The Starving of the Church-III -- By: Jim Elliff

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 01:3 (Summer 1992)
Article: The Starving of the Church-III
Author: Jim Elliff

The Starving of the Church-III

Jim Elliff

“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,” says Proverbs 19:2a. Yet that is exactly what we have in contemporary evangelicalism. As I said in the initial article of this series, “Doctrine is out!” The church is big and busy, but there is a pallor underneath the cosmetics which is akin to that of corpses in the morgue. We are in desperate need of reformation and revival, and no less one than the other. For this reason, we now approach the third doctrine in this series: The Judgment of Believers.

Each of the five doctrinal treatments in this series stands alone and finds its unity with the others only in the fact that each has historically been at the heart of revivals, is prone to cause conviction, and unfortunately has been set aside or distorted. This particular teaching before us now has generally been absent from the church since before most of us were born. Learn it, live it, expand upon it, and preach it for the sake of reformation and revival in our day.

The Judgment of Believers

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people on board and 11 on the ground. The sudden explosion caught the world by surprise. Yet later examination revealed, in fact, no one should have been caught off guard. Officials of U.S. carriers in Frankfurt were told to be on the lookout for an altitude-detonated explosive hidden in a radio or cassette player as early as November 10. “It is now horribly clear,” said Labor M. P. John Prescott, “that the warnings actually identified the company, the type of plane, the route, the period of time and the way in which the explosive was contained” (“The Warnings That Weren’t,” Newsweek: March 27, 1989, p. 42).

Similarly, God’s judgments often seem abrupt, as if there were no preparation time for them. Most Christians are taken aback by the thought of a God who judges even believers. But He has warned us well. His warnings have

been given way ahead of time. They may be disregarded, but they are as obvious as the stop signs on our streets. The consequences of forgetting those well-revealed but unheeded warnings often come upon us with the suddenness of a mid-air explosion! “Our God is a consuming fire!”

It is not just judgment now that believers must consider—there is a judgment to follow. Paul said, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Rom. 14:10). What could all this mean? How does God’s judgment relate to both His love and His forgiveness? Are we really going to f...

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