customer. The mission of the church is keeping the customer comfortable and coming back. This is the modality of most churches – especially seeker-sensitive churches.

Most evangelical preachers are not preaching outright heresy. We’re so biblically illiterate, I’m not convinced we’d recognize heresy or have the moral courage to call it out if they were. It is the inconvenient truths of the Bible that many pastors omit. All scripture is God-breathed and useful for every matter of salvation, life and godliness. In other words, scripture has implications for all of life, family, and society. Sidestepping certain issues is another way for some pastors to do what seems right in their own eyes. After all, we have to be nice to win people to Christ. Prior to the 1300s ‘nice‘ meant foolish or stupid. The church embodies a mood of amicability, cultural conformity, and consumerism. Lest we agitate or scare away the customer base and their money. It is a sad state we’re in.

Proclamations from church leadership on high to congregants below goes something like this…

“Stand up for Israel! She must protect her borders!”

“But, don’t you dare stand up for righteousness in a school board meeting to protect children! That’s political and divisive!”

“Speaking into cultural issues gets in the way of sharing the Gospel!”

“Submit to Government authority. Wear a mask. Stay at home and church watch online. Romans 13!”

“How dare you question church leadership even as we intentionally avoid transparency and lack theological clarity and moral courage? That’s unloving, disloyal, and divisive!”

“Let the professionals handle how we do church, your job is to submit to our authority, sit down, keep your mouth shut and your wallet open!”

“You are getting in the way of God’s work. Perhaps, you should find another church if you don’t like it here?”

Pragmatism and marketing gimmicks shape modern ministry philosophy. Pastors are rendered to nothing more than managers. Seminaries produce highly specialized class of degreed professionals in order to compete with secular university degrees. Work at a church is just another career path instead of a calling. As such, the people are viewed as problems to be solve instead of sheep to be shepherded. The question I have for most pastors, is; “Would you do what you do for free?”

If Jesus Christ walked into an elder meeting, would he be pleased with the humility, faithfulness, intercessory prayer, theological clarity, moral courage, and pastoral care being provided? Or would Jesus fashion a whip of HDMI cords, tear down the growth charts and building plans, dump the gourmet coffee on the expensive carpet and chase peddlers of religious goods and programs off the property? “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of marketers.”

Do you see the trouble we’re in?

WE’ve got a problem. The church is in ruins and that leads to families, communities and a nation in ruins. Most churches are simply rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic instead of calling for all hands on deck! I’m convinced, we are entering a time of civilizational crisis that no generation has witnessed since the Civil War or the Great Depression. In the words of William Strauss and Neil Howe, we are moving from societal unraveling into an era of crisis and upheaval. (1)

How are you going to think about a time such as this?
What are you going to do about it?
You have a choice that will shape the contours of history.
Will you stick with the status quo or “offer blood, toil, tears and sweat?”

Remember, we are The Church (a people, not a place)

Societal unraveling, crisis, and upheaval are nothing new to the church. Neither are awakenings and revivals new to the church! The church thrives in adverse and austere environments. We are the ekklesia! (2) We are redeemed and called out by Christ. We are a gathered people. Yet, we are distinct. At the same time, we are united from every nation, tribe, and tongue throughout human history. Distinct and united for what? To bear witness to the world to the glory of the King. And show the world what it looks like to live in His Kingdom that is in this world but not of this world. We carry our King’s message – a proclamation of good news and peace to rebels… “Lay down your sinful arms and run into His arms of grace!” Christ says, “Why spill the blood of others when I have spilled my blood for you and many for the forgiveness of sins?”

Why do I take the time to write this?

Because, God put it on my heart. This morning, I happened to listen to a sermon by Alistair Begg from 1994 entitled “Planting a Vision” from Nehemiah 2:11-20. It was a reminder for me of which I am so thankful!

Dark times demand a strong church…
We are a battleship not a cruiseliner.
We must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Like the ruined walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day, the church walls are ruined in our day – even as they are covered with modern veneers. The words of Nehemiah echo down the hallways of history, “Let us rise up and build!” (Nehemiah 2:18)

If Jesus returns today or a thousand years from today I don’t know. However, whether he returns or calls me home, I want to be found going about my King’s business. My business is equipping and mobilizing the Church. Alistair Begg asked the question,”Are you in this world to do something or just looking for something to do?” What is the King’s business you need to be about?

