When the Conviction is Gone


Revelation 12:11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Francis Schaeffer was an Evangelical theologian and thinker who, for decades before his death in 1984, talked about major issues facing the Church in his day, and then looked ahead to what we would face in the years to come. He was an American Evangelical theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is best known for establishing the L'Abri (French for 'the shelter') Community in Switzerland. Opposed to theological modernism, Schaeffer promoted a more historic Protestant Faith and a presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics, which he believed would answer the questions of the age.

Here are a few of those themes that are talked about and was concerned about in Evangelical circles and recently published in a book called ‘The Great Evangelical Disaster.’

1. Growing Relativism. It was no longer God setting the Rules, it was humankind determining what was good or bad.

2. Lack of Discipline within the Church and downplaying Christian doctrine (absolutes).

3. Compromise taking a stand for Truth. Truth carries confrontation with it, and our reflex is accommodation.

4. Social work which replaces the Gospel with a kingdom of socialism that like of Karl Marx rather than the Gospel of Forgiveness of Sins in Jesus Christ.

5. The Temptation of Ecumenism which is unity with the wrong emphasis of no theological conviction.

6. Abortion and no respect for human life.

7. Liberalism leaving the Church devoid of Spiritual Power.

8. Hedonism revolving around the idea of human happiness.

9. The Loss of Propositional Revelation that God speaks to us through His Word.

10. The Inerrant Scriptures that will be questioned.

Francis Schaeffer was a man ahead of his time, and certainly gave us some insight into where the world was going in postmodernism and how it would affect the Church. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why so many Voices in the Church have lowered their Standards on things like Personal Sacrifice, Confrontation, Conviction on Morality, the Judgment of God, and compromising God’s Word in light of cultural relevancy.

I have always said that the Church is the only institution in society that is the conscience of society. The Church must be a Confrontational Voice of Conviction and have the Courage to Stand without compromise for what God Teaches us. Few of us in the Church know the Ten Commandments by heart, let alone knowing where to find them in Scripture. A few months ago, I stated that I think we should resurrect the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ emphasis we had in the Church a century ago. We have moved beyond those days because no one likes to be intimidated by the fear of Hell. Of course, I would ask, “why not?” If Hell is real, and if seven in ten Evangelical Christians believe that to be the case, why is Hell avoided in our circles of discussion? I feel that, in time, if we do not incorporate these themes into our teaching, we will lose the reminder of what is at stake in rejecting the Gospel. We lose the emphasis on Salvation, Witnessing, Holiness, and understanding that Eternity is Forever.

We ultimately lose the reason the Church exists. We are not an institution of Good Works, even though we draw attention to our Message by our Works, we are called to be the Moral and Spiritual Voice of God on earth through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That means we teach about what is Moral and what is not. We teach about what is Spiritual and what is not. We go out on a limb repeatedly to call society into account for its Evil intentions of corrupting young minds and hearts.

Now, that sounds like Fire and Brimstone to me. Yet, we do not want to make people uncomfortable. We need their support, we need their bodies sitting in the pew, and we need their money to support the work of the Church. No pastor or Christian leader will be as honest as they would like to be, and do you know why? We are confused! Francis Schaeffer laid it out perfectly. We are more culturally connected than we are Biblically connected. We have been intimidated by people, their needs, their worldviews, and our need to walk carefully between the aisles of contemporary thought. We have become the Laodicean Church:

Revelation 3 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Do you think we have moved beyond this description today in the Church? We have had over 2000 years to perfect our ministries since this was written, and I wonder if we are any different? If you are honest, I think you would have to admit we are guilty of being less convicted about Spiritual things and we are full of compromise. Thank you, Francis Schaeffer, for calling it to our attention.

I have presented the issue. Now what? As always, God doesn’t want to leave us the same as we came. His advice would start by quarantining yourself away with a Bible, a notebook to read, Pray, write, Repent, and ultimately walk away with a new Commitment to God. A Commitment based upon the Foundation of ‘No Compromise.’

We need to become like King Josiah. Notice this Verse and memorize its reference because you may need to go back to it several times to remember what it takes to change:

2 Kings 23:3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD’s presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

Keeping Life Honest and Truthful … Larry Kutzler

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