Ted Baccich is a former Active Duty Army Chaplain who holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of New Orleans, and a Master’s of Divinity with a concentration on Public Policy from Regent University. He served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom 1. He and his family reside in the New Orleans, LA. area.
What is going on in the
church of Jesus Christ in America today?
Is it doing everything it can and should? Is the church of Jesus Christ truly a
church? To answer those questions I will
draw an analogy: I am a devout New Orleans Saints football fan. I own several Saints Jerseys; I watch all their games either in person or on
TV. I read their news, I watch their
highlights, I know their history and I cheer like a wild man when they win. I was elated when they won the Super Bowl a
year ago. I follow the Saints so closely
in fact, that I could tell you the names of several players on the practice
squad. But while I have been a faithful
follower from my youth, I have never really
been a part of the Saints organization, and I probably never will
be. No official party or person within
the Saints organization knows I even exist.
If I ran head first into Drew Brees on a New Orleans street, I would
certainly recognize him, but he wouldn’t know me from the proverbial man in the
moon. And just as I sit on the sidelines
and cheer for my team the Saints – in a
similar (but not precisely the same) fashion, church goers are sitting in sanctuaries
and auditoriums (on the sidelines as it were) consuming Christianity. Like so many venues of American culture
today, the church has become commercialized.
It is a business, and it is run like one. Pastors and staff make their living off of
it, and because it is a business, it needs to make money. And sometimes, like the NFL, the church is
perhaps just a little too “successful” and a little too “cutting edge” for its
own good. And sometimes, like the NFL,
the church is not producing team members, it is producing church fans. It is producing church members, not players –
So why do they hate us, really? Why should they hate us? Would Jesus wear a Rolex on His salvation show? Would He even have a “traditional” salvation show? What does the left see when it looks to the right and to the church? Do they see holiness, integrity and courage modeled? Or do they see something else?
Christian pollster and researcher George Barna has done extensive work in the polling of Evangelical Christians. Much of Barna’s finding are stark and very troubling. CCA opines that Barna’s research answers the question (at least in part): Why should they hate us? The bottom line on Barna’s research is that Christian churches are generally ineffective vessels for both evangelism and discipleship. Most protestant pastors are neither called to nor competent in leadership, and less than one out of every five born again adults possesses a Biblical world view. There is further evidence that the true number of Christians with a Biblical world view is very conceivably as low as 1 out of 100. Mass media, not the Bible, and not church teaching, has the most dramatic effect on people's behavior and beliefs (i.e. Kaite Couric and Matt Lauer – and apparently their world view – have greater influence than your local pastor). Most "church growth" is simply the recycling of church-goers from one congregation to another. Finally, the divorce rate amongst born-again Christians is higher than that for atheist/agnostics.
In a nutshell, the church has failed in its most important and most sacred of all missions – that is the Great Commission, the making of real disciples. The notion of personal holiness has slipped out of the consciousness of the vast majority of Christians. While just 21% of adults consider themselves to be holy, by their own admission large numbers have no idea what "holiness" means and only one out of every three (35%) believe that God expects people to become holy. The percentage of “Christians” who actually possess a Biblical worldview is perhaps the most telling statistic of them all. It loudly becries the fact that the church is indeed full of church fans, not disciples. The Bible is essentially a reference book to most Christians, and the Scriptures are seen as wholly negligible. The laity is Biblically illiterate and in several cases so is the pastorate. The church does not practice what it preaches and in many cases does not even preach what it supposedly preaches – the gospel – instead of a man centered, pseudo Biblically based self help message. The church has little to no impact on the culture and I believe an argument can be made that it actually has a negative impact in several instances. When the gospel of truth is sanitized, commercialized, sugar coated and packaged to the point where people honestly don’t believe the integrity of Scripture, then they are inoculated against truth of God rather than drawn toward it. The deep truths of God are hard truths, and they are almost impossible to digest when one is on a steady diet of spiritual candy. Why do they hate us, really? What do our enemies see that makes them want to be our enemies?
