Under The Shadow Of Our Steeple: Unintended Prophecy?
May 16, 2011
By Rev. Michael Bresciani
In 2005 the extremely popular contemporary Christian soft rock group Casting Crowns released a song title that has become a much beloved song throughout the world. The title, “Does Anybody Hear Her” poses the question that every young person in this generation has asked at sometime in their lives.
The lyrics to the song were written by band leader Mark Hall who has helped his group to win GMA Dove and Grammy awards and has produced albums that easily sailed into platinum status. Whether Hall meant his words to be prophetic or not, is not fully known. Any Christian group that practices singing to lead others to Christ already knows that when conducting themselves under the power of the Holy Spirit the prophetic is not all that unusual.
Whether unwittingly or intentional a couple of lines in the song describe the state of the church and the sad results of the predicted apostasy of the church as we approach the last days. In the second verse of the song are these seemingly prophetic words.
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
The words describe a young woman who is in a deep search for meaning even as she is in the middle of making life changing decisions that will lead to heartache or worse. She wants inner peace and could use the best counsel and guidance but travels ahead without it, even though she is directly in the shadow of the church. It is a case of her missing the church and the church completely missing her. It is today.
The prophesied apostasy of the church has been underway and traveling at top speed away from the guidance that once was central to its existence. In this generation more than any other before it, the church has begun to leave the only hope it had of pleasing God or carrying on in what is known as true discipleship.
In new and twisted versions of the gospel message, adherents gather themselves to things like the prosperity gospel, the emergent church, dominionism and a plethora of others. Whatever they may call themselves they are made up of two distinct groups, the fluffers and the scoffers.
The fluffers are throwing off the essentials of the faith like salvation by grace, the moral teachings of the Bible and other basic doctrines of the scripture. They have opted in to a more personal and eclectic gospel of their own making. They are those the Bible says will not, “endure” sound doctrine as the end of time approaches. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2Ti 4: 3)
The scoffers are those who have just grown tired of waiting for the fulfillment of scriptures and the prophesied return of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3: 3, 4)
The church can and does go blithely forward even without the presence, blessings and the authority of the Lord but it becomes an empty shell. It is a form without substance. It may be deeply involved in social issues and have dozens of seemingly worthwhile projects underway at any given time, but if you are looking for God in the midst; don’t hold your breath.
The Apostle Paul warned his young disciple Timothy that churches would begin to do this in his time but more so in the last days. Rather than trying to undo the effect of these churches Paul warned Timothy to just steer clear of them. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Ti 3: 5)
This generation has been pounded unmercifully with academic secularism and can no longer endure being ostracized or the ridicule and the outright laughter laid upon it for believing in Biblical tenants. It has been told repeatedly that science has all the answers. It has lost sight of the fact that true Christianity is predicated on a historical fact, the life, words and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is satisfied to hear the voices of those who surmise, expostulate and devise constructs to explain everything that happened untold millions of years in the past.
They are overcome with the preponderance of information laid upon them without which they can’t gain social acceptance or a passing grade. Going with the flow they have failed to see that making statements about what happened millions of years ago is not science, (Repeatable observable phenomena) but is speculation, or in terms I use all too often, it is prior philosophic postulation. In lay terms this is largely guesswork.
It is not evolution alone that has sucked in the brains of an entire generation but it is revolution as well. The sexual revolution said to have begun in the seventies has catapulted into a modern lifestyle that goes almost universally unchallenged. The hot pursuit of all that is hot has left a generation cold toward God.
The idea of chastity is archaic to today’s youth and any mention of Biblical teachings of morality from abstinence to sexual deviance like homosexuality is an absurdity in the minds of our kids. A recent video that went viral almost out of the gate features the remarks of one Minnesota lawmaker proclaiming that gay is holy. Representative Steve Simon (D) said, “How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God wants them around?” (CBN News May 5, 2011) It is hard to believe that a theology like this could even emerge in someone’s mind, much less be touted as a reasonable viewpoint to be voiced by an elected official in the United States.
There is no need to quote even one single scriptural passage or verse to answer this amazing assertion. That God has made man is a scriptural foregone, but that he has made him to sin by defying his clear commands is somewhere between cuckoo and blasphemy. For the true theologian it adds new definition to the word, recalcitrant.
The idea that abortion is a choice but sexual preference is not, is a sure indicator that we are reaching new lows in our generational apostasy. But the idea that God is responsible for all this indicates that we may well be approaching rock bottom. Little wonder that the Bible concludes that the last generation approaches the place of no return and moves into the realm of moral hopelessness.
Casting Crowns seemed to allude to the young woman’s search for hope which after all eludes her completely even as she stands in the very shadow of the church. Here is where we see that the church has failed its primary mission. It is not an exclusive mission for some churches and not for others but it is a universal command that Christ gave to every church. It is called the “great commission” and the entire church has been directed to carry it out.
The resurrected Savior stood before his disciples and seconds before he ascended to be with his Father he said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt 28: 19, 20)
In the Crown’s song we see that the message of hope the girl was looking for was tucked away in the hearts of those in the church but no one revealed that hope or tried to explain it to her. The failure to carry out the great commission is costly. Our silence is the opposite of the commission and the antithesis of the teaching of the Apostle Peter who said, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1Peter 3: 15)
One of the saddest aspects of the last days’ apostasy in the church is that many people are ashamed to admit their connection to Christ. They lean toward theistic evolution as a compromise or they soften the commands and the call to sanctified behaviors with the worn out phrase “but no one is perfect.” If asked to explain their faith or how they came to be connected to Christ they are ashamed.
Apostasy is prophesied but it is not without remedy. It can only be remedied on a one on one basis. Each person who names Christ as his Lord must ask the question of themselves. But in this question the following words must be contemplated very carefully.
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8: 38)
The church must do much more than cast the shadow of its steeple upon this generation. It must continue in the great commission and proclaim the hope that is within us to every ear that will hear and receive it. God help us.