01 November 2006

Why I blog

by Frank Turk

There's a reason for everything, and for me, there is a reason to blog. And while many of you may not understand this, it's not for the jokes.

Read this, and then ask yourself: "Is America a Christian nation?"

If your answer is, "yes", we are the sorriest Christian nation in all of time and space to date -- and in that mix I would include the Spain which produced the Spanish inquisition. If we can read this poll and not say anything at all about the Gospel or God, we are not ourselves worthy to call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ.

If your answer is, "no", go back to your blog, or your break room, or your church especially and do something about it. If your knee-jerk reaction is, "we better get out and vote next Tuesday," that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Voting is not going to fix a problem like the one at that link: the Gospel is the only thing which can fix a problem like that. But how can people call for help if they don't know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven't heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?

This is the mission field, dear readers. This is it. You're standing in it. And that smell you smell? It's a farm smell -- one which city-folk don't really understand, but you will learn to love it. It's the smell of rich soil in which to plant the seeds. Civilized and tame folk think it's an obscene smell, but those who are really ready to plant seeds and then care for them until they are grown to bear fruit -- to them that's the smell of a future and abundant crop.

The reason I blog is that I have recognized that smell, and rather than turn my nose up at it, I have come with a bag of seeds for it. This is God's field, and there are no where near enough workmen.

I blog to get after the Gospel -- the whole-acre, black-soil, dirty-handed Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your field may be in a different place, but wherever it is, put your hand to the plow and do not turn away from it.








P.S. -- the T-Shirt context is *closed*, and I'll post results for it later today -- the detailed tabulation. :-)


31 comments:

Naomi F. said...

Amen, Frank.

Evan said...

Thanks for the exhortation.

Frank Martens said...

Huh, that's interesting. I sounded off something similar yesterday on my blog.

Lee Shelton said...

Great post. Imagine what would happen if more Christians focused on the Gospel instead of trying to guilt the rest of us into voting for a particular party or candidate.

Carla said...

Several years ago, I was having a discussion with a friend when the topic turned to the gospel & politics. Since she was a dear Christian sister and friend, I assumed it was safe territory. Hoooboy, was I ever wrong.

She said "you know that the US is truly a Christian nation". A line from the movie Forrest Gump flew out of my mouth faster than I could stop it:

"Are ya crazy, or just plain stupid?"

I laughed and told her I was just joking, but she didn't think I was funny. She was dead serious. We then discussed the state of morality and understanding of the gospel in America, and how "Christian" this nation really is. She never did admit that we do not live in a Christian nation, even after agreeing that these times we live in, in our country (yes I know I'm in Canada, but I'm an American so I can say this) are very dark times, as far as understanding what a Christian really is.

This quote here is astounding:

"Among the various religious groups, 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics and 30 percent of Jews said they are "absolutely certain" there is a God while 93 percent of Christians who describe themselves as "Born Again" feel certain God exists."

If I've done my math right, this says:

23% of Protestants are not absolutely certain that God exists.

Now I may be slow, but if they're calling themselves Protestants, and 23% of them polled aren't even certain God exists, then... why are they calling themselves Protestants? (I know, rhetorical question & all that).

Just thinking outloud...

jazzycat said...

Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge......

Christopher said...

Amen, Frank.

@Carla

For the same reason so many people on MySpace list themselves as Christians contrary to what their pictures and blogs say about them. Denominational affiliations are just social labels to most people.

Christopher said...

To expand on what I just said:

I once heard Alistair Begg talk about it on his radio program.

Person: “Oh, your’re Scottish, I’m Scottish too!”
Begg: “Oh really, What part of Scotland are you from?”
Person: “Well, I’m not from Scotland, I’m from Cleveland. But my great, great, great, Grandfather came over from Scotland.”
Begg: “Well, then I'm sorry, but you don’t qualify.”

[Excuse me, I’m paraphrasing here, I heard this months ago.]

See the parallel. Same principle applies here.

Learning Grace said...

perhaps I'm really just not seeing it, I accept that... so please excuse me.

I just don't see that the problem in this country is a lack of knowledge, as in Hosea 4:6

There is a Christian book store on ever street corner, seems like... and I know the random nonsense that gets top billing in those stores are, in fact, tripe, but those stores have entire walls devoted to the selling of God's Word. I don't know of a single household that doesn't have a Bible in it, even in my atheist friends' apartments. Evangelicals like the lot of us are in every sector of society. God's remenant exists everplace in this country, even in schools and such, the proof of which is found in the ACLU's constant harping on the subject.

This country is not perishing from a lack of knowledge. It is persishing because, as Paris Reidhead said so eloquently, they are sinners and they LOVE their sin. The knowledge of God is available in ever corner, sinners have to do some pretty amazing acrobatics to avoid hearing the gospel in this country... and I'm not talking about the watered down gospel that has become so popular... they have to walk out of their way to hear the wrong gospel... but walk out of their way they do.

Family bibles are being used to prop up unstable TV stands. This isn't a lack of knowledge, this is a direct rejection of it.

