REASONS FOR REPENTANCE
by Rev. Arnold Reimer
Nothing is more critical to our survival as followers of Christ in this present evil world than the blessing of God and the anointing of His Holy Spirit upon us. Because of the wiles of the devil, the nature of humanity and the supernatural dimension of our task on earth we must take time and effort regularly to realign our ways with our Sovereign Lord and His Word.
The modern evangelical church has deviated from truth in some important and far-reaching areas. Surely our God is grieved and it may well be that the Holy Spirit has been quenched to the point where we are running on our own inadequate steam. Biblical authority is being undermined. Disillusioned saints are backing away from the church in dismay and confusion. Society discounts us. We have allowed, and even accommodated, things that strengthen the foothold our enemy has in our culture thereby giving him an unnecessary advantage over the church. I refer to the issues of divorce, church leadership and purpose.
I well realize that many consider this issue a “dead horse” which should be laid to rest and forgotten. But, when God says He “hates divorce” should we not be wary lest by our accommodation to this evil we offend Him? When the highest officialdom of our nation easily dismantles the essence and meaning of marriage should we not take a careful look at what we are doing, lest we have aided and abetted their boldness in attacking this God-ordained institution and covenant? Does it not cut to the quick that they boldly declare that marriage has lost its meaning in our culture anyway, actually pointing at the churches as proof of its failure?
In the last twenty years we have lowered the bar by allowing clergy to remarry divorced persons. Soon,we were accepting divorced persons in places of local leadership. Now, neither pastoral nor national leadership escape the trend. Whatever biblical standard we may proclaim from our pulpits regarding marriage common practise has undermined it.
The tragedy is that the real issue is not marriage alone, it is our position on the authority of Scripture, its honest interpretation and its clear directive to our ailing culture. Who can read Jesus’ words in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 16:18 and not believe we have played loosely with truth? What must God think of our careless neglect of His words in Genesis 2:24 and Jesus’ affirmation of them in Matthew 19:5-6? To say nothing of Paul’s words in Ephesians 5. Why do we allow rationalists to tell us these texts do not mean what they say in spite of what the church fathers affirmed?
With a desire to correct some of the wrongs of past attitudes and practise regarding the value of women in society we are making a major blunder. Disregarding millennia of biblical interpretation and supporting illustration we are now swinging on the star of cultural adaptation, accepting women as elders and pastors. We turn a few rare biblical exceptions into a rule belittling again the words and illustrations of Scripture. Have we not learned that though God’s ways may be past finding out they are always wise and perfect resulting in ultimate good?
Godly, wise and capable women have always distinguished themselves among us. I have worked with many, including a godly mother, five sisters, a precious wife and two capable sisters-in-law. Five of them have been in long term ministries both at home and abroad, exemplifying Christian leadership. None of them wanted the role of elder or pastor. They believe the Bible is plain spoken.
Again, we are undermining the mandate and meaning of Scripture with its clear and significant illustrations/practise to accommodate a culture that has lost its way. Worse, the strong leadership of godly men is diminishing.
Somehow we have bought the idea that the modern church gathered is to be a centre for evangelism rather than a sanctuary for the knowledge of the holy and instruction in righteousness. The devil knows that his destructive plans will be foiled as long as we, the saints, gather to seek God’s face, to hear His Word, to confront the root sins of the flesh, to obey God’s call to holy, righteous living, to understand separation from the world and to be equipped for battle. The devil’s devious plan has been to replace God’s highest purpose for His Church gathered, and for the truly effective extension of His kingdom, with the one thing we possibly would accept - His second purpose, evangelism.
The devil obviously knows that once the primary purpose is undermined it would only be a matter of time and slippage before the saints became so spiritually starved and dysfunctional that nothing would count - including evangelism. We are on the way! Our only hope is a renewal of the teaching and experience of Acts 1 and 2.
The deterioration of worship, prayer, doctrine, music, preaching style and content, and application to genuine human need is clear to anyone familiar with history, recent and ancient. We are trying so hard to be relevant that we have become irrelevant. Worldly styles and methods are a dominant feature in many churches. Attitudes have developed that allow us to callously dismiss those who disagree with the trends, especially those older people who have been the gate keepers and providers over long years. In the name of local evangelism and relevance we are losing our heart for missions, for doctrinal purity, for separation from the world, for holiness and for most things sacred. Unfortunately, what we have seen to date is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Fifty years ago the United Church of Canada was right where we are today.
I plead for spiritual understanding and wisdom, for genuine repentance and for a renewal of the sanctifying work of God, the Holy Spirit.
Arnold Reimer has served as a pastor/missionary with the Christian and Missionary Alliance for 50 years. He began his ministry in Rosetown, Sk. after which he served with his wife, Frances, in Colombia, S.A. After one term they pastored the Woodward Ave. Alliance Church, now Rosewood, in Regina. In 1969 they moved to the Avenue Road/Bayview Glen Church where they remained until 1991. Returning to Regina he served as the District Superintendent for one term. Since 1995 he has been a Minister-at-Large in both the Eastern and Central Canadian Districts.