HAS THE CHURCH MISSED THE MARK?
By A YOUNG CHRISTIAN*
[* This article by an unnamed young believer in The British Weekly (Aug. 11, 1949) is most refreshing, as proving that there are golden young hearts which will stand for Godís truth in the coming world crisis‑ED. DAWN.]
The Church, so Iím told, has failed in its purpose.† I am not in favour of the past tense. †Rather I would say, it is failing. †Why is this ?
Paul, you will remember, spoke of ďpressing toward the mark of my high calling.Ē †If we, members of the twentieth-century Church, are honestly trying to follow Christ, Paulís high calling must be ours and therefore the Churchís also.
The Church, in its infancy, was merely a band (a large one, I grant you) of men and women who loved Christ more than life itself, and sought to be like Him. †They wanted to do (and did) the things that He had done. They ďwent about doing good.Ē †They told others about Him, about His love, His death and, most important of all, the glorious news of His resurrection.
The Church has travelled a long and a painful way since then. †But it turned the world upside down! †Not even the imperial Roman eagle could stop its advance. †Men lived gloriously and died singing, for its sake, why? What was its attraction? †Because it proclaimed good news of a Loving Father Who wanted all men to be His sons. †It proclaimed victory over death and a new way of life. †A way of Love, and Mercy in a world of barbarity. †Who, but the mean heart, could help being attracted to it? †This glorious creation survives among us - as a rather special social club.
A Church I know is described as Ďactive,í and has, for these days a fairly large following. †It has a good dramatic society, a fairly good concert party, but Iím afraid there is little emphasis in that Church on the Divine Destiny of Man. †It isnít an unusual case.
Donít you think we are being rather paltry? †Arenít we missing the mark of our high calling? †The Church should be demonstrating a Way of Life, not seeking merely to entertain. †In our anxiety to ďpopulariseĒ Church-going we have employed quite a number of the devices of secular entertainment. †Unfortunately, instead of the Church converting them to its own use, as it might have done, they have converted the Church.
We have well-run socials full (usually?) of good fellowship, concerts by the score, sewing parties (excellent things for a purpose), but do we care a jot about the spread of the Kingdom? †Do we mind that the Church is missing the mark? †That the world counts it a failure?
We are meeting expenses, you say. †Excellent! †We are keeping our doors open. †Fine! †Splendid work, but what about the mark? †What is the mark? †Letís examine it again incase we have forgotten.
The Church was surely intended to exist as the Body of Christ on earth. †His Hands, with which to ďdo good,Ē His Voice to teach the way of Love and Mercy. †His Voice telling Men the startling, thrilling news that they are ďcalled to be sons of God.Ē †Itís a frightening thought that every time we do something we hope no one has seen; every time we ďput upĒ with something we ought to ďput right,Ē we are betraying Christ as surely as Judas did and with less excuse. †We have had nearly two thousand years in which to get things into their right perspective. †Itís no use each of us saying, ďWell! †Why look at me? †What can I do? †What about the others?Ē Never mind the others. †We must get ourselves right first. †Ask God to help you remember that you are Christís Hands His Feet, His Voice. †Remember that by what you do and say, the Church is judged. †It is the responsibility of each member to assist the Church to leave behind its social club days and become once again the Messenger of God, pressing toward the mark.