By Dave Daubenmire
Note: This commentary was written Nov. 11, 2011…11 years ago. Not much has changed.
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? -Prov. 24:11-12
The Personhood Amendment went down to defeat in Mississippi on Tuesday. It would have effectively ended abortion in the state of Mississippi by amending the state constitution and declaring a child is a “person” from the moment of implantation.
This would have granted to the pre-born the same rights that born-people enjoy as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. It is a sad day for Mississippi. It is a tragic day for the unborn. It is a defining day for the lukewarm churches that populate the state of Mississippi.
I spent four days last week in the Gulfport/Biloxi area doing what I could to ensure the passage of Amendment 26. Those of us who journeyed there saw this issue as a bell-weather on the condition of the American church.
Mississippi is not only in the Bible-Belt, but it could be argued that it is the buckle of the belt; Deep in the heart of Dixie, where people still proudly cling to their God and their guns. If folks in God-fearing Mississippi won’t step to the plate and end abortion, what hope is there anywhere else in America? That is what compelled us to go.
There are over 3700 churches in the state. We visited as many of them as we could in an attempt to alert the pastors of the great opportunity that the Lord had given the church to be “the church.”
We handed out bulletin-inserts for them to give to their congregation. We offered free “Vote For Life” signs for them to display on their property. We organized phone banks to call the pastors and exhort them to exhort their flocks to stand up for the babies.
We knew one thing for sure. If the church showed up and voted for Life, the amendment would pass by a large majority.
There are specific mandates that God has given to “His church.” Mathew 16 tells us that “the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.” Storming the gates of hell is the charge Jesus laid specifically at the door. Hell can never prevail against a gate-storming church…that is His promise.
But the church has shirked the responsibility. We have passed the buck and hired mercenaries to do our dirty work. We call them Pro-life Republicans, politicians, but they are surrogate salt. They are vote counters, not Truth defenders. Why would we expect them to do a job that the pastors will not? It is so much easier to send another to war than it is to go ourselves. Voting is so much easier than fighting.
I learned a lot during those four days. If you don’t mind, I would like to share those observations with you.
We have a crisis of Godly leadership in our churches. Truth has fallen in the street and it cannot get up. The blind are leading the blind.
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. -Is 56
Most pastors are building their own kingdoms. They are oblivious to the depth of evil that is flooding this nation, and even those who do see it think that the Lord is powerless to do anything about it. They have failed to make the connection of the impact the “cultural” issues are having in regards to the expansion of the Gospel. They are either unwilling or incapable of “contending for the Truth.”
The last thing they want to do is rock the boat. Controversial subjects, like baby-murder, are not welcome in “their” church. The refuse to get involved in “politics” as if defending unborn babies was political? (I wonder if Jesus considers abortion a “political” issue.)
They have withdrawn from the battlefield. They are MIA in the battle for Truth in our schools, government, and families. All ministry “outreach” is really “inreach.” If you want to hear the Gospel from most churches you are going to have to go to them because they sure aren’t coming to you. They are content to hide inside their stain-glassed fortresses where their word rules the day.
Jesus exhorted his followers to “GO YE.” Today’s followers say “COME YE”…come visit our church and hear our great pastor pass out candy.
The church has become secularized. The salt of the earth has been leavened by the salt of the world. For the most part, people who attend church think no differently about issues than their neighbors who don’t attend church.
For many pastors, pastoring is a job, with job security. Especially in tough times more customers need food. The sugary, non-offensive Gospel guarantees that the pew-sitters will return, pay their tithes, and keep the pastor employed. New businesses (churches) are popping up on every corner. Need a steady job? Start a church. Never in American history have there been more churches and less Gospel than today.
The “belt of Truth” is the lynchpin upon which the entire Gospel connects. The Gospel is Truth…the Word is Truth…Jesus is Truth…yet so many Christians follow lies. Pastors no longer preach the Truth, pew-sitters no longer know the Truth, and the nation no longer believes in the Truth. The belt is busted and our glutinous underbelly is beginning to spill over.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
This week, the church in Mississippi, the buckle of the Bible-Belt, chose death. The ladder of leadership provides not only a higher view but also a higher responsibility to share what others cannot see, to direct those at ground level toward the good and safe, and steer them from the bad and dangerous.
But today in our churches, the blind are leading the blind… “Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant…”
The debate in Mississippi was over the personhood of the pre-born child. The enemies of truth wanted to make it about rape, incest, and birth control. As Planned Predators (Parenthood) used smoke and mirrors to deceive the people, the “watchmen” were incapable of seeing the truth for themselves.
WWJD? Would Jesus vote no on granting life to unborn children because he feared women would not have the right to birth control? Would Jesus support the killing of unborn children because the daddy was a rapist?
Most American-Christians think like the secular world. They do not have the mind of Christ.
As a football coach I have often heard experts say that you can tell a lot about a coach by watching the way his team plays. Watching the way most “churches” play tells me volumes about the weenie in the pulpit.
The buckle of the Bible-Belt is broken and the problem is being exposed. Maybe that is why more and more pastors are turning in their pants for skirts.
Skirts don’t require belts. The Bible-Belt is unbuckled.