I reorder Churchill’s words for this moment.

“Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength… What is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be…”

In God’s providence, you are here and so am I. Let us pray for God’s vision, provision, protection, and power as we hold to His promises of victory. Let’s rebuild and fortify the church and her witness in this time for God’s glory.

If Christ tarries through this present crisis, then we are sowing and cultivating the fields of the mighty awakening to come!

Nehemiah caused a holy ruckus in his day… We should cause a holy ruckus in our day too?

Author’s Note: I started Forge Room Foundation because God arranged my circumstances (without my permission) and reinforced my calling to equip and mobilize His Church for this time and place. So, that’s what I do come hell or high water. We could use your support as we close out our first year. Consider us in your giving plan and give here…

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.” – C.T. Studd

Footnotes:

(1) https://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Turning-American-Prophecy-Rendezvous/dp/0767900464

(2) https://www.gotquestions.org/definition-ekklesia.html

Join us on Sunday, Nov. 12, for a Forge Room Forum in Fort Worth, Texas. “Critical Social Theory vs. Biblical Unity” Register free here…

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

LEARN ABOUT THE FORGE ROOM FOUNDATION.
TRAINING EVERYDAY CHRISTIANS TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.

Is your church going liberal?

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…” 

 

2 Timothy 4:3

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Author’s Note: Below this post is a link to ‘Her Faith Inspires’ podcast hosted by Shanda Fulbright on this topic. We go a little deeper. After reading, head to the link below!

A pastor doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to be a heretic or stray from orthodoxy.

A church doesn’t have to hoist a giant BLM or LGBTQ+ flag to be considered liberal… Although, I’d definitely recommend avoiding churches that do so.

Liberal theology elevates human reason as authoritative while the Bible is seen as erroneous, possessing little to no authority. In reality, liberalization of a church is death by a thousand cuts. In other words, straying occurs slowly and incrementally over time. One must take in consideration a church’s theological commitments, doctrinal positions, and preaching over a span of years. History and trajectory are important.

I will share a few warning signs.

Controversy
If church leadership begins to avoid controversial issues, this is one indication of that church going liberal. Excuses range from the “seeker-sensitive” mindset where leaders try to convince the congregation that preaching about controversial topics “gets in the way of the Gospel” to labeling all controversial issues as “political.” Both excuses in all their various forms are copouts. Avoiding controversy is a cover for the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25) and cowardice (Revelation 21:8). Both lead to sin.

Compromise
In a church, compromise is an attempt to morally relocate the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong somewhere in the middle. Compromise is usually packaged as something new and it’s never good. It is a theological and doctrinal reorientation around worldly culture rather than the Word of God. A little compromise here and there becomes normative. (Compromise is largely a function of the philosophy of pragmatism – more on pragmatism later).

Liberal theology takes on many forms and can be hard to recognize. Theological and doctrinal compromise rarely begin in the pulpit (unless the pastor has begun to privately compromise the truth). Actually, compromise typically begins in smaller communities within the larger church community – in small groups, classes, and/or church committees. From these smaller enclaves, compromise works its way into the wider church community.

Progressive Christianity is a current trend of dangerous theological and doctrinal compromise making its way through churches. If a teacher is promoting a “new and different interpretative approach to Scripture” or “deconstructing power and privilege in the Bible“, you are seeing compromise and false teaching. The teacher may be a nice guy with a seminary degree, but Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” too (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Eventually, compromise leads to a total rejection of biblical inerrancy and authority. Again, this occurs very slowly.

Criticism
If you observe a leader isolating and insulating themselves against criticism or feedback they don’t like, it can indicate a trend toward liberalism. No one enjoys criticism or critique because it grates against our pride, sensibilities, and emotions. However, we can learn from criticism and feedback, even when it’s way off base because it contains some kernel of truth. When criticism, critique, or feedback comes from people who’ve supported and been committed to a fellowship for years, it’s probably a good idea to listen and humbly acknowledge there’s something to learn.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is not just aimed at the congregation. Pastors and teachers are to be taught, reproved, and trained by the Word as well.

