Our foundation as a church is crumbling and it’s time we examine ourselves before we fall apart. The Associated Press headlines Sunday morning read: “National Transportation Safety Board says Washington State Bridge Collapse is Wake-up Call for Entire Country!”
Investigators and reporters, alike, are examining the fall-out of yet another bridge collapse last week and the subsequent damage to life and property. Though the bridge had been examined in the past year, weaknesses were not strengthened and repairs were not current. One official said, “This is a really significant event and we need to learn from it, not just in Washington but around the country.” On Saturday, May 25, a bridge in Missouri collapsed when hit by a derailed train. The sheriff said the bridge, “…was about 15 years old and in good condition but just couldn’t withstand the impact.”
If you’re paying attention, you will notice the parallels between the natural and the spiritual. There are SIGNS all around us if we but look. God’s word and works are not limited to Christians or the Church – His Word and ways are eternal and affect every area of life – secular and sacred. When God’s purposes and principles are not followed, there are consequences. They will affect both the spiritual and natural realms of our lives.
What I see in these cases and others in recent weeks is a pattern – a pattern of faulty foundations. We all know that the biblical foundations of our country are crumbling. Things are falling apart right underneath our feet. Why? Could it be that we aren’t looking at what’s underneath? “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths (Proverbs 5:21-23). We see the fallout and point fingers. It’s easy to blame our political leaders and president, but have we taken the time to ask ourselves how WE have contributed to it? After all, it’s the CHURCH that is supposed to be impacting the world, not the other way around.
In the past year, I have had several dreams about our faulty foundations as a church and the need to take a deeper look. In Washington, the incident could have been prevented had their infrastructure been more carefully examined and strengthened. One official said, “The 58-year-old bridge had a ‘fracture critical’ design, meaning loss of a single structural support could undermine the crossing. …” In other words, all it took was one of the main pillars to be in critical condition to cause the whole thing to tumble.
So, how does this apply to the church? We have to ask ourselves what we are standing on. What are the pillars of our faith? What are those values and truths that we are supposed to be built on? Do we still hold true to the values of holiness and righteousness? Are we examining our mindsets and lifestyles to assure they are consistent with the heart and character of Christ? Do we still believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and the need to repent? Do we walk in integrity in our financial dealings or do we compromise when it’s convenient? Are we still the salt of the earth or have we become so watered down in our beliefs that we aren’t even distinguished from the world?
What about our church leaders (of which I am one)? Are pastors and elders walking in true accountability in order to stay healthy and godly? Are biblical teachers presenting the whole truth or only what feels good to a lazy and undisciplined Bride? A church is only as healthy and strong as her leaders. This is biblical fact.
The headlines are right – it’s time to wake up. We need to look underneath our religious routines to see what we are really made of. Life IS going to throw us curve balls – we ARE going get hit. The question is how we will fare. Will the impact cause us to fall apart and crumble? Is our relationship with God strong enough to withstand the pressure?
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it (Jeremiah 6:16).”
The world will always act like the world and their beliefs will constantly change depending upon their current need or desire. For the church, however, we must be willing to look at those principles that are unchanging and eternal. There are ways which seem right, but only those ways which have been built on a solid foundation will stand.
An interesting editorial comment on the bridge collapse has further prophetic meaning: “This bridge collapse should not give way to a frenzied search for new revenues…Rather, it should be a sober wake-up call to … re-examine how they are spending.” How are we stewarding what God has already given us? When we see believers and Christian leaders fall, will we simply try to ‘restore’ them to good standing or will we take the time to ask ourselves how we got there in the first place?