Adolph Hitler observed a similar phenomenon in the church of Germany prior to World War II. He knew the true church of Jesus Christ would stand in the way of his evil agenda, but he also was discerning enough to see that the overall church of Germany was essentially corrupt. He said, “I promise you, that if I wish to, I could destroy the church in a few years, it is hollow, and rotten, and false through and through, one push and the whole structure will collapse. We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed, and self indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I’ll give them a few years reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They’ll swallow anything, in order to keep their material advantages. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves. They will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.” And save for a tiny handful of pastors led by the likes of Dietrich Bonheoffer and Martin Niemöller, the church of Germany sold its soul to the Third Reich. They became the Reich’s church and tragically proved that Hitler was right. Why do they hate us? Are we hollow and rotten and false?
Nikolai Berdyaev was a Russian existentialist, thinker, and a Christian. He was writing in Paris in 1935. He witnessed the beginnings of World War II, and he saw Hitler come to power. He gave the following prophetic warning that I believe is dramatically articulate for this very hour:
A new day is dawning for Christianity and the world. The hour has struck, when after terrible struggle, after an unprecedented de – Christianization of the world and its passage through all the results of that process, Christianity will be revealed in its pure form. Then it will be clear what Christianity stands for and what it stands against. Christianity will again become the only and the final refuge of man. And when the purifying process is finished it will be seen that Christianity stands for man and for humanity, for the value and dignity of personality, for freedom, for social justice, for the brotherhood of men and of nations, for enlightenment, for the creation of a new life. And it will be clear that only Christianity stands for these things. The judgment upon Christianity is really the judgment upon the betrayal of Christianity.
CCA believes it is fair to say the world sees
a seriously compromised church, and it is impossible to respect your enemy if
your enemy is weak. The church is weak
because it has simply (in the immortal words of Darrell Royal)
not “danced with the one who brung her,” namely the unadulterated good news of
Jesus Christ. The church has forgotten
and/or rejected its very strength, the preaching of righteousness. So here we are at the cross roads of human
history, and ours is the opportunity to stand for something, or ours is the
indictment of betrayal. Alexis De
Tocqueville had essentially the same observation in Democracy in America. He
I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her fertile fields and boundless forests, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her public school system and her institutions of learning, and it was not there. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power [emphasis mine]. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good America will cease to be great.
So what do we do about
all this? Are there some valid reasons
that we are hated? As much as it pains
me to write this I think the answer is self evident. There is a horrific and painfully obvious
lack of backbone in the church. Dr.
Paige Patterson (former President of the SBC) was so very right when he said
the biggest problem in the church today was “wimpery.” What red blooded American young man wants to
grow up to be a mealy mouth, milquetoast, sissy preacher? If the country is going to survive, it is
going to have to survive the deceptive philosophies now entrenched in
postmodern culture. In short, it will
have to survive the liberal socialist onslaught. If it is going to do that then the church will
have to speak up with a united and a courageous voice. And to do that the church must repent. Why do they hate us? Why should they hate us? We are weak and cowardly. We don’t practice what we preach and in far
too many instances we simply can’t muster the chutzpa to preach what we know we
should. In doing these things we are committing
a slow form of suicide. Christian I beg
you, fix the church from the ground up, or at least fix your part of it. Do not give in to the lures of popularity,
wealth and status. Demand integrity and
accountability in the church. Believe
the Scriptures; dance with the One who brung you. Remember Christian, that we are not mere passengers
on the voyage of history; we are its navigators. Finally, never
underestimate the power of just one person’s righteous influence. Please join us as we fight.