Churches that preach the word of God are becoming increasingly rare... but even in those churches people are rarely called to live holy lives of repentance, though you certainly could ask them all sorts of doctrinal questions that they know the answers to.

Like I said, I could be wrong though. I'm not really up on the current state of the church like you guys are... would love to hear some feedback.

centuri0n said...

LG:

You are about to qualify for being a Homeboy, but let me ask you this: what if all those Christian bookstores are full of compost rather than seed? And what if all those pulpits are full of compost rather than seed? And what if all those Bibles are never opened?

Would that change your view at all? I agree with almost everything you said, but I'm curious how you would respond to those questions.

DJP said...

Hosea did not lament Israel's lack of opportunity to know, but lack of actual knowledge. It applies quite well, by extension, to our situation.

Learning Grace said...

Cent:

Then the seeds of the Gospel should be finding their best germinating beds in the world and this seasons harvest should be the greatest one in history. And I can agree that God may do that yet. It won't be long and some real persecution will come the church's way... and then you'll be right.

In the meantime though, my wife and I are heading out into the world, if the Lord Wills, to find our mission field. Give me a culture that can't even pronounce the name Jesus. Get me away from this culture where the words Gospel, Grace and Carnality can be used happily in the same sentence. Where the most depraved of sinners can claim to have the assurance of a custom tailored God, complete with full denominational sanction... heck if you ask politely enough you can have your indulgence embroidered into your I Hate Jesus t-shirt.

I haven't been to the mission field yet, though, I'm sure I'm just being naive.

BugBlaster said...

This was a good post. And you nailed it; it needn't or shouldn't stop at blogging.

Your field may be in a different place, but wherever it is, put your hand to the plow and do not turn away from it.

Yup, where I work, where I play, where I parent, where I coach, where I attend church, where I chat with my neighbour... Everything should be about the Gospel and sowing the seed with actions, words and love.

Frank Martens said...

"In the meantime though, my wife and I are heading out into the world, if the Lord Wills, to find our mission field. Give me a culture that can't even pronounce the name Jesus. Get me away from this culture where the words Gospel, Grace and Carnality can be used happily in the same sentence. Where the most depraved of sinners can claim to have the assurance of a custom tailored God, complete with full denominational sanction... heck if you ask politely enough you can have your indulgence embroidered into your I Hate Jesus t-shirt."

This is one of the beautiful things about the early apostle era... there was barely any knowledge of Christ in the greek world and that's why Paul made it his aim to go to those who had not yet heard (Romans 15:20).

The battle now (given that there are some , and I stress some, places that haven't heard the name yet) is to make sure that people understand correct definitions. This is what Paul began to face towards the end of his career (note 2 Cor 10).

So it's equally important now to make sure people who hear the name are hearing the correct message of the gospel.

So on one hand there is a knowledge of the name of Christ but there's very little correct knowledge of the true Christ and His gospel. And what we find out is that when there is, then a dividing line gets drawn and things become more clear. And then it becomes real clear who LOVE their sin more then Christ.

And so... Dan says best... "Hosea did not lament Israel's lack of opportunity to know, but lack of actual knowledge. It applies quite well, by extension, to our situation."

donsands said...

Excellent post. And good comments.

Seems this nation, perhaps 40-50 years ago, may have been more of a Christian nation.

Good Friday was revered. Easter Sunday was also. Even in the Media.

Today, we live in a pagan nation. I would agree.

Seems like the passing two generations have taken the good old U.S.of A. to become the bad and sinfilled U.S.of A.

The Church needs to fall before the Lord with fear, and repent;
and preach the gospel.

"Testifying both to the [Church], Jews and pagans, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21

And perhaps God will have mercy on this nation.

Learning Grace said...

I guess I disagree on the level of the fertility of the soil. I agree with Cent that we need to be casting seeds, and lots of them to boot, but Its quickly becoming more like tossing rice at a wedding and less like farming. Take a look at what's happened in England and Australia. People there simply refuse to even listen to ANYTHING... bad or good... that mentions the name Jesus, or even God. Australians in particular have become hard hearted in the extreme. In this country, church attendance has peeked. It is no longer on the rise, and I suspect that it's about to fall. What I see is a nation filling mega-churches of notso-hotso gospels, and leaving churches that have made stands on the true gospel. From what I hear, that may be turning around... but that's mere rumor.

Do we have a responsibility to preach the gospel? yes. Is there a serious need to educate the people what God's glorius plan of salvation really is? Yes and Amen. And please, God, let it not be said of me anymore that I have not done my share of the labor. But the soil has been corupted with sand, the field has been ploughed the wrong way and we have a serious work left to be done before the earth is ready to be tilled.

Though I thank God for people like you all here, posters and commentors alike. Do you really see this country as being ripe for the Gospel? I wish there was a way to emote with text, but as there isn't I'm going to have to trust that you'll hear that as an honest question from one seeking a ray of hope.

Tim Brown said...

Couldn't agree more. And I'd even argue that perhaps our first "mission field" (with increasingly rare exception) is our local church. Although reaching the lost "out there" might be far easier.

