Currently in our culture there is a great debate going on about gun control and the right to bear arms. In this post, I will not break down the biblical position, but I will link in this excellent article by Patrick Wyett. In this post I want to specifically look at some individuals who acted cowardly during the Parkland shooting and draw a hard comparison to the current culture of the American church. Seventeen people died in this shooting: it was a horrible tragedy, but there are lessons that we can learn from it.
First, I would like to point out Scot Peterson, the deputy who waited four minutes before going into the school. Four minutes may not sound like much time, but the entire shooting only lasted six minutes, he waited until the shooting was two-thirds done before he did his job! This, quite frankly, was an absolute cowardly act. He had one job and he failed to accomplish it! Many people may point out that I would do no different, and though I would personally disagree with them, my defense is that I did not sign up to do that job, Scot Peterson did. The second coward I would like to point out is Scott Israel, who in this interview, stated that he would not take responsibility for anything that happened during the Parkland shooting. Frankly, being the sheriff and being the leader of how the authorities responded, he must take responsibility. There are two cowardly traits that we can draw from these two men: the first is a refusal to enter the heat of the battle and the second is not taking responsibility for what has been given to your care.
It is in these two principles of cowardliness, though, that I, unfortunately, see the American church. The first is a refusal to enter the battle. There are many churches, pastors, and Christians, who simply will not stand against evil. Many would claim that they are in the right because they have done nothing wrong, the problem is that God disagrees with them. In James 4:17 it states “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” We can clearly see that when the right is presented and we do not do it, it is a sin, even if we “avoid” to do wrong. The vast majority Christians today do not stand against abortion, homosexuality, or illegal immigration (Russell Moore goes as far to call Jesus an “illegal immigrant”). Of course, these three issues attack our families (homosexuality), God-given authority in a government that upholds the law (illegal immigration), and our future (abortion).
If Christians cannot stand for these three things, then my question is, “what will Christians stand for?” Unfortunately, the answer is nothing of eternal or moral value! Sure, Christians will gather together to feed the hungry but will leave the gospel out, making an unsaved man have a full belly on his way to Hell or they will donate to cancer research, but not share the gospel, and possibly allow people to merely go to Hell cancer free. Giving food to the hungry or money to research is a good thing, but it is not the best thing, nor does it touch on our real battle which is not against flesh and blood.
The second principle of cowardliness is not taking responsibility for what has been given to your care. This was displayed in great depth by Sheriff Scott Israel. The American church is also a master of this cowardly trait. For a couple of generations now our families have been falling apart, our youth have been walking away from the church, and our culture has become more sinful. Who should be taking responsibility? Undoubtedly, there is always a personal responsibility for those who walk away from the church, are destructive to their own home, and further the sin in our culture, but there is also blame to put on the past two generations of pastors and parents. This does not mean every pastor and parent were a failure, but there were an awful lot of them that have been. Now is the time when we need to shine the light of responsibility upon the generation of Christian leaders who have gone before us and call them to repentance. Why were they not active in investing the word of God to the generation that came after them? Why did they not fight the small cultural fights of sin? Why have they not stepped up in humility to own their sins, and stand against the sin that now defines our culture?
Just as with the Parkland shooting we cannot change the past, but we can impact the future, but we must cut ties with these traits of cowardliness. I am calling on Christians to do two things: 1. Get in the battle. Stand against sin, do not vote for the lesser of two evils, let your representatives know what you stand for and that you will vote against them if they do not stand for the same principles. 2. If you are a Christian leader who has failed, I urge you to humbly repent and ask for forgiveness. As long as you are on this earth it is not too late to repent, this will not only make an immediate impact, it will show the next generation of church leaders how to biblically deal with their short-comings and sin. We have a choice, will we bravely fight for Christ, or will we be cowards and let countless march to Hell on our watch?
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