Listen to the Church’s Silence
June 20, 2023
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
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When considering the spiritual condition of a preacher and a church, it is important to listen to the silence. Listen to what is not being preached as well as to what is being preached, what is not being emphasized as well as what is being emphasized.

Look at the sermon titles. Look at the Bible conference themes. Are there any clear warnings of the issues that are weakening and destroying fundamental Baptists everywhere? Any sermons on separation, and I mean plain sermons that name names and give facts and get right down to where we live? Any sermons on the dangers of and misuse of social media? Any sermons about how that a huge percentage of professing Christians are entertaining themselves to death? Any sermons about cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit? Any sermons on modesty, and I mean really practical sermons? (There should be
plenty of these in this immodest day and age.) Any sermons on contemporary music? (There should be many sermons here, and they should contain real practical education on the subject.) Any practical sermons on rock/hip hop music, video games, and other things that are devouring the youth? Any sermons on compromising fundamental Baptists? Any sermons on Reformed theology? Any sermons on the imminent return of Christ and its importance as a doctrine? (This should be mentioned in practically every sermon.) Any sermons on a regenerate church membership? Any sermons identifying and warning about New Evangelicalism and contemporary evangelicalism? Any sermons about Southern Baptist or denominational Baptist compromise and apostasy? Any sermons warning about compromised fundamental Baptist schools, giving the plain facts, exposing what is happening? Any sermons about shallow evangelism that produces professions without possessions? Any sermons about fathers being the spiritual leaders of the home? Any sermons about mothers being the keepers of the home?

New Evangelicalism is first characterized not by the error that is preached, but by the truth that is neglected.

This is evident in the few remaining fundamental Bible churches, as we have seen, and the same thing is happening among fundamental Baptists.

It is described as follows by Pastor Simeon Western in Australia:

“I am mainly familiar with Australian Independent Baptists so will base my comments on the scene here, but I suspect it is similar in the USA. Obviously I am not familiar with every IFB church in Australia, but out of the ones I know, there are only around 10-12 I could recommend with any confidence. My understanding is that there are approximately 200 Independent Baptist Churches in Australia.

On paper, most IFB churches in Australia are orthodox and sound in doctrine. But sadly, from my observation, the subtle seeds of compromise and apostasy have taken root which will soon yield bitter fruit. It is true that some of the existing pastors, many of whom are aging, may only take their compromise so far, but they have set the wheels of compromise in motion that will gain rapid speed once they leave their posts and the younger generation takes over. They have taken the first steps down the slippery slope and the downgrade has begun!

Broadly speaking, Independent Baptists seem to have lost their appetite for the whole counsel of God and there is a definite resistance in large sections of the IFB [Independent Fundamental Baptist] movement in Australia against strong warnings on key issues of the hour. Many preachers are happy to raise a loud voice on issues where all are in agreement and where they are pretty well guaranteed a slap on the back and a hearty ‘Amen’ from their preacher friends (e.g. standing for the KJV). They are good at sounding the trumpet on the parts of the wall where the enemy is not attacking right now! But let a preacher dare to plunge the sword of the Spirit into some of the more subtle corruption beneath the surface in our churches (e.g. the inroads the devil is making through social media, contemporary Christian music, immodesty etc.) and he can pretty well expect either a hostile response on the one hand or an apathetic/indifferent, ‘couldn’t care less’ response on the other!

“I can now speak with some personal experience. Last year I warned about dangers creeping into the NBF (National Baptist Fellowship) here in Australia, and, sadly,
my warning was largely met with a wall of silence. Words of support only came from a very small remnant of churches who are not enslaved by IBF politics. Men who in days gone by would have been willing to make a strong stand on such things, stood by in silence and failed to declare themselves on the side of God’s truth. I received a couple of hostile responses, but what was most alarming to me was that the majority response was one of silence, indifference and apathy.

“It revealed to me that only a small remnant REALLY care about such things anymore. Of course many preachers will still say they stand for such things in theory, but very few seem prepared to carry that over into the realm of practice in taking an actual stand on a key issue. 

“I have also observed that the IFB movement in our country is full of politics! I used to think Independent Baptists were pretty well free of politics but the more time goes on, the more I realize that the opposite is true. The pressure of politics is very real in our churches and this is one of the main reasons men won’t speak up, I believe. The unwritten laws of the Baptist club prevail far too often!

“Another thing that concerns me is
the lack of older men willing to take a stand. Much of the blame for the downgrade in our churches has been laid at the feet of the younger generation and that is not without warrant. Young men often are the ones leading the way into compromise and I will be the first to acknowledge that. However, I have observed that increasingly there are also many ‘old prophets’ who will oppose a young man trying to take a good stand for the Lord. (Read 1 Kings 13.) For years growing up, we would hear strong, challenging preaching to the younger men to stand up and ‘walk the old paths’ and take a firm stand for the Word of God. Now there are a few young men like myself who DO want to walk the old paths, take a strong stand for the truth, and herald the whole counsel of God, but now some of the same older men are slamming us for taking such a stand! Or if they don’t outright oppose, the silence is deafening.

“I thank God there are still some older men not in that category who seek to come alongside us younger warriors for the truth and strengthen our hands in the battle, but I am finding they are rare. For me personally, this has been a source of discouragement at times” (Simeon Western, email, May 22, 2020).

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