Modern Evangelicalism Part 2: The “Christian World”

John 15:18
       If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Which “world” is specifically in view here?―What “world” hated Christ and hounded Him to death? The religious world, those who pretended to be most zealous for God’s glory. So it is now.

GILBERT TENNENT (1703-1764): Christ is despised and rejected of men, and to be faithfully engaged in His service is to court the hostility not only of the secular but of the religious world as well. It was on religious grounds that Jezebel persecuted Elijah, and it is by the false prophets of Christendom and their devotees that the genuine ministers of God will be most hated and hounded.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): What is commonly called the ‘religious world’ will be found, when examined in the light of the presence of God, to be more thoroughly hostile to the true interests of the Church of God than almost anything.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): We are concerned about the state and life of the Church at the present time. I have no hesitation again in asserting that the failure of the Church to have a greater impact upon the life of men and women in the world today is due entirely to the fact that her own life is not in order. To me there is nothing more tragic or short-sighted or lacking in insight than the assumption, made by so many, that the Church herself is all right and all she has to do is to evangelize the world outside.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): The Christian world is in a deep sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can awaken them out of it.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Survey this strange sight—a “Christian world!” It would be a world from which injustice, inequality, hatred, vice and war were forever banished: a world illuminated by the Spirit of Christ, and guided by the Golden Rule. Where does this Christianity now exist? Let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian country upon the earth.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The Church is a separate and distinct thing from the world. I suppose there is such a thing as the ‘Christian world’ but I do not know what it is, or where it can be found. It must a singular mixture. I know what is meant by a worldly Christian; and I suppose the ‘Christian world’ must be an aggregate of worldly Christians. But the Church of Christ is not of the world. Ye are not of the world, says Christ, even as I am not of the world. A ‘Christian world’ is such a monstrosity as the Scriptures never contemplate. A worldly Christian is spiritually diseased.

HENRY MOORHOUSE (1840-1880): In Nehemiah we read: In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab. And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. I think this is a picture of the Church at the present day. Take nine professing Christians out of ten, and you will find you cannot tell to whom they belong―for the first five minutes you will think they belong to Christ; then in the next five they seem to belong to the world. They do not speak either language correctly.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): Religious worldliness and worldly religiousness…Are we not often constrained to say to ourselves, “Are Christ’s words no longer true? Have the broad and the narrow ways become one? Is there now no Church, or is there now no world?”

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): One of the heaviest complaints made in the prophets against Jerusalem for her backsliding, is that she was a “comfort” to Samaria and Sodom (Ezekiel 16:54); that those who had the name and place of God’s people, so lived as to make the wicked feel at ease. If the salt retain its saltness, surrounding corruption will be made uneasy by the contact. If Christians live as like the world as they can, the world will think itself safe in its sin; and those who should have been the deliverers, will become the destroyers of their neighbours.

HORATIUS BONAR: Jude, “the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,” speaks to us in the tone of an ancient prophet. His voice is that of Elijah or John the Baptist. It is “voice of one crying in the wilderness.” He speaks to the declining churches of his day. He speaks to the Church of the last days. It is against the evils within the Church that he specially warns. What a picture does he draw of error, licentiousness, worldliness, spiritual decay, and ecclesiastical apostasy! Who could recognize the image of the primitive Church in the description he gives of prevailing inquity? The world had absorbed the Church, and the church was content that it should be so…
       In this day of half-discipleship, of double service, of religious worldliness and worldly religiousness, how needful it is that the awful words of the Apostle [Jude] be studied by the Church of God! We need them now! Ere long we shall need them more.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): This epistle [of Jude] is, and will be, of standing, lasting, and special use in and to the church as long as Christianity―that is, as time, shall last. The general scope of it is much the same with that of the second chapter of the second epistle of Peter…It should not seem strange to us that false teachers set themselves up in the church: it was so in the apostles’ times.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): You have the Scriptures in your hands, and by this standard you are warranted, yea, commanded, to “try the spirits” [I John 4:1], because many false prophets and pretended teachers are abroad in the world.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We do not like this kind of teaching against false prophets today. We are living in days when people say that, as long as a man claims to be a Christian at all, we should regard him as a brother and go on together. But the reply is that our Lord said, “Beware of false prophets,” Matthew 7:17. These awful glaring warnings are there in the New Testament because of the very kind of thing to which I have been referring…It seems more and more clear that the greatest enemies of the true Christian faith are not those who are right out in the world militantly persecuting Christianity, or flagrantly ignoring its teaching; but rather those who have a false and spurious Christianity.

MATTHEW HENRY: Those that ought to be builders of the church of Christ are often the worst enemies that Christ has in the world. In the Old Testament the false prophets did the most mischief; and in the New Testament the greatest opposition and cruelty that Christ met with were from the scribes, Pharisees, chief priests and whose who pretended to build and take care of the church.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES : It is a false and counterfeit Christianity that has always been a hindrance to, and the greatest enemy of, true spirituality. And surely the greatest trouble at this present moment is the worldly state of the Church. We should be much more concerned about the state of the Church herself than about the state of the world outside the Church…We have to start with the Church, not with the world outside. The chief trouble is in the Church.

 

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