KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–American churches could take a cue from their Corinthian counterparts, according to revival historian Richard Owen Roberts. Unlike the Corinthian believers in New Testament days, American believers remain unrepentant, he said.
“We are on the fast track to destruction, and the church is the militant host leading the way because the people of God will not repent,” Roberts said during a Feb. 15 conference hosted by the Midwestern Center for Biblical Revival. Speaking on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Roberts was the featured speaker of the one-day study of revival.
Roberts likened the condition of the church to that of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament Book of Judges. Instead of turning from her sin, Roberts said, the church in America is complaining about her judgment.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as much like Israel as the America of today,” Roberts said. “We’re busy murmuring and complaining against our leaders, and we’re too ignorant to realize that God is our enemy.”
He said he believes God has withdrawn his manifest presence from America in judgment on the church. While God is all-present, Robert said, he will not manifest his presence to unrepentant sinners.
“What goes to hell — sin or sinners?” Roberts asked. “God hates unrepentant sinners. His wrath is against them every day.” Instead of crying out to God because he has withdrawn his presence, American ministers are building up churches by their own efforts, he argued. While God is not dead, “God could have been dead and these churches could have been built.
“Woe to the man who determines to do God’s work for him,” Roberts warned.
Roberts also decried sin in the lives of ministers. As an example, he spoke of a pastor who had confessed to him over the phone that he was addicted to pornography on the Internet’s World Wide Web. “Most men in ministry who are addicted to evil are still in ministry,” he observed.
The church today seems to be callous to God’s judgment, he said. “The sad thing is that in America we can stand the judgment we’re under,” Roberts said. “The church right now seems to have an infinite capacity to withstand God’s judgment.”
Instead of recognizing the difficulties faced in America as God’s judgment, the churches blame Satan or others, Roberts said.
“Our problem is not that Satan has attacked us, but that God has become our enemy because we have sinned and not repented,” Roberts said. “When are we going to face the fact that the judgment we’re under is from God and stop blaming others and start crying out to God?”
One reason the American church does not cry out to God is pride, Roberts submitted. God will not dwell with the individual or entity that has pride in its heart, he said.
“The thing that grips evangelicals is base pride,” Roberts said. “God always holds the proud in heart at arm’s distance, and now would be a good time to remember how long God’s arm is.”
Roberts called on churches and denominations to judge themselves in order to avoid God’s judgment, which he said comes immediately upon those who sin. Turning to chapter seven of 2 Corinthians, Roberts said Paul commended the Corinthians for the earnestness and zeal of their repentance.
“The Corinthians did what the American church has not done in this century — they repented,” Roberts said.