My favorite recent film was Luther, a professionally dramatized account of the life of Martin Luther, the great reformer. Now, I know he, like each of us, was not perfect, and the movie didn't deal with many of his inconsistencies (which we all have)-but despite whatever "warts" he had, he is one of my "heroes of the faith." God mightily used him.
As I watched this gripping movie, I was moved time and again. At one point, as Luther stood in the bishop's palace and responded to the demand that he recant his writings about biblical authority, he purportedly said, "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me."
God used one man and his stand on God's Word to start a reformation, which spread like wildfire around Europe. At that time, much of the church had compromised on a major doctrine: justification by faith alone.
One of my favorite Bible teachers is Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He is widely acclaimed as Britain's greatest preacher of the 20th century. In one of his sermons on revival, he stated this, concerning the history of the church:
The concealing, and the neglect of certain truths, and certain aspects of Christian truth, has always been the chief characteristic of every period of declension [decline] in the long history of the Church.
He continued: "If you read the history of the Church, and look at these periods of declension, when the Church was moribund and did not seem to count at all, you will find that without a single exception the thing that has most characterized the life of the Church at such a time has been either a denial, or else a concealing, or else a neglect of certain vital truths which are essential to the whole Christian position."
Dr. Lloyd-Jones exclaimed, "No revival has ever been known in the history of the churches which deny or ignore certain essential truths."
As we look at America today, we see that the church is often emotionally excited but has not been experiencing true, life-changing revival. The church is not reaching the culture as it once did. A Bible-based worldview does not pervade the thinking of the majority in America as it used to.
- Christianity has all but been removed from public schools.
- Nativity scenes are thrown out of public places.
- The Ten Commandments are being removed.
- Gay "marriage" is rife across the country.
- Abortions are prolific.
- Someone tried to remove God from the Pledge of Allegiance.
America is becoming less Christian every day. Something is terribly wrong. Why does the church seem so weak, when there is more Christian influence in America than any other nation on earth?
I suggest to you that Dr. Lloyd-Jones was right. As has been the case all through church history, and as was the situation at the time of the Reformation, the reason the church seems so weak and ineffective today is that there has been a "denial … a concealing … a neglect of certain vital truths which are essential to the whole Christian position."
And even though much of the church today does not recognize a vital truth that has been compromised, I believe God has raised up ministries like AiG to engage the church and the culture (as Luther did), concerning a truth that has been denied and neglected.
The absolute authority and trustworthiness of God's written Word has been (and is increasingly being) denied, concealed or neglected.So what is the "truth" that has been compromised? Friend, it is the truth of the infallibility of God's Word-especially the first book of the Bible.
The absolute authority and trustworthiness of God's written Word has been (and is increasingly being) denied, concealed or neglected. Why? Because of the influence of fallible man's ideas concerning evolution and millions of years. The truth of Genesis 1-11 is "essential to the whole Christian position" because:
If the church continues to reinterpret God's Word in Genesis based on man's fallible ideas, then the church has opened the door to undermine the authority of all of God's Word.
By placing man's opinions in authority over the Bible, the authority of the Bible has been, by and large, lost from this culture. It is no longer a credible book (i.e., authoritative) for people.
Thus, the standard of morality based on the Bible (such as the immorality of gay "marriage" and abortion) is no longer accepted.
- Every single doctrine of theology (e.g., marriage defined as one man for one woman, original sin, the gospel, etc.), whether directly or indirectly, is founded in the literal history of Genesis.
Many today are praying for revival. At the same time, I want to challenge the church with the words of Dr. Lloyd-Jones: "I am urging that there are certain truths which are always essential to revival. And while these truths are denied, or are neglected, or ignored, we have no right to expect the blessing of revival."
In many ways, I see the ministry of AiG as somewhat akin to that of Luther: to restore a truth that has been denied in the culture in this day (i.e., the truth of God's holy, inerrant Word, beginning in Genesis).
Like Luther, we at AiG exclaim, "Here we stand [on Scripture]. We can do no other. God help us."
Can I humbly ask you to commit to continue (or begin) supporting AiG, financially and prayerfully, as we strive to help "rebuild the foundation" of God's Word in the culture … and at this critical time?
I think we all need heroes of the faith we can look up to (understanding their own fallibility, of course)-and this is one of the reasons that AiG is making available the new DVD Luther [this product not currently available in all stores].
This carefully researched drama is so much more than entertainment. Share it with others and be reminded of what God has done because of the stand on Scripture by one person who was willing to face persecution and even death, rather than knowingly compromise the Word of God.