“At least five times…the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died.” Not only do I like those words of G.K. Chesterton, I believe they remain pertinent today. There’s been a lot of recent speculation about the church’s relevancy-or lack thereof-in the world. Some are predicting that if the church doesn’t start accommodating the culture and adapting new “normals,” her demise is imminent. Don’t buy it.
Like the early church fathers who were imprisoned, stoned and crucified upside down didn’t buy it. Like those brave Christians who stood firm in the face of gladiators and were lit as human torches at Nero’s palace didn’t buy it. Like those in this century who are being electrocuted, beaten and tortured in ways unimaginable because they dare to call themselves followers of Christ aren’t buying it. It takes the kind of arrogance spawned by a society drenched in self-absorption to think the challenges faced by the church today can only be met by shifting its foundation.
Oh, it’s not that the Church hasn’t blown it. Ours is a sad commentary of bitter divisiveness, corruption and good intentions gone bad. But we remain the bride of Christ and he said in spite of all our human failings, and in spite of all the schemes plotted by our enemies, Hell itself would not prevail against us.
The Church is here to stay no matter what twenty-first century pundits think. And as long as the Church exists, we who are a part of it are called to be salt and light. You and I are called neither to condemn our culture nor accommodate it. We are called to preserve it. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness…it is no longer good for anything…” (Matthew 5:13). “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). We have a job to do. We have a privilege.
And what a privilege it is to be part of the eternal, indomitable, invincible church!