05 June 2008


As I watch the PC(USA) increase the speed of its precipitous slide away from Biblical faith and toward the humanist, "it's all about me," "I'll do it my way" orientation of our society, I recognize that such departures are not new.

When I was teaching military law to newly commissioned Lieutenants of Marines, one of the hardest concepts for them to accept was authority. The idea that they could give a Marine an order and he had to obey it was an alien concept in the society from which they came. The second half of the 20th Century was defined, in pertinant part, by a growing sense that "no one can tell me what to do!" Those of us who grew up in the 50s will recall that any Mom or Dad on the block could correct you and your best hope was that would end it. If word got back to your own parents, you got it again. We had no vandalism, no killings, no shootings, because we were taught that there was a "chain of command."

A small group of which I am a member is studying the broad topic of "What is Worship?" We have been reading 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chron 15:1-16:6. In Samuel, David undertakes to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. He does it his way. Rather than having it carried as God had required, he put it in a cart. En route, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled and the cart driver reached out to steady the Ark. He was killed.

David became angry, but also recognized that he had failed to handle the Ark in accordance with God's commands. He then repents and begins to transport the Ark properly. The 1 Chronicles passage reports in detail this part of the journey and all of the minute details of the ceremony.

The lesson about authority is clear. We are called to submit to God's authority because He is God. No other reason. Any thought that we may have that we know a better way is doomed to failure. We obey because in so doing, we are worshipping the power and majesty and grace and magnanimty of God. It is all about Him.

When a denomination decides that its "worship" ought to be of modern trends, or what it thinks is "right," when it ignores God's Word as out-dated or irrelevant to this day and age, favoring its own discernment, it ought not be surprised that it is no longer prospering.


Rev Kim said...

Amen. Well said!

writetools said...

Amen Mac - I asked a mentor the other day, "How do you know when the Hand of God has left a church?" Her reply made me think, and that was "When it is no longer producing fruit." I find myself on the fence with this one. On one hand Paul talks about how the name of the Lord prospers no matter the condidion of the Heart spreading the Good News...but I can't help wonder, how can people not want all that God has for them... how can they censor the deepness of relationship that is availble simply by being willing to walk the road to it... and then I ran into your post. Authority. Giving control and our feeling of our own authority of our lives over to God can be a scary proposition. It makes most unwilling to pursue the hard stuff that would really change their lives, their churches, their worlds. It all comes down to faith doesn't it? Faith that God really exists, that His plan is for us to prosper, and that a life lived under His authority is a blessed one... Lord, help our unbelief.