This world is descending quickly; further and further into the abyss of chaos and destruction. It doesn’t seem to me, that what counts as Christianity today, in our Western enclaves of evangelicalism, has the capacity to cope with what’s going on anymore. It has lost any fortitude to stand in the power of God in Christ just as it has traded its birthright, won by the person and work of Christ, for the pottage of slop that the world has offered it in exchange. The pottage is filled with a God who looks nothing like the One we see in Jesus Christ, instead it looks like the person we stare at in the mirror every morning we wake up.
I was just involved in a thread yesterday, on Facebook, where I was ruthlessly belittled and vitriolically attacked simply because I offered an alternative position to the one that was being advocated for via satire. The audience in this group of people are largely “conservative evangelicals,” and yet their ‘love has grown very cold’; if in fact they’ve ever had that love. So, that’s one thing, but on the other hand we just are waking up to the horrific reality of the mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shooter is a self-proclaimed eco-fascist who would like nothing more, but to start a race and arms civil-war in the United States (thus triggering a global conflict); with the goal of thrusting us further into the cesspool this world currently lives in, even if it attempts to gloss it over through the various idolatrous facades we have available to us.
As you might be able to tell I am rather agitated. I am at a total loss. I am fully disillusioned by not only the chaos currently present in the world system, but in the chaos that is present in the evangelical churches. People are not being taught Christ and Him crucified; they are not being taught that Jesus is LORD, that Jesus is Lord and they are not! People have no fortification in themselves, because they seemingly are not being taught that God in Christ, the One who alone has an indestructible Life, is the esse or source of their life; and thus they simply cave into the most primal instincts of their fallen nature as they require resource to face the evil in the world out there; and the evil ‘in there,’ in their hearts. The Church is seemingly in full-on idolatry mode and have fallen for their fallen-selves rather than the One who has raised them from the dead in His new humanity. If Christians don’t know this, how are they to live this; how are they to be salt and light in a world that is in a flaming relationship with the devil himself? Christians, in the main, just as anyone, experience the fall-out that is currently ravaging this world; but if they cannot recognize the Shepherd’s voice among the many hirelings, then all they will really have left is their own voice who they will and do mistake for the Shepherd’s.
I am thoroughly agitated at the moment; and for good reason! Jesus say’s in Luke ‘will I really find faith on the earth when I return?’ Probably not. It doesn’t seem as if people understand that their voices only matter insofar as they are bearing witness to the reality of the living Savior; social media has falsely inflated the importance of all our voices. We have no voice without Christ’s! This is what Barth so eloquently fleshes out for us as he talks about the reality of the Church, and our reality in it; in Christ. He writes:
A second meaning of the description of the Church as Christ’s body is undoubtedly this: that the repetition of the incarnation of the Word of God in the historical existence of the Church excludes at once any possible autonomy in that existence. The Church lives with Christ as the body with its head. This means that the Church is what it is, because in consequence of what human nature and kind became in Jesus Christ, human nature and kind are made obedient to the eternal Word of the Father and are upheld by that Word. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (fellowship) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 10.16f)? In and by this participation the Church lives. It lives by the fact that within it as the circumference nothing happens except a real repetition of what has happened in its midst, in Jesus Christ, to men and for men. It lives by growing up to him who is the head, Christ (Eph. 4.15), i.e. by receiving its whole existence, comfort and direction from Him and only from Him. He is always the subject of the Church. “What believest thou concerning the holy, universal, Christian Church? That the Son of God out of the whole human race gathereth, guardeth and sustaineth for himself an unworldly Church unto eternal life, by his spirit and word in unity with true faith from the beginning of the world unto the end, and that I am and shall eternally remain a living member of the same” (Heid. Cat. qu. 54). Our Lord Jesus Christ does not give us some instructions, like some-one teaching the alphabet to a child, and then gives him to a more excellent teacher. Our Lord does not speak to us in half-measures, but in complete perfection, such that both in life and death, he makes us persist in that which we have from Him, and to renounce that which comes from men. For there is no mixing without corruption . . . It is necessary that the Church be fortified such that Jesus Christ our head always has preeminence. For one wished to exalt men that Jesus Christ was thereby obscured, that would be a fearful construction, and which would bring only ruin and confusion. And in fact, if a man were to become as large as a pillar in this temple, and his head was like a fist, and it was concealed within his shoulders, that would be a monster. It would be much better that he keep the measure common to all (Calvin, Serm. on Gal. 1.11f, 1557; C. R. Calv. 50, 329 f.). “Asketh thou what the Christian Church thou must seek, not that it lie at Rome or at St. James or at Nuremberg or at Wittenberg or among countryfolk, townsfolk or nobility, but it saith, ‘the government shall be upon His shoulders’ … that a right Christian and true member of the Churches is he who believeth that he sitteth upon Christ’s shoulders, that is, that all his sins are hung on Christ’s neck, so that his heart saith, I known no other comfort save that all my sins and misdeeds are laid upon His shoulders. Therefore those who lie on Christ’s shoulders and let themselves be carried by Him, are called and are the Church and proper Christians” (Luther, Pred. üb. Jes. 9. 1 f., 1532. E.A. 6, 59 f.). Therefore, the right order of confession requires that the Church be subordinated to the Trinity, just as a house is to its dweller and the temple to God and state to its founder . . . Therefore neither the whole, nor any part of it should wish to be worshipped instead of God, nor should anything be God which belongs to the temple of God which was built by the gods, which the unmade God made (Augustine, Enchir. 56).
If the Church, and its individual members (I Cor. 12.27) cannot come to terms with the reality that Jesus is Lord, and they are not, then we can count on our ‘love growing cold’ to the point that we seemingly are starting to see in our social-media culture. If Jesus were to come right now (please, Lord!), would He really find faith in His churches? In my experience the answer, in the main, is a resounding NO!
If Christians don’t realize that the source of their life is Christ, then how are they supposed to bear witness to this reality in the world; or even in the Church at large? The love of many has grown cold indeed. People have conflated the simplicity of the true Christ with a different Jesus (II Cor. 11) and called Him Lord. There is no love available there; only self-aggrandizement and the exaltation of the naveled-self as Lord. There is no power for “Christians” living under these sorts of anti-Christ terms, and as such there is no light to shed on the darkness we are plunging further and further into each day. The Church is to have a leavening effect on the culture; in this world system. It cannot nor will not till it starts to live in repentant-living; she isn’t, and probably won’t unfortunately. There is a corresponding relationship between the love of many growing cold, and the darkness we see on the rise as a result.
Pastors are responsible for proclaiming Christ and Him crucified to their congregants; this is a weighty responsibility for which there is stricter judgment coming. Pastors, and those of us who ‘teach,’ are responsible before God for the souls of those under our care. There is a general failure underway, especially in the evangelical churches, such that any ‘power of God’ we might participate in and with through Christ is absent. The absence of power in the Churches to live holy and bold lives before God in Christ, are directly corollary with our unwillingness to recognize that Jesus is Lord; in our unwillingness to live in obedience to Him.
My experience yesterday on Facebook, and now this shooting in New Zealand (not equating them, per se) has only illustrated to me once more how urgent things are! There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency among the people of God. The churches seem to be stagnating with no real power in the world at large; or even in their own homes and personal lives. There seems to be a lack of living into and for the ‘Great Commission’ that our Lord has commanded we follow Him in as He seeks to save the least and the lost. Lord! Maranatha
 Barth, CD I/2 §16, 14-5 [italics mine — these are the Latin phrases in their English translation].