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Where is The Church?


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“Our Christian habit is to bewail the world’s deteriorating standards with an air of rather self-righteous dismay. We criticize its violence, dishonesty, immorality, disregard for human life, and materialistic greed. ‘The world is going down the drain,’ we say with a shrug. But whose fault is it? Who is to blame?”

“Let me put it like this. If the house is dark when night fall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house, for that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is ‘Where is the light?’

“If the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no sense blaming the meat, for that is what happens when bacteria are left alone to breed. The question to ask is ‘Where is the salt?’”

“Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline, till it becomes like a dark night or stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society, for that is what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked.”

“The question to ask is ‘Where is the church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?’”

“It is sheer hypocrisy on our part to raise our eyebrows, shrug our shoulders or wring our hands. The Lord Jesus told us to be the world’s salt and light. If, therefore, darkness and rottenness abound, it is our fault and we must accept the blame.”

John Stott

5 Comments

  1. Chris says

    I disagree with this statement: “If, therefore, darkness and rottenness abound, it is our fault and we must accept the blame.”

    It’s not the fault of God’s people that sin is abounding in the world. Yeshua said it would be this way (see Matthew 24:12). The wicked are perishing in their sins by choice. Granted, we need to do out part to be the salt and light, but it’s not our role to force people to believe the gospel. There is a such thing as “free will;” it’s not the church’s fault that people choose to exercise their will away from God. We are not to blame for the sins of others.

    • Those are fair points you have made. However, I don’t think the author (John Stott) was trying to blame the church for the sins of others. Rather, he was giving the church the responsibility for the environment. In other words, while (as you rightly said) the church can’t force anyone to accept the light, the world around also cannot stop Christians from shining the light of Jesus Christ, only we (Christians) can. For example, the message of the Gospel (The Light) was so obnoxious to the Roman government that they put Christians to death so as not to hear it. Clearly, Believers in the early Church were not responsible for the “sins of the Roman government”, but they were responsible for being lamps… which they did.

      Therefore, the tragedy of the modern church (in the western world) is the absence of persecution. We suffer no persecution because our lives and our message do not challenge the society around us. For the most part, our lives are not discernably different from the lives of non-Christians; that is, besides the cosmetics of church attendance. Whenever we start to live as Jesus did, as the apostles and the early Church community did, then i believe it will be such an affront to the world around us that they will either kill/persecute us or accept the gospel.

      Thanks for sharing your insights, Chris. Though we might not agree on everything, let us keep encouraging each other in Christ, my brother.

      God Bless!

  2. Fotograf says

    Location of the church: Volča, near Škofja Loka in Slovenia.

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