Short Thoughts said...

I never want to discourage anyone from missions--home or abroad. Christ charged His church to go into all the world to preach the Gospel. Nowhere does the Bible say that mission work is only that that is to those who have never heard. Though the church is charged to go into all the world, she is to start in Jerusalem and in all Judea (Acts 1).

Even when the church began spreading out (Acts 8) and evangelizing, the Gospel was still being preached in Jerusalem, all Judea, etc. Furthermore, that preaching was not to those who had never heard. In Jerusalem and in Judea they had heard the name of Jesus and had also killed Him; very analogous to our situations in first world industrialized nations.

Also, when you consider the parable of the sower. The sower was just that a sower. It does not say that the sower prepared the soil, rather he sowed the seed and that seed fell on all different types of soil. The seed is the Word of God and it never returns void.

I guess that is all to say that I agree with Cent.

Christopher said...

@LG,

“But the soil has been corupted with sand, the field has been ploughed the wrong way and we have a serious work left to be done before the earth is ready to be tilled.”

This has been true since the fall my friend. It sounds like you are concerning yourself too seriously with the quality of the soil. There no is soil that good by its own merit. From the most wicked pagan to the most moral humanist, no man can come to salvation of himself. Only our sovereign God can make the seed grow, your task is to cast out a handful and allow God to do His work. You do not have to obsess about whether the soil was good, it is not within your power or the soil’s to change its nature, only God’s power can do that. This is what separates us from the non-Reformed evangelists. “Is the world to wicked?”, “Did I do a good enough job of convincing them?”, these are questions you have no need to ask. Preach the pure, undefiled gospel vigorously, and God will see to it the the good seed finds fertile ground. Soli Deo Gloria, my friend.

philness said...

Ya we need to preach the gospel, but more importantly in conjuction to make disciples of all the nations. Had this been done we might have seen that 23% number be less. When Hosea speaks of his people having lack of knowledge he is speaking of saved people who have not been taught. Gods children aint got no learning these days. I believe the word disciple and learner go together, so get out there and learn somebody some'n after they become a child of God.

Learning Grace said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Learning Grace said...

OK.

By the way, thank you Christopher. Its all too easy to become giddy being the focus of attention of your favorite blog and start posting comments solely for the sake of continuing it. Your comment actually made me stop and think, which was probably needed.

Assuming that the stuff coming out of pulpits and christian bookstores now adays is compost... which is an accurate, if upbeat, description of most of it... then Cent is absolutly right. Seed sowers are desperatly needed. I don't think I was disagreeing with. And you're exactly right, the soil quality is none of our concern, thank you for the reminder.

What I was disagreeing with is that our country is in the position that Hosea was observing. I see it more as what Paul was warning Timothy about in 2 Tim 4:3. Not a nation with a lack of knowledge, but one in direct denial of that knowledge which is readily accessable. If this is a matter of semantics, and we're all arguing about the same thing, then please allow me to withdraw all of my disagreements. I definatly agree, though, that either way the Pure Gospel needs to be preached and loudly, as nothing else will save this nation from itself

Soli Deo Gloria. Thanks again.

4given said...

Well... come on down to the Bible belt. Everyone thinks their a Christian in these parts.

jazzycat said...

L.G.
Knowledge that is readily accessable is worthless until it is acquired. Take the following challenge: Ask a random sample of people the EE 2nd question (why should God let them into heaven?) and then report back to us how they did.

Taliesin said...

What I was disagreeing with is that our country is in the position that Hosea was observing. I see it more as what Paul was warning Timothy about in 2 Tim 4:3. Not a nation with a lack of knowledge, but one in direct denial of that knowledge which is readily accessable.

Just a brief point about Hosea: the next statement is "because you have rejected knowledge I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children."

It isn't that Israel didn't have access, but that they rejected (denied) the knowledge that they had. They were the OT equivalent of 2 Timothy 4:3. And we too have rejected and forgotten.

Gavin Brown said...

[If your knee-jerk reaction is, "we better get out and vote next Tuesday," that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of]

Agreed. And ending with a preposition gives just the right amount of effect; a totally under-utilized grammatically incorrectability thingy.

Frank Martens said...

Gavin... your picture is priceless.

Learning Grace said...

Serves me right for not actually reading the passage... point conceded.

Luke & Rachael said...

This is peculiar, since I just saw another poll whose results claimed that 90% of Americans believe in the existence of God.

Of course, if you the read the poll Frank cites carefully, it's claim is that only 40% of Americans are *certain* that God exists. And of course being certain that God exists isn't the same as believing that God exists. I guess I'm more encouraged by the 90% who believe that God exists than discouraged by the 40% who are certain God exists.

Just out of curiosity, Frank, how many non-believers do you think read this blog?

centuri0n said...

Luke --

In order to foment controversy, let me say honestly that I would not be surprised if half of our readers were non-belivers.

And note: I didn't say "non-church attenders".

centuri0n said...

Another thing in Luke's comment:

I think it's strange to see my post as one about being discouraged. The harvest is still great. My concern is that the workers are still few.