The Polarizing Church
We live in the age of dumbing down. We have so dumbed down education that a high school diploma is available to anyone, and is rather meaningless once obtained. We have so dumbed down the church’s teaching that it is unlikely to offend anyone and very unlikely to inspire anyone.
The church does not polarize people as it once did. The New Testament church was hated much more than the church of today. The New Testament church was loved much more than the church of today. Few today hate the church as the early church was hated. Few today love the church as the church was loved by those early disciples. People today feel that they can take or leave the church -- it does not much matter.
People today see the church as a religious club, where you might find some enjoyable fellowship. They do not see the church as the place to turn for the answers to the deepest questions of life; they do not see the church as the manifestation of the wisdom of God or the fullness of Christ (Eph 1:22-23; 3:10); they do not find the church to be a place where the secrets of their hearts are revealed and their sin is confronted.
It is not generally a good thing to be a polarizing person, yet Jesus polarized his generation as no man before or since. His church, if it will have the courage to teach as he taught, will elicit a similar reaction. We will have to endure hatred if we faithfully teach as Jesus taught; but this is the only way to inspire the devotion he inspired. The true church is a polarizing church, because Jesus is a polarizing Lord.
We cannot inspire the world today with the overwhelming sense of purpose and the heavenly devotion that the early church inspired in its world, unless we are willing to endure the persecution that they endured. We really cannot choose whether or not to be polarizing, we can only choose whether or not we will be Christ’s church.