-- Posted by Ted Baccich 7 July 2011
WAKE UP AMERICA PART VIII
Recently, over the Christmas holidays, I was driving home happily and listening to the Sean Hannity radio show. Because we were in the heart of the Christmas season and I was listening to an iconic conservative talk show, I expected to hear cogent, logical, and perhaps even inspirational conservative thought. This particular show was being led by a guest host (not Sean Hannity, but presumably a colleague). A caller was speaking to this host about the recent repeal of the Military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy (DADT), and the show’s host mocked him by saying, “What’s wrong with Sodomy?” The host went on to dismiss the caller’s concerns as “silly.” <<READ MORE>>
Where were you when the world stopped turning? That is the question of the day. It is also the name of an Alan Jackson song about that terrible day, nine years ago. There are a few events that are so significant and impactful in world history, whereas, when they happen, almost any given person can tell where they were and what they were doing when it happened. The assassination of JFK (if you are old enough to remember), the attempted assassination of
Madelline McCann, Jaycee Lee Duggard, Jessica Lunsford, Natascha Kampusch, Jessyca Mullenberg, Elizabeth Smart – If you are reading this and you do not recognize these names, you need to read further, because these precious children all have something in common. They are, in a way, every man’s/ every woman’s children. These children are the victims of a society that has run amok in touchy feely, perverted, cowardly justice. These children are the victims of a society that coddles criminals, exalts egalitarianism, and increasingly despises moral absolutes. These are the children who are victims of what is today a global horror called abduction and pedophilia. <<READ MORE>>
In 1927, an American socialist named Norman Thomas, who was six times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said that the American people would never vote for socialism, but he said under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program (reference Wikipedia). His observation has proven tragically prophetic. As of this writing, our great nation is on the brink of implementing Socialism by sheer political will. What is government run health care really all about? <<READ MORE>>
We live in a haunted world. Never before in the history of the Republic have so many with so much in their power felt so threatened. The world and its power centers are more tightly coupled than ever before. The future is uncertain and the collective unconscious of America feels it keenly. The economy is erratic and unstable. Pornography streams into our homes like crack cocaine via the internet and cable TV. Homosexuality and its myriad of predatorial perversions are more militant than ever before and it threatens our children directly. The traditional nuclear family is rapidly becoming a relic. <<READ MORE>>
Abortion. The mere mention of the word causes almost instant polarization. It is the quiet holocaust of our time. On January 22, 1973, The US Supreme Court legalized, and in many ways societally legitimized abortion. Stating that a woman may abort her pregnancy for any reason, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes 'viable,'" the “Justices” ignored and usurped the foundations of our Constitution. Volumes could be – and have been – written about the atrocious Roe v. Wade decision. This post asks a simple question: Where is the voice of the American church in legalized abortion? <<READ MORE>>
Please Join Us As We Fight. Take a Stand Today:
1. Call your elected representative and get involved now. Take a few minutes and let them know what you think about the issues you care about today. Let them hear your voice about illegal immigration, government run healthcare and the many other issues that we all currently face. The Capitol Hill switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121, or toll free at 1-877-851-6437. It only takes a few minutes to make a call, and your vote does matter. Remember in the year 2000, that the President of the United States was elected by 537 votes in Florida. The margin of victory was 0.0092%. For every one person who actually calls or writes their elected leaders, there are generally hundreds, if not thousands that he or she is speaking for. Remember to always be polite, respectful and to the point when calling.
2. If you have not already done so, REGISTER, click on link and take advantage
privilege. Stay informed of the issues and carefully consider who and what you are voting for.
3. Get yourself and your family involved in a decent church. There are no perfect churches, but there are decent ones out there. Find one and remember that God requires us to keep holy the Sabbath Day. Church attendance is a benefit and blessing of a free society, and it is a basic human need. Do not take this freedom lightly or one day it may be gone.
4. Support your local candidate or run for office yourself. Want change for the better? Make it happen. Take time to visit your local party headquarters when it matters most – immediately prior to an important election.
5. Watch out for your neighbors, and help them when there in genuine need. Like it or not, we are our brother’s keeper, and that implies moral obligation to those in need.
6. Get involved in worthwhile causes and para-church organizations such as the
Manhattan Declaration and so many others that are fighting for liberty
and the common good of humanity. Getting involved can be a lot easier that it seems and with the internet at your fingertips, one can "get involved" in about 5 minutes. Your voice counts!
7. Speak out whenever an opportunity presents itself. Let your voice be heard; be salt and light. Comment on news stories; write letters to the editor. We are convinced there is a quiet multitude in this country who will not speak because of the fear of ridicule. Speak out boldly anyway; and especially if you know in your heart that you are right, and you might just wind up turning a few heads in the right direction.
8. Live your life like your influence matters. It does. You cannot change the entire world, but you definitely can change your little corner of it.
9. Pray and believe in God. Make a conscious decision to have faith in His eventual triumph over all powers of darkness (both personally and corporately).
10. If you are married, love your mate; stay faithful in word and deed. If single, love your Creator, and seek a mate if you wish. Live a life of integrity.
11. Love your children. Raise them up with godly wisdom and discipline. Keep them from the horrible influences that are now so pervasive in the culture. They truly are the future.
12. Live for God first and foremost. Live for a purpose that is greater than yourself. As Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel always – if necessary use words.” Remember that there are no small rolls in God’s Kingdom. As