The Dead Battery Church
|Let us discuss the Church of
the Dead Battery where there is no personal relationship with
Christ to generate energy. The Church of the Dead Battery may have a
beautiful aesthetic ritual repeated for a pleasing sleepy warmth Sunday after Sunday in the
pews. There may be new sermons that fit in with the boring theology of the times. Let us say
something on why democracy
doesn’t work from the high pulpit in an expensive church where it is
evident Christ isn’t exactly working
either. The church emphasis is on culture, refinement, respectability
and business common sense. Is this what Christianity has degenerated into? Yes, because the
basically atheistic assumptions of the church are based on the reasoning of a pitiful anti-clerical and
What is evident in the Church of the Dead Battery is materialism. The emphasis is on more money and perhaps how God can get you more money than you need. Daily bread is evidently coming in. What is wanted is a delicatessen. God is to be a means to this end. Those who have plenty pray for God to give them more. Don’t you know God is vitally interested in answering such prayers? The primary interest of Jesus is said to be not spiritual elevation, not to feed the poor, not to dispel the spiritual fog, not to make aware the ignorant, but to enable well-to-do people in unusually selfish families find more success so they can look down on others who cannot yet display as much materialistic splendor as they would like to impress people.
What is evident in the Church of the Dead Battery is smug respectability. The members of the Church of the Dead Battery see themselves not as as sinners but as winners. Above all the Church of the Dead Battery does not furnish transcendence, compassion or social involvement that their society needs. It is far too lost in the admiration of its narcissistic self, its up to date virtue from secular seminaries. Above all the dysfunctional Church of the Dead Battery has a patronizing attitude towards the spiritual side of living.
What does the Church of the Dead Battery miss? It misses the very bones of the Christian faith. It misses suffering to redeem the world with Christ. It misses a sense of reverence before God. It misses the personal relationship with God who has a personality. Instead God is thought of as some sort of far away philosophical first principle of no use whatever. It misses the struggle for a divine social morality that tests man and glorifies God. It does not understand transcendent areas beyond mere respectability. It does not allow the opening of the self and soul in transcendent surrender to God. These churches may argue they love God, but if they did, they would live God. The last thing most dead congregations of today do is live God.
Are these churches carrying a cross with the Lord. No, I see mostly only comfortable churches who have settled down in an American Gomorrah of television filth, an unbelievably low morality, a lack of respect for reverence of God. The churches have little or no bravery to fight for the moral tone in its society. The children of these mediocre good people often go to secular public schools openly hostile to Christ. There adolescents’ minds are enchained by their peers, having been placed on secular anti-Christian adolescent reservations called “schools” all over America. What can be expected?
The churches with no energy, the churches with the dead batteries, all over the world, and especially in Europe, are the result of churches that have lost the secret of the union of believers in Christ with Christ in a personal relationship. It is this personal relationship, this nterior life with God, that generates most of the energy of the church. When this is missing, there are declining churches with dead batteries: dying ones seen in America and dead ones seen in European countries long fallen from grace. What has been the answer of many modern churches to this situation? It has certainly not been to preach Christ, Crucified, Risen, Living and Waiting for a relationship with you and every person. Instead the seminaries of the modern type have turned out ministers preaching all and every non-priority item except Christ. Christ must be the priority in preaching, this call to Christ including your having an interior life with Him as best you can and grace allows.
Instead I am amazed, truly taken aback, at the nonsense coming out of the so called “modernistic churches.” There is in England a Vicar holding a parish who publicizes he does not believe in God. Then there is constant preaching everywhere in dead battery churches on secondary items not of primary importance. Very often it is elitist politics.
Of first importance is your spiritual union with Christ. It is important that you receive Christ in your heart. Then the church should be a well whose water of living life is supplied to all parties, whatever their political views. And if we do not agree, “judge not that ye be not judged.”
A person’s political views should be a matter of his conscience, mind and Christ. If the minister has political views, he may hold them privately, but not preach them as the Word of God from the pulpit. It is in the Word of God that all people should have a spiritual relationship with God, and this should be preached, but it is not in God’s Word what everyone must believe in politics and form of government. As long as Christ is King, conscience is King, and a man votes his conscience.
So I believe the Church should influence indirectly but not force directly. What views members of churches may hold together is their business, but the churches should never succumb to being political parties demanding mass conformity as a necessary part of Christian belief.
Nor should the churches lose their balance over creeds as well as politics. Creeds are not as important as Christ. I have known many fine men and women who seemed to me to know Christ, but it would have taken a lobotomy to get me to agree on their creed. Because I see Christ active in them on some things, does not mean I may agree with them passively on everything. Nor do I think the Word of God demands it. So knowing Christ is to be seen as a priority above creeds. To hear a creed preached always in a church that seems to know not Christ is to me a sad thing.
This is the first priority, the first duty of a church, and what I consider God’s great message: Preach Christ, Crucified, Risen, Living and Waiting for an interior relationship with you. You need God and God needs you to be a redemptive instrument of His grace. Churches who preach this as their first priority will have members who can discover the enduring energy God’s grace gives to God’s companions.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.