Why had we not judged ourselves

i am a fan of land Cope’s work and she is taking part in an event in Glasgow on 19 September.

Below is an extract which shows why she has an important message to share.

 

You can book into the event here
Landa CopeThe following is an abridged extract from Chapter 1 of Landa Cope’s book, “The Old Testament Template – Rediscovering God’s Principles for Discipling Nations”:

Why had we not judged ourselves… and found ourselves wanting?

I was mindlessly channel surfing through scores of TV programs to pass the time. I landed on a British journalist who was saying that Christians believe that if many of them live in a community, it will affect that community for good.

The greater the Christian presence, the greater the benefit to the society at large. I agreed with the commentator; that is what we teach.

He then proposed to look at the most Christianised city in America to see how this influence works out practically. He defined ‘Christianised’ as the community with the largest percentage of believers regularly attending church. This, I thought, was a good conservative working definition of ‘Christianised’.

By that definition then, Dallas, Texas, was the most Christianised city in America at that time. More people per capita attended church on any given Sunday than any other community in the country. Church abound in Dallas, and a large number boast full pews. Our journalist proposed to look at the social demographics of Dallas to see how this “Christian blessing” worked out within that community.

He looked at various statistics and studies on crime, safety on the streets, police enforcement, and the justice and penal system. He looked at health care, hospitals, emergency care, contagious diseases, infant mortality rate, and the distribution of caregivers. He reviewed education – equality of schools, safety, test scores and graduation statistics. Jobs, housing, and general economics were evaluated. Can you get a job? Can you get housing? Does potential income match available housing? He looked at homelessness and programs for those unable to care for themselves. Is there equality regardless of colour, creed or income? And so on. Each of these categories was evaluated using racial and economic factors.

The TV host looked at the statistics and information you would be concerned about if you were going to raise your children in a community. Will my children be safe on the streets and at school? Can they get a respectable education? Will I be able to house, clothe and feed my family? Will my children have blatant exposure to drugs and other destructive influences? Can my family be protected from disease? Is adequate medical care available if they get sick? Can I get legal help and fairness in the judicial system? Are the police interested in our protection. And is all of this true regardless of my colour, nationality or creed?

About an hour of the program went by, and I was watching it alone. By the time my British host was done with the Dallas study, I was devastated. No one would want to live in a city in that condition. The crime, the decrepit social systems, the disease, the economic discrepancies, the racial injustice all disqualified this community from having an adequate quality of life. And this was the “most Christianised” city in America. I wanted to weep.

The program was not finished. The host took this devastating picture of a broken community to the Christian leaders and asked for their observations. He chose pastors of status and integrity, the kind of pastors Christian would respect. One by one, each pastor viewed the same facts that I had just seen about the condition of the city. With simplicity the narrator asked, “As a Christian leader, what is your response to the condition of your community?” Without exception, in various ways, they all said the same thing: “This is not my concern. I’m a spiritual leader.”

The program finished, the room was silent, and my world began to crumble. Many years of my work as a missionary have been spent addressing Christianity’s critics, specifically those in the media.

But if this journalist had turned the microphone to me for comment at the closing of his program, I would have been speechless. I was shocked to silence – by the facts.

I had no argument against the case this journalist had built. As Christians, we do say our faith, lived out, will influence a society toward good. We go beyond this. I have heard it said, and have taught, that it only takes 20 percent of a society believing anything to influence, even lead, the other 80 percent in a given direction. We teach that the gospel is good for a society, that its values will bless those beyond the members of faith. But the facts about Dallas did not support this claim. We must look at the facts! Dallas had considerably more than 20 percent professing Christians. Could we say that this city is the legacy of Christian influence?

I was reeling with implications and questions. Why had I not been honest enough to see the discrepancy between my teaching and the visible results?

Why had it taken a non-Christian to point these things out to me? How could we Christian leaders, say “quality of life” issues are not our concern? If the Gospel does influence all of society, how could America, with 78 percent of people identifying as Christian, be slipping from biblical values in so many arenas?

Slipping in justice, health care, and literacy? Slipping into crime, immorality, poverty, corruption, drug addiction, homelessness and more? How was it that I, and the myriad committed Christians I knew, had never realised this? Why had we not judged ourselves…and found ourselves wanting?

…Nothing had ever shaken my confidence in Christianity more than this television program. Now my feet were to the fire. As I battled with the questions this program’s revelations demanded, I could see at least three possible answers:
God does not exist.
God and/or God’s Word are not true. The Bible does teach that its values applied will influence society at large, but practically it does not work.
Christians today are not applying biblical values, and therefore we do not see the influence those truths should have in our world and have had in history.
In my heart I knew that the third option had to be the case. I had never been a Christian for primarily historical, emotional, or personal reasons. I am a follower of Christ because I believe the Bible is true and that whatever its teaching and principles are measured and applied, they will prove true. My faith was on the line, and I believed that the God I knew was up to the challenge. But I needed answers!

…With a dawning revelation that would change my understanding of missions and my life calling, God spoke simply and fundamentally: “The devastation you see is the fruit of preaching salvation alone, without the rest of the biblical message.”
“A gospel that does not deal with the issues of the day is not the gospel at all” – Martin Luther
Landa Cope’s realisation that a large Christian population didn’t benefit a community – and that Christians didn’t seem to care – provoked deep sadness, burning questions, and a passion to uncover how the gospel can truly bless society. The answers to her questions bring new hope.

Heads of state, corporation CEOs, church leaders and leaders of all spheres of society have been impacted and encouraged by Landa presentation of God’s template for transforming nations. It’s time to rethink long-held beliefs and learn how to bring a righteous, biblical, influence back into the culture in which we live!

Glasgow Prophetic Centre’s Kingdom Solutions conference is under two weeks away! – Come and hear Landa Cope, Emma Stark, Jim Ritchie and Catherine Brown, on Friday/Saturday 19-20 September 2014 in Glasgow.