Do Away With The Church?
In America, people sometimes take for granted the existence of churches on almost every corner.
They are churches of many denominations, sizes and flavors with many doctrinal variations, but they mostly agree on the essentials: the authority of the Scriptures, the deity of Jesus Christ, His redemptive work on the cross, His resurrection, and the necessity of faith in Him for salvation. I thank God for them.
Some time ago, the Ladies' Home Journal published an article titled, "Shall We Do Away With the Church?" Just the question is ludicrous. In the first place, the church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and not to us. Secondly, He said the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The church is Christ's body on the earth.
The church is essential. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "In the pioneer days of the West, we found it an unfailing rule that after a community had existed for a certain length of time, either a church was built or else the community began to go downhill."
In the 1830's, French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in search of the key to America's greatness. When his tour had been completed, he made this observation: "I sought for the key to the greatness of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."
He continues, "The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other."
A unique aspect of the church in America is that, thanks to our Constitution, the government is not allowed to make one denomination to dominate, a situation that exists in many other countries. The Constitution does not prevent the church from influencing the government, as the words "separation of church and state" do not appear in it, but it prevents the government from influencing the church.
Even though it is far from perfect, thank God for the church. Thank God for guiding our Founding Fathers in forming the Constitution of this God-blessed land.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.