I’m not opposed to a Royal Commission into institutionalised child sex abuse, though the practicalities look pretty challenging. It could bring out of the closet all manner of criminals who need to be prosecuted. And though it’s painful, it is good that it will reveal the negligence and culpability of supposedly Christian organisations (and others) that have failed to protect children.
What’s been happening? Well, we may find out, soon. What is evident is that Christians have gone AWOL for a long time. A long time ago, we stopped thinking about what it means to be responsible in the care of children. We stopped considering what could occur if individuals were left alone with defenceless people, and now that irresponsibility is going to come back to bite us.
That’s hard, but it’s good. Why is it good? Because “it’s time for judgment to begin with the household of God…” (I Pet.4:17). Abuse of children has been endemic within church circles, and perpetrators haven’t been brought to justice.
But let’s think about it. If we’ve been irresponsible about the legitimate protection of children in our care, what about other issues. What else haven’t we been thinking about?
I think the church is getting a massive wake-up call in all of this. It’s time to start thinking, and especially, to start thinking Biblically, something that’s been absolutely neglected in the modern era.
What does it mean to think Biblically? It means to think like God thinks. It means to ensure that we begin to think along Biblical lines. That takes time. It means putting aside the newspaper (if anyone reads them now) and the TV, and reading the Bible, to find out how God thinks, and to make every effort to emulate Him.
That is something that’s possible. It is something God actually requires of us. It means a Christian education, and I’m not referring to religious activity, unrelated to the Bible.
There is a lot to do. There are a lot of changes to make in how we think, because we’ve gone off -site up till now. We have a job to do, and it is a massive one. Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” (Mat.28:19-20).
Not everything religious is Christian. Sleeping in a garage doesn’t make you a car, and being in church doesn’t make you a Christian. Furthermore, the Bible shows us that the devil knows how to quote the Bible out of context. He tried that little stunt with Jesus (Mat.4:5-6). So we have a lot of sorting out to do separating wheat from chaff, all of which is absolutely necessary.
Fortunately, there are genuine Christian scholars around who will help us think Biblically. Go looking, and you’ll find them. But before you start that process, begin with the Bible itself, which should be every Christian’s text-book, always.
Genesis 1 teaches us a lot. It teaches us that God made everything in six days (v.1). It wasn’t an evolutionary process; Darwin was totally wrong. It also teaches us that God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (v.26).
So, man was created to rule. But to rule according to the Bible, we are to be moral creatures, subject to our Creator. That means learning from Him, and it means obeying Him.
The world began to believe Darwin in the nineteenth century, and in the twentieth century his followers like Stalin, Hitler and Mao mustered enough influence to put in place political policies that showed how destructive his beliefs really could be. More innocent people died in the twentieth century (about 150 million), than in all other centuries combined. Thankyou Mr Darwin.
The great reformers of the church have been teachers. Think of Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Knox. They all recognised that for the church to be all that God wants it to be, people have to be taught. That means doctrine, instruction and growing in understanding. It especially means changing our attitudes about responsibility.
And it means applying what we know from scripture to every aspect of life. It means social reformation (not revolution), and reconstruction. A lot of work and responsibility for Christians, as we pick up tasks we’ve been ignoring for way too long.
Now quite frankly, it’s time for us to grow up. A lot of things have been neglected, and it’s been to our detriment. We look and are considered to be incompetent, because we are; there’s no point in denying it.
Now it’s time to get off our backsides and begin to master a Christian world-view. The world is waiting for it to happen; in fact it’s tearing itself to pieces while it waits for us to find our feet; sleeping church-smashing world.
We haven’t been thinking Biblically, but we can. God requires it of us, as individuals, as families, as churches. Our loss of authority has been commensurate with our loss of a Christian world–view.
Let me give you one good example of what can happen. The Magna Carta was written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who used it to confront King John of England in 1215, saying, effectively, “Sign this, or it’s all over.” John knew the Archbishop had integrity, along with social and political influence, a Biblical world-view, and most of all, authority. He signed.
Find your area of God-ordained activity, the place He has called you to serve Him, and go for it. You can expect to be graced of God, as you do. Yes, it will require time, work, dirty hands and possibly tears, but the outcome could be remarkable. And when the whole church is doing this, we really will see some great things happening, and the world will benefit.