We have been repeatedly told that the cause of the state of the church today was the result of two world wars and their consequent aftermath of political, economic and social changes. Obviously, they say, increasing social pressures of various kinds, greater movements of the population and a hundred and one other factors have all combined to take people away from places of worship. Such an explanation is constantly given and this superficial diagnosis is all too easily accepted. But is it true?

There is only one adequate explanation for the state of the Christian church today: it is the apostasy of the church herself. The crucial damage was done by that fatal destructive Higher Criticism movement which came into being during the nineteenth century. The one essential question in the mind of anyone who investigates such a matter must be, “What robbed the church of its authority?” The certainty of its message was undermined. This is why the church lost its hold upon the masses. That is the real explanation of the present position.

In Jude 3 we read, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Here we are given a stirring call to the defence of the Faith. Such a call is not popular today. It is not even popular today in some evangelical circles. People will tell you that it is all ‘too negative’. They continually urge that we must keep on giving positive truth. They will tell us that we must not argue and we must never condemn. But we must ask, “How can you fight if you are ever afraid of wounding an enemy?” “How can you rouse sleeping fellow-warriors with smooth words?” God forbid that we find ourselves at the bar of judgment and face the charge that we contracted out from love of ease, or for fear of man, or that we failed to do our duty in the great fight of the Faith. We must–we must fight for the faith in these momentous times!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the state of the church, circa 1954

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