Churches ought to have windows. That makes sense, doesn't it? But we are not thinking here about the windows in the buildings that we use for our meetings. We are thinking of the windows in the real churches, the assemblies of people that belong to the Lord. The gatherings of the saints need windows.
Of all the legitimate uses for windows, surely one of the most important is the view they give us on the world outside. With our Bibles in our hands and a prayer on our lips we can look outside our fellowships and not only see the world we live in, but actually see through it. Our perspective is a biblical perspective and our eyesight is sharpened through prayer and meditation on the Word of God.
Everyone of us looks out on our world without realising it. We do it when we read the newspaper, or catch the news on the wireless. We do it when we subscribe to an email news service. We do it when we read the Biblical Fundamentalist.
And we have a choice what we see from our windows.
I once had a newspaper boy who liked to throw my morning paper in the front door and hit the metal filing cabinet beside my desk. (He was the first person we saw come to Christ in that city.) Today it seems that somebody is throwing The International Rag straight through my window several times a day.
Surely it is wise to close the window (and pull the curtains) when our faith and morals are threatened by a 50 kg dirt sheet that is delivered at warp speed from Sodom. The media is full of that sort of thing. The wise man of Proverbs admonished his son with these words, “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” Proverbs 19:27
So is it biblical to be an informed Christian, and to attend a church that is aware of its world? Well, yes, it is, but with limitations. A word ought to be said about the size of the windows in our churches. Windows that are too large weaken the church. Too much knowledge of the world results in structural failure. Windows that are too small limit our understanding. There ARE times when we need to pull the curtains and shut out the sights the world wants us to see. “But I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” (Romans 16:19b) It would have been better for Lot's daughters to have never seen what their father's covetousness exposed them to.
On the other hand, Noah knew why God told him to build the ark. He knew because God told him and he knew because he had eyes in his head. Joseph knew something of the coming international consequences of the seven years of drought. He knew because God gave him understanding of Pharaoh's dream and because he reasoned by faith. Moses observed the misery of his people in Egypt and understood their plight, even before he heard the call of God from the burning bush. The apostles discerned many of the political and spiritual intrigues of the Roman Empire, without any help from the conspiracy theorists of their day. They knew because they had windows to see through.
We would be unwise if we chose to always keep the curtains closed, or to board up the windows of our churches, or worse yet, to have no windows at all. I Chron. 12:32 tells us of the men of Issachar who had “understanding of the times.” They looked out of their windows and discerned their world. It is only fitting then that pastors of churches should keep their people informed of men and movements that help or hinder the work of the Lord. We dare not build ivory towers without windows, though they be ever so straight and ever so narrow and ever so denominationally correct.
Maybe we could understand the importance of having windows if we had a few questions to ponder. As a pastor, should I be aware that the old theological liberalism (call it modernism, if you like) is enjoying a renaissance? Should I know what this neo-liberalism is called? Should I be learning who the leaders of the Emergent Church are before my church members begin buying their books? Should I be alert to the false gospel (that Christ's death upon the cross has no saving power) that is preached by every health, wealth, and prosperity tele(fraud)gelist? Should I know where my people can get good books for free on the net? Should I know where to look for thought provoking articles on the preservation of God's Word? Should I be interested in the Repentance Blacklist? Should I be alert, awake, and vigilant? Or should I pull the curtains on the windows in my church, and hope that no error will ever come knocking at our door?
It is no exaggeration to say that the watchman of Isaiah 21:11, were he alive today, might be totally ignorant of the threats to his city. We might call out to him, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” And his reply could come back to us, “I know not, for there are no windows for me to see if it is our enemies or our friends who are standing at the gates.
Vigilance is a word seldom heard these days. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your enemy the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world...” I Peter 5:8,9
It may be time to build some windows in your church.
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