When a church member critiques or challenges a leader, it’s a great opportunity to meet, open bibles, and discuss (reason together). However, when barriers to access are raised, its time for concern – because the leaders don’t want to listen. If they don’t listen, they don’t learn. If they amplify positive affirmations but don’t listen to the congregation, they lose connection with reality.

Convictions
When a church is going liberal, it begins to alter or subtly back away from long held convictions. This is closely related to compromise. For instance, if your church has been committed to protecting and promoting the sanctity of human life for many years only to begin avoiding discussion about the sin of abortion, it’s backing away from a conviction. When ‘hot button’ issues like surgical mutilation of children, sterilization, or Marxist indoctrination of children in schools, or public promotion of drag shows for kids are avoided or ignored, there is a problem.

The Bible has something to say about all of these issues – the Bible calls them ‘evil.’ When Christians remain silent in the face of evil being foisted upon our neighbors who we’re commanded to love and children we are to defend, we are seconding evil’s motion.

Compromise and backing away from convictions lead to backsliding individually and liberalism theologically.

Moralistic Therapeutic
When sermons and teaching sound more like therapy sessions, there is a problem.
When messages are devoid of conviction and a call to humble repentance only to be replaced with ways to improve your life or become a better person, your discernment radar should kick in. Don’t be fooled when biblical narratives and feigned exposition are used as backdrops for moralism or the therapeutic. They are not preaching the Bible, they are using it as a prop for a watered down gospel.

It is important to note that the Moralistic Therapeutic is extremely difficult to spot because the language and tone lulls the congregation to sleep. Why? Because in reality, God created us as emotional beings with needs. In addition, Christians desire to be godly and good. A moralistic TED-talk sermon manipulates those desires. Furthermore, everyone struggles with depression, grief, joylessness, trauma, etc to some degree. So, a therapeutic message appeals to people’s emotions. However, when the clear admonition, conviction, and edification of God’s Word is twisted to sound like a TED-talk or self-help book, liberal theology is just below the surface. No one should feel good about their sin. 

Nickels and Noses
When church growth, attendance, and giving become primary drivers of decision-making, the door is wide open for liberal theology. 
When entertaining the goats is more important than the feeding the sheep, there is a problem.
When church resources are diverted away from serving people to funding operations that are geared toward entertainment and marketing strategies, mission drift is occurring. Furthermore, Big Data is big business in the church world today. Christians are being treated like consumers. Who’s responsible for growing Christ’s Church? Man or Jesus Christ?

The congregation is no longer viewed through a theological lens. Instead, the congregation is viewed through an economic and marketing lens. There has been a paradigm shift away from the mission of the church toward pragmatism and franchise-styled thinking. This leads to empire-building, marketing gimmicks, and protecting the institution in order to keep the people and money rolling in. Does this sound like a biblical description of the Body of Christ?

Many pastors don’t speak truth boldly because their customers (I mean) congregations may be offended and leave the church (taking their tithes with them). In these pastors’ minds, it’s better to sooth the congregation’s consciences, tone-down convictions, compromise with the world, avoid controversy and criticism to keep the lukewarm congregation coming back. This results in churches focusing efforts and resources on keeping their customers happy, comfortable, and entertained. The faithful members who are committed to the truth and obeying God’s Word are pushed out for speaking up (labeled as divisive, disloyal, trouble-makers, and distrusting of leadership). Little do these fearful pastors know they are sawing off the branch on which they sit. (See Proverbs 26:27)

I could ramble on, you get the point.

Driving toward solutions – What are we to do?

– Pray.
– Praise God for the Church – the body of Christ.
– Repent of our self-centered idolatry and compromises with the world.
– Return to our first love – Jesus Christ and his holy Word – obey his commands.
– Recover the mission of the church – a community committed to truth (John 8:46-47), a community of love (John 17), and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
– Restore a full-orbed Kingdom vision for our place in God’s world for his glory! (Ephesians 2:10)
– Pray again (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. – Titus 2:1

What about you? What ways do you observe churches ‘going liberal’?

 

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Want to dive deeper? Listen to my interview on ‘Her Faith Inspires’ podcast with Shanda Fulbright. Go to the podcast homepage here…

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Calling the Church to Courage

Christian courage emanates from the heart of Christ who faced the cross for our sakes and His Glory. As long as we have breath in our lungs, we must continue to call the church to courage.

