It would be idle to speculate what terrible new order today’s trendy clerics and faithless Christian activists are greasing the slipway for. But we need not wait for the outcome. The truth is that the greatest enemy of the Western church is not the state or any ideology such as atheism, but the world and the spirit of the age. Anything less than a full-blooded expression of the Christian faith ahs no chance of standing firm against the assaults and seductions of the advanced modern world.
So when the church becomes worldly, she betrays her Lord, and she also fails to live up to her calling to be dangerously different and thus to provide deliverance from the world by a power that is not of the world. When ‘saving us from ourselves’ has become the widespread problem of the advanced modern world, the worldly church has no supernatural salvation to offer and stands in shame and as desperately needing saving herself.
But that is not the end of it. The worldly church is not only corrupt but cowardly, for much contemporary worldliness is a voluntary capitulation to the spirit and system of the age. There are times when the powers of the age openly seek to seduce the church or brutally subjugate her to their own purposes. That can be bad enough, as witnessed by the widespread compromise of Russian Orthodoxy under Stalin or Lutheranism under Hitler. But the contemporary worldliness of parts of the Western church, as exemplified differently by the extremes of either the Episcopal Church in America or the emergent Evangelicals, is in one sense worse.
As Jesus said, ‘You will know them by their fruit.’ Just wait long enough for their ideas to ripen, and in case after case it turns out that the much-trumpeted ‘new kind of Christianity for a new world’ turns out to be the old kind of compromise and heresy. Such worldliness is inexcusable because it is self-chosen, naively and brethlessly self-chosen, and in many cases foolish beyond all comprehension.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54002