Reformed Quarterly Volume 8, Issue 4
Twenty years ago, Francis Schaeffer observed that, “Everywhere men are asking if the church has a future as we come to the close of the twentieth century.” Now, as the last decade of the century quickly approaches, that question clamors for an answer. After all, we see a continuing decline and deterioration of Christian influence in the West. Current trends and projections are not encouraging. Beleaguered, the church often seems caught up in a struggle for survival.
But the Lord reigns. He controls the times and borders of nations — as well as our own lives. The years pass, nations rise and fall, we come and go, but the Word of God stands — forever. His kingdom shall come, and His will shall be done. Who can stand before Him? All the more reason not to give up or despair.
Of course the church has a future. How could anyone think otherwise? That really is not the question, in spite of the stressing circumstances in which many believers live. Rather, the question is, “What is your future in the church?” There is every reason to pause and ask, “How may I use my life wisely for the Lord so it will really count.? How may I be the best steward of the resources and opportunities He sends my way? The sooner you come to terms with the Lord and with His will for your life the better. Then, what you do for Him counts — forever. Your efforts won’t be wasted. And, if that is true for you, then it is also true for all the Lord’s people who together comprise the church. You are an integral part of His plan now and for the future. The important thing is to understand that plan and to participate cooperatively in it.
As the years pass, and you are swept along in the flow of time, it is easy to ignore the most important matters. You tend to get distracted by the urgency of the daily schedule and its typical stresses. Old age has a way of creeping up on you during the press of ordinary life. You don’t think of yourself as growing much older, but it happens, and before you know it life slips away and is wasted because it was too easy to accommodate, hoping to be accepted by others or perhaps merely attempting to survive the vicissitudes of life.
What is needed more than ever right now is a sense of identity and calling as the Lord’s people. We must trust Him and obey His Word. When you live that way, whether today, tomorrow, or in the twenty-first century, you can be sure of one thing — your life will count for the Lord. Your efforts will not be wasted. If we at RTS didn’t believe that we wouldn’t be here. But we are convinced that His hand is upon us and the ministry of our graduates.
For example, in this issue of Ministry you will meet RTS graduate Ken Mulholland, who has given the last thirteen years of his life to bring the gospel of Christ to the state of Utah –a mission field within our own country. You’ll also read the exciting story of new RTS professor of Missions Will Norton, a man who, along with his young bride, risked death to bring God’s Word to the Belgian Congo during World War II and has gone on to work tirelessly for the Lord in numerous fields.
We may not know what the future will bring, but we are sure that our sovereign Lord is in control and that His people — the church — have a great future.