Sleepers Awake: Two

Sometimes it is eerie silence that calls someone out of deep sleep. No birds, no wind,  no whispered conversations from another room. Silence itself can be a warning that things are worse than you knew. Here it is, 2019, fully two months since the “United” “Church” of Canada, through Toronto Conference, refused to discipline an “Ordained” “Minister” for proclaiming atheism in the place of faith. Go to West Hill “United” “Church” and you will hear the sounds of silence: no Scripture, no hymns, no prayers.

 

And through the nation, in the dark night of Canada’s largest denomination, “no creature is stirring, not even a mouse.” It has been Christmas after all. We’ve been busy shopping, wrapping presents, decorating trees.  We’ve been busy preparing Christmas sermons, telling everyone that all is well, nothing shall disturb our “long winter’s nap.”

The only sound I hear is the shushing of dissent. “Don’t rock the boat,” “ride this one out,” and “The best thing we can do is ignore the problem.” Nevermind the quiet plea embedded in the letters of resignation as faithful members leave our pews for churches down the street.

Has the silence woken you yet? Have you realized that the strategy of waiting for problems to go away has never worked? “The only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.”

Ordination is a national certification for ministry. This is not a West Hill problem. This is not a Toronto problem. It is a national problem. Even now, congregational Search Committees that are paying attention can see that ordination is broken. Gretta Vosper is the tip of an iceberg. Ask any applicant if they believe that God’s only begotten Son, Jesus, died for their sins, and rose from the dead. Do they believe that “the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testament are given by God as the only infallible guide to faith and life”? Inquire of these “ordained” or “commissioned”  “ministers” what they mean by essential agreement with the Basis of Union. In one search, a committee member found that 3 of 4 applicants who made it to the interview stage had twisted “essential agreement” to mean fundamental disagreement. Ordaining an atheist is, I hope, still unusual, but if we can not correct that error, can we correct any?

And still silence. I see seminary professors urging calm, National voices saying nothing is wrong, and Godly ministers afraid to speak, turning to the familiar tasks of damage control and regular services.

So a loud blaring alarm has not woken the church. The eerie silence has not done the job.

What if a still small voice, should whisper, “I have great plans for you today! Wait till you see what we can do!”?

It’s a beautiful day, the Son is up! There are adventures to be had!

Over night, lawlessness has been at work, a dragon burning down what has taken millenia to build. The townsfolk are confused and dismayed, but you have been called and equipped with everything you need for faithful success.

Yes, lawlessness has been at work, opposing and and exalting itself over everything that is called God or worshipped, and has even set itself up in the temple: but there is one holding it back, who will continue to do so. And when he is taken away and the Lawless One is revealed, the Lord Jesus will overthrow this dragon with the breath of His mouth, and destroy by the Splendour of His coming.

In the midst of this struggle is the church- a people loved, chosen, called and sanctified by God to rescue the perishing - loved by God, but not yet called, not yet filled with peace through knowledge of their Saviour, Jesus, the Conqueror.

You are the church, if you welcome Jesus as Lord and Saviour, yet the church itself must guard itself against false prophets and teachers. The Salt of the world must not lose its saltiness!

You have been called, chosen and sanctified for this day, you have been woken for this dawn- to speak against the sounds of silence, to renew the church, to rescue the perishing.

“He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

 

Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”  2 Thessalonians 2:1–18 (NIV84)