Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.Galatians chapter 6, verses 7 and 8; from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Recently two banks failed causing Federal officials to take control–Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) (California) and Signature Bank (New York). And maybe you didn’t notice that 2 days before the collapse of SVB that Silvergate Bank (California) had also collapsed. That’s 3 banks in the span of 4 days. Now, answer me this: What do these banks and the decline of some churches have in common? Oh, yes, Billy Bob, there is a common thread.
One might could do a significant amount of eisegesis to determine the commonality and write a book about it. But that would miss the simple but powerful answer. At the risk of sounding like Alex Trebek, I say the common thread is, “What is irresponsibility?” The leadership of these 3 banks ignored what is typically called best practices and the resulting consequence is failure to do what they were intended to do–to provide a secure place for the funds of its depositors. Thus, not living up to and into their designed purpose.
And how does this relate to some churches? Those on the progressive side of the theological spectrum would, and do say that the decline of churches is the direct result of holding onto old fashioned and outdated views on the Bible. If it were Jeopardy, they would say: What is the traditional and orthodox views of unenlightened folks? Imagine, if you would, Alex Trebek saying, I’m sorry. That is not the correct question. The correct question is: “What is irresponsibility?”
While the alleged experts will give a variety of causes for irresponsibility, there is really only a single reason why people and corporations act irresponsibly: It’s the failure to recognize the consequences of our choices and decisions. One of the most basic rules of, call it life, is that you can’t grow watermelons using brussels sprouts–that you can’t plant saw briars and get grapes. Or as Paul put it: You will always harvest what you plant.
Planting a life outside of God’s revealed plan and will (BTW–we call this The Bible) bears with it consequences! I know, I know, no one wants to talk about consequences. But not talking about it doesn’t remove it from the equation of life. Feelings and sincere beliefs will never negate the consequences that comes from forming a life outside of The Bible. Until people accept that there are consequences for their choices and actions, failures will continue to multiply. You just can’t get around it.
Church, our Designed Purpose is to stand out from the world, not to blend into it. The collapsing of some churches is the consequence of being irresponsible to God’s Truth. Just as these 3 banking institutions ignored the consequences of their business decisions, so has declining churches ignored the consequences of trying to blend in with its culture. The times of greatest growth in the history of the church has happened with the church refused to adapt to its culture by standing with what The Bible teaches. And what The Bible teaches is more than true, it’s The Truth! Church, you cannot stand out in the world if you think like the world. To do so is to plant a Pine Tree and expect it to produce pineapples. It just ain’t gonna’ happen.