Fear of anything but God is sinful unbelief. “Fear naturally produces cowardice in people… wherever it (fear) prevails, it extinguishes Christian courage and strength.” – John Flavel

As I wrote in December of last year in a post entitled “Deposing the Tyranny of Fear“, fear is a tyrant – a slave-driver’s whip that drives men into traps and bondage. A spirit of fear has enveloped the world (including the church). The church has been slow to awaken to this reality. We are witnessing a growing number pastors and church leaders stand up. But, we must continue to exhort and call the church to courage.

Sirens from the Spirit of the Age have bewitched and lured the captains of the Church into their snares with their beautiful songs. The mighty ships of Christ’s Church have sailed dangerously close to the rocky shores where the Siren’s call. The irresistible melody makes the Christian forget his first love (Christ) and fall in love with the Spirit of the Age (the world). Only when his ship sweeps close to the rocks and his eyes see the terror, will he awaken to his folly. But, fear grips him. Is it too late?

By no means! As long as breath reaches our lungs, we call the church to courage. And this is not just calling to the captains, our dear pastors at the helm. We call each other to greater courage. In order to break through the fog and run-through the spirit of fear with the sword of the spirit, it will require ‘all hands on deck.’ The Church is one body with many parts. Therefore, it will take the full force of the saints in one accord to crush the spirit of fear with robust biblical faith!

If our souls are committed to the care of God, then Christians laugh at threats, cruelties and the spirit of fear and only grows more resolute by them (to paraphrase a witness of the torture of Marcus, bishop of Arethusa).

The Puritan, John Flavel reminds us that over the centuries, “Christians have put their enemies to shame by smiling at their cruelties and threatenings… (this courage is not particular to an age long past) but the same spirit of courage is found among Christians in all ages.” That means, today! S.M. Huchens diagnoses our malady of timidity;

“But the world has turned and a new age is upon us. Anyone who is paying attention to its movements knows that Christians are going to have to decide to think and act like Christians or not—to cause offense by it or not—and to pay what it costs.

 

It is time for those who are called to be pastors in the Church of the next age (for God will not stop calling them) to gird up their loins and put an end to the cowardly dalliances of so many of their predecessors in my generation and the one preceding it, owning the Christian faith to be what it is and no longer advancing the bastard offspring of the Spirit of this Age and those who are afraid to trust God by doing battle with it. The seminaries are by and large emasculating theaters full of large smiles and hollow chests, and there is a terrible dearth of orthodox, learned, and courageous shepherds—men who carry and know how to wield their staffs—but there seems to be no lack of hirelings who run when the wolves appear, making wolf-noises as they leave their flocks in the twilight.

 

Nor do I see how the fight can be fought apart from a new asceticism among all believers, which needs to be intelligently planned—something like what Rod Dreher calls for in The Benedict Option. Not many of the churches of any denomination, as currently constituted, full of the spreading rot, unwilling or unable to fight it, can be expected to cooperate, nor can they be expected as a matter of course to give livings to ministers of a boldly scriptural faith in the face of its enemies. But there are still brethren in the weak and fallen churches—even those that have a name for “orthodoxy,” and ways must be found to not abandon them, but feed and strengthen them for the Last Days.”
S. M. Hutchens

Remember, sinful fear is rooted in unbelief. The remedy is faith and fear of the Lord. “To the extent that our souls are empty of faith, they are filled with fear… The weaker the faith, the greater the fear; unbelief generates fear and fear strengthens unbelief.” – John Flavel

Fear is not the fruit of the spirit.

Christian courage emanates from the heart of Christ who faced the cross for our sake and His Glory.

We dare not fear the death he died for us. Otherwise, the cross is emptied of its power. We dare not commit the sin of fear that drove Adam and Eve into the shrubs of shame. Either we accept Christ’s words as true, “Fear not, for I am with you (until the end of the age)” or we trade the truth for a lie and worship the creature over the Creator. Remember, we worship what we fear. We should fear God only and take courage. Faithful courage in the face of fear glorifies God and courage is contagious!

God Commands and Commends Courage

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

How can you call your fellow Christians to courage today?