We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Church Walking With the World

The Church and the World walked far apart
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.
“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”
But the good Church hid her snowy hands
And solemnly answered “Nay,
I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you;
Your way is the way that leads to death;
Your words are all untrue.”

“Nay, walk with me but a little space,”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road, 
And the sun shines always there;
Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain;
The sky to me is always blue,
No want, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark,
Your lot is a lot of woe;
There’s room enough for you and me
To travel side by side.”

Half shyly, the Church approached the World
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the old World grasped it and walked along,
Saying, in accents low,
“Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Rich velvets and silks for your graceful form,
And diamonds to deck your hair.”
The Church looked down at her plain white robes, 
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip
With a smile contemptuous curled.
“I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church, with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away,
And the World gave, in their place,
Beautiful satins and shining silks,
Roses and gems and costly pearls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.

“Your house is to plain,” said the proud old World,
“I’ll build you one like mine;
With walls of marble and towers of gold, 
And furniture ever so fine.”
So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there
Gleaming in purple and gold;
Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the place that was meant for prayer.
There were cushioned seats for the rich and the gay,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
 But the poor who were clad in shabby array, 
Sat meekly down outside.

“You give too much to the poor,” said the World.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If they are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?
Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine;
My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”
So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry;
But she drew her beautiful robes aside, 
As the widows went weeping by.

Then the sons of the World and the sons of the Church
Walked closely hand and heart, 
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
 Could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”
The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside —
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”

The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
And heads were covered with shame;
And a voice was heard at last by the Church
From Him who sat on the throne,
“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
‘I am rich,’ and hast not known
That thou art naked, poor and blind, 
And wretched before my face;
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”

Matilda C. .Edwards
From "The Best Loved Poems of the American People"


Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn, sad but true. I've been pondering lately how the church at large has seemingly gone numb to worldliness in its midst... especially in the area of apparel choices of the younger generations (and unfortunately in some cases, some of the older generations as well...).

For the record, no I am not a "women must wear skirts to the ankle" kind of believer. I am, however, conservative, and do believe modesty is of great import for a Christian. Yet in every church we have attended or visited, my husband and I have seen reason for concern, especially in the youth to college age congregants. We do not believe it is wise nor a good testimony to "push the envelope" in a church, especially not as we try to be salt and light in this country, which is in a moral free fall. Unbelievers need to see a clear difference between the church and the world.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Caroly,

We've never been of the rigid "skirts to the ankle" types either, although my wife has always worn skirts or dresses which at least reached the knees (although as a teen she wore them a bit higher). Our daughter also preferred below the knee.

I think immodesty begins above the knee as it gets higher and higher and leaves less and less to the imagination. But what is even worse is the modern fashion of these pajama-type, very tight whatever they are called which are worn as trousers and look like they are painted on!

Young people in the church can be very immodest in their attire, which only goes to show the lack of teaching on the subject. It is indeed the new fashions which tend to have our young people looking the same as the world, all the while they are supposed to be ambassadors for Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

YES! Exactly! I also wear skirts that touch the knee, so whether I stand or sit, nothing above the knee can be seen. My husband is a wonderful man who cherishes my concern for modesty. The only time I wore anything that "pushed the envelope" was when I was unsaved. Since my salvation, the Holy Spirit has given me a very strong, healthy sense of godly propriety, and for that I thank Him!!!!!

I agree with you, immodesty starts above the knee, and gets especially worse if the skirt is close fitting. I also agree, the very tight pants/jeans are horrible. Yet these are popular amongst Christian teens and college co-eds, to their shame, and to the shame of the church, for not teaching on modesty.

You are absolutely correct, the young people are often very immodest, and look like the world. The worst part is when they are serving in ministry, especially in prominent and public positions, such as the worship team. That is a terrible testimony that brings reproach on Christ.