"The church has failed to keep divine objectives in view because she has neglected the prophetic message of the Word of God. This neglect has caused Christians bewilderment, confusion and ignorance in a world that seems to be disintegrating around them. Many Christians needlessly wring their hands and ask, 'What is going to happen to us? What does the future hold?' Many of them are filled with fear, even though our Lord said, 'Fear not.'
"I believe there is a worldwide tragedy as a result of a neglect of the prophetic Scriptures. Through the centuries men and women have been experimenting with their own social, national and international programs. They have been trying to bring about a righteousness that is not of God and, therefore, it is not obtainable. Instead, it results in a recurring national collapse and sometimes in worldwide calamity. We are heading for one of those collapses at the present hour.
"Today, when the church should be leading the world out of the darkness that covers the Earth, it is all too obvious that we are unable to do so because of our spiritual impotence and lack of knowledge. The church today stands sadly in the midst of the ever-increasing ruins of a civilization the church itself helped to create but seemingly has little power or even desire to save.
"Acts 15:14-18 is the record of the first all-church conference. It was held in Jerusalem and concerned the work of the church in the first century. The chairman of the conference was the Apostle James. He said: "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: "After this I will return and will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things." Known to God from eternity are all His works.
"Thus the program of the church is outlined. It begins with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It continues with the Great Commission to go into all the world and proclaim the message of the Gospel.
"The church is not a political organization or a social reform society. Individual Christians may work for political reforms and for social betterment, and in many cases we should do so. As the salt of the earth, we have a responsibility for being the preservative of society. As the light of the world, we must let our light so shine that people seeing our good works may glorify our Father in heaven.
But the church must keep on the main highway outlined in the Word of God and witness to the nations not only concerning the truth of salvation but also the truth of the program of God for the whole world, especially witnessing to the glorious consummation of the age when Jesus Christ is going to return..."
Another example of Christian activism is slavery, which was accepted in 18th century Britain as a profitable business. The Parliament had a Christian, however, William Wilberforce, one Briton who hated slavery with a passion and with some ardent Christian supporters such as John Newton, the former slavetrader and later a pastor and composer of the words for the hymn, "Amazing Grace," continued a vigorous, never ending campaign in a hostile Parliament, speaking out against slavery, and though it took until the end of his life, the conscience of the British people was awakened, and slavery was finally abolished by the British Parliament within all of Britain and all its colonies. Thus, Britain abolished the hideous practice and curse of slavery decades before America did--all because Christians were brave enough to speak out against these social injustices and inhumane customs. It is now for Islam to abolish slavery, which it denies it is harboring--and yet the world is complicit, its conscience sleeping, while the hideous practice continues across the whole of Africa and also in Muslim parts of Asia, and extends even into America, with slaves brought in to serve as unpaid nannies and other domestic "help."--an evil that the liberal U.S. media is ignoring to this date.
John Wesley preached the Gospel, from the whole Bible, as everyone would agree. He did not leave out the parts that dealt with righteousness and injustice in society. Right alongside of the Gospel he also promoted a strong policy of social reform and charity. He knew the Book of James and that it said that pure religion was to visit the widow and orphan in their distress. Anyone who held to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the truth of salvation and yet turned a blind eye to the distress of the needy was, in Jame's view and also in John Wesley's, no Christian at all but a self-deceived man.--Ed.