State of The Church

By Luther Blackmon

I listened the other night to the president’s “State of the Union Message.” As a citizen I am understandably concerned about the state of the Union. But I am more concerned about the state of the church. Earthly governments come and go. No matter how. long it may stand, this .nation of ours must finally yield to the inexorable demands of time and human imperfections. During World War II, I heard a British sailor say, when asked for his opinion on the outcome of the war, “there will always be an England.” But he was mistaken. The great empire on which “the sun never sets,” along with the United States, the richest and most powerful single nation on earth, must finally share the destiny of such nations as ancient Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and Rome. They will pass into oblivion and become nothing more than names in history. But the church is here to stay.

A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Moved

From such passages as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:15 we know that there will be Christians living on the earth when the Lord comes. The writer of the Hebrew letter says we have received a kingdom “which can not be moved” (Heb. 12:28). Whatever benefits earthly governments maybe able to bestow, whether lucrative positions or pauper’s pensions, they are necessarily temporal and confined to this world. My mother was receiving an old age assistance check each month when it became my sad duty to inform the proper authorities that she had passed from this life. No more checks came. She had passed beyond the reach of any earthly government to either help or harm. But the “kingdom which cannot be moved” knows no such boundary as death. “Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom. 14:8)

In view of these well known facts, it would seem that members of the church would be more interested in prayer than in politics; more concerned about truth than taxes. But such is not always the case. A sizeable crowd of church members I have known are more concerned about liberalism in the government than they are about liberalism in the church. They will fight about their politics, but they couldn’t care less about the error and apostasy that threatens the church. They can get as mean as an acre of snakes with a fellow who disagrees with their political philosophy, but with teachers of error in the Lord’s church, they are as gentle as an Autumn breeze.

We need to be concerned about the church in every place, from the largest churches in the largest cities to the tiny struggling group in the far7flung reaches of civilization. Our first consideration should be, of course, to the congregation of. which we are a part. And this concern should be positive as well as negative. We don’t build and strengthen churches by merely fighting error. Truth has a positive side. You don’t grow a garden by merely keeping down the weeds. The seed must be planted and the growth cultivated. The Word of God is the seed of the kingdom. Let us see that it is planted and nurtured, and God will’ give the harvest.

(Feb. 7, 1965)

Truth Magazine, XVIII:32, p. 2
June 13, 1974