Click to read Ephesians 6:10-18
| Print |
We recommend "Landscape" print layout.


Keep the Status Quo Witness and There Will Not be “Years for Celebration”


By Carman Bradley

On Saturday, January 8, 2005, the day of the National Prayer Launch, the Ottawa Citizen carried an article titled “National church campaign aims to remind Christians they 'follow Christ': Get out of pews and into community.”[i] The article reads:

Celebration 2005, a national campaign to get Christians out of their pews and into the community, will be launched in Ottawa today. ‘We get so caught up in churchianity, that we forget the reason why we follow Christ. We never pray enough or help enough,’ says David Macfarlane, the co-ordinator of the campaign. Today's event begins at Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Cooper Street, with workshops and a prayer concert, and will end on Parliament Hill with prayers starting at 5 p.m. for the victims of the tsunamis in South Asia. At 5.30 p.m., the Peace Tower's bells will ring for two minutes.  The main Celebration 2005 events will take place over three weeks, beginning May 14, and will include concerts by Christian artists and, more important, an outreach to communities across the country. Mr. Macfarlane, the Evangelical Fellowship's director of national initiatives, says what moved him to spur churches to make a difference in their communities was HOOPS, a simple project in London and Manchester, England.  Churches there organized basketball tournaments for youths, and after 18 months, London police gave the project credit for a 48-per-cent drop in juvenile crime. Similar results were recorded in Rexdale, a multicultural neighborhood in Toronto, when churches organized their own HOOPS tournaments. He said ‘another shining model is La Nouvelle Vie in Montreal. It has a congregation of 2,500 francophones and they help young mothers and run an incredible food bank. They expected to feed 3,000 at Christmas, and the budget they raised was $3 million.’  ‘We hope Celebration 2005 will be a catalyst to draw people together in new and different ways, and will have local, national and regional impact,’ says Mr. Macfarlane. ‘If it wakes up a percentage of Christians to the needs of the poor, it will be worth it. And it's not just for the down-and-out. All of us need friends and a sense of community.’  Mr. Macfarlane hopes that churches will help fill not only food banks, but also hold block parties with balloons and face-painting. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada hopes to sign up 2,000 churches across the country, and draw many of them together in good works in their communities. Calgary's Centre Street Church is planning to break the record for the most food ever donated to the city's Interfaith Food Bank. Twelve other Calgary churches plan to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity.” [my underline]

Praise God for Celebration 2005.  Who can be against a national church campaign that “aims to remind Christians they 'follow Christ'” and to “Get out of pews and into community.”  However, if we are to celebrate more than a momentary reduction in hunger and a temporary reduction in the crime rate, we will have to change our witness.  The status quo influence of Christendom is clearly not working.  The nation is continuously moving away from God’s will.  And no amount of charity; no amount of applied works or social gospel can overcome the impact of God turning His face away.  And how can we regain His blessings?  The number one focus of Canadian Christians, in accordance with “following Christ,” must be to evangelize the nation with the authentic Gospel.  God assuredly wants to respond favorably to our prayers and to heal this nation; but we have to first show repentance for passive acceptance of religious liberalism and for our association with those who proselytize a reimaged Christ.  Yes, we have to demonstrate our obedience and get out of our comfortable pews.  Christ’s Gospel is not a social gospel, it is a Gospel of repentance, redemption and freedom in obedience, which subsequently manifests itself in concern for one’s neighbor.  Our state’s declaration of indifference to homosexuality will not, as the United Church implies, bring God’s joyous blessing upon this nation.  And no amount of interfaith food bank donations will undo the damage of Him withholding His favour.  God will not be mocked:

Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.  He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him (John 14:21).

O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink? Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6: 31-33).

If Canadian Christendom is to have something to “celebrate” in the future, a tremendous outpouring of repentance and brokenness will likely precede it.  The status quo witness of Canadian Christendom is not a good enough stand for God.

[i] Bob Harvey, The Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 2005, Section: City, p.E7.