The American Captivity of the Church by Dr. Michael Horton
What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over a half century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, â€œYes, sirâ€ and â€œNo, maâ€™am,â€ and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached.
It is easy to become distracted from Christ as the only hope for sinners. Where everything is measured by our happiness ratherthan by Godâ€™s holiness, the sense of our being sinners becomes secondary, if not offensive. If we are good people who have lost our way but with the proper instructions and motivation can become a better person, we need only a life coach, not a redeemer. We can still give our assent to a high view of Christ and the centrality of his person and work, but in actual practice we are being distracted from â€œlooking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faithâ€ (Heb. 12:2). A lot of the things that distract us from Christ these days are even good things. In order to push us offpoint,all that Satan has to do is throw several spiritual fads,moral and political crusades, and other â€œrelevanceâ€ operations into our field of vision. Focusing the conversation on usâ€”our desires, needs, feelings, experience, activity, and aspirationsâ€”energizes us. At last, now weâ€™re talking about something practical and relevant.