Throwing Down the Gauntlet
A new video titled “Wake Up Church!” posted on YouTube June 26 (below the cut) is provoking strong responses from America's evangelical congregations. It's not hard to see why: It is nothing more and nothing less than an in-your-face call for America's best, gospel-centered, Bible-believing churches to repent. That's right: for America's best, gospel-centered, Bible-believing churches to repent.
Many will find that a strange and seemingly contradictory juxtaposition. They are precisely the ones who need to watch the video.
For, as I've strenuously argued, part of the reason -- a large part -- that abortion and a culture of death predominate and persist in America is that America's best, gospel-centered, Bible-believing churches, for all that they are doing right, are not doing the most important thing.
They are neglecting the weightier matters of the law. They are attending to the Great Commission, but failing at the Greater Commission. They are speaking with the tongues of men and angels, but they are not practicing love for “the least of these.” They are industrious regarding the churchy work of “ministry,” consisting chiefly of worship and dispensing the Word, but they are “passing by on the other side” of those abandoned to death in America’s abortion clinics. They are pro-life almost entirely in name and belief only, and as the video rightly notes, this deedless “pro-life” posture amounts exactly to faith without works. Just like the church in Sardis, they have a name that they are alive, but they are dead. And just like that church, they need to repent (see Revelation 3:1-3).
Those familiar with my own numerous appeals along these lines will understand my enthusiasm over this historic video. A year has passed since I wrote my own Open Letter to Evangelical Pastors in America. I sought there, with a “soft word” as it were, to “break the bone.” But responses from pastors and church leaders were scant and defensive. It was, and is, hard to conclude that this signified anything other than the desire to avoid confrontation. It is time, indeed woefully past time, for the gauntlet to be thrown on this matter. And at last it has been.
I salute the doughty group, Abolish Human Abortion, that produced the video, for their brave and balanced treatment, and I wish them, literally, godspeed with the Church Repent initiative that this video spearheads.
I intend to follow up as various church leaders react formally to what is arguably the biggest challenge of our generation regarding the legitimacy of status quo evangelicalism. As always, I welcome your comments on this critically important issue, and will do my best to respond to them.
Stay tuned. This promises to be a lively conversation.