My thoughts on this issue were inspired by Michael Clark with whom I had an exchange regarding the time we might live in now, about 2,000 years after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Even if we merely look at the circumstances around us, the political situation of so many run-down countries, the increasing number of trouble spots in the world, and the not even remotely comprehensible approaches of “truths” in religion, science, and pseudo-scientific fields (such as esoteric and occult doctrines), we might begin to feel uneasy by the threat of chaos closing in on us.
There may be people who are still insecure about how to seek and serve God the best way and are mulling over joining a church which offers a default way of approaching the Divine for money or choosing the more difficult way of searching for God on their own… but for free. Yes, free of charge (tithes/church taxes/donations), however, not pain-free. Seeking and finding God through Jesus Christ means getting to know His sufferings too when we have taken up our cross of dying to our self-will. Nonetheless, what should not be kept secret is that the reverse side of the coin of suffering with Christ is knowing the heights and glory of a spiritual life the average church member who trusts being led by a human being (i.e., a cleric) can only dream of. You might have sensed that already, dear reader, I want to challenge you here a bit. 😉
As for the church age being over (or not), I found an interesting excerpt in one of T.A. Sparks’s articles where he reflected upon God’s pending judgment which always ends one specific age by bringing in its wake destruction and chaos before the new age begins.
The last call of God, as judgment is pending, is a call to Himself. Here then is the call of God in our time. The last movement of the people of God is to Himself: not to a movement as such; not to a teaching or interpretation of truth; not to a sect or party; not to an enterprise or mission – but to Christ. The final true and Divine movement is to the Lord Himself. The sheer pressure of the conditions in the gathering storm and tempest will demand a leaving of all lesser interests and objects, however good a purpose they may have served hitherto, and a moving toward the Lord Himself. ‘Things’ divide; the Lord unites. ‘Things’ must pass; the Lord abides. The time comes when all the means and accessories which the Lord has sovereignly used will cease to avail. This includes all the organized side of Christianity, and the Lord will force the issue as to how much there really is of Himself.
Could it be that some of us already heard that call of God to Himself and that they therefore left the former traditional gathering places in order to be part of a “not-yet-fully-established” new order God has had in mind? Could it even be possible that God prophesied such things before? For it is written,
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Is 43:18-19 ESV)
Did we not observe that the mainline churches have become deserts because they are falling apart due to more and more revealed scandals? Is that not a sign that many churches – not all, perhaps – have not been focused on Jesus Christ but merely on this-worldly things and on how to keep the “system” going?