When Society Gets Their gods Back
As a Christian I wonder what affect COVID 19 will have on the state of the Church. Will this weaken the church in America or strengthen her? I recently read some amazing incites about the state of Christianity during COVID from an unlikely source. Those incites did not come from John Macarthur or Franklin Graham but Hulk Hogan. The WWE wrestling legend in a recent article published in the Tampa Bay Times made a series of comments that tapped into the spiritual state of our nation. He did not tell us to say our prayers and eat our vitamins as all devoted “hulkamaniacs” remember from the Hogan golden days but he did preach a profound sermon in a small way about American idolatry.
As quoted in the Tampa Bay Times, Hogan wrote via Instagram “In three short months just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship,” He later wrote. “God said you want to worship athletes; I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians; I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors. I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money; I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.” What an unexpected and profound statement by a man that body slams people for a living. He then quoted from 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people which are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Whether we agree or disagree with Hogan’s conjectures completely depends on opinion but I think Hogan may be on to something. If we simply put our own views aside for a moment and simply ask the question: What if Hulk Hogan is right? What if God has taken our idols away for this brief time to cause us to repent and turn to God? If Hogan is correct then more questions must be answered. What happens when society gets their gods back? What happens when the American Church gets their other lovers back?
Currently in the midst of the pandemic the numbers are elevated with web and cyber church options available. Churches that have Facebook Live, Live website options and Instagram are seeing a high volume of views. Many churches that desperately needed to upgrade their social media and technological outreach methods have been forced to do so in the midst of the crisis. Therefore, this situation has made the church appreciate the privilege of gathering for worship when before many pastors were struggling to fill their sanctuaries on a weekly basis.
Sooner or later the light is going to break through and the dark cloud is going to lift. I anticipate a gradual return to church but not an instant flood. Federal and state governments will reopen but some people will be afraid to go back right away. It will be a different site for pastors from their pulpits. They will see congregations spread out and faces covered with medical masks. There will be a wake-up call for many lukewarm Christians and bring back believers to a refreshed state of worship. I am not sure if this will bring Christians back to church in the long term? That is yet to be seen. This could be a positive landmark in Christian history that turned the American Church back to God. However, the cynical side of me says that people’s appreciation for worship corporately will be short lived and as soon as the distractions of money, sports, entertainment and leisure return all of us will go back to our normal lukewarm practices. Unfortunately, many may feel that in the months away from church they survived and can simply watch the services online. They will learn to live without church.
The only way this pandemic will bring about a change in the church is if God brings a true internal miracle in the hearts of the people. If this causes people to look to God and repent of neglecting the worship of God then this change will stick for the long-term. Nevertheless, if people simply draw closer to God to end the pandemic then in a New York minute they will go back to their former distractions. If the church truly wants God and God alone then this will be a spiritual transformation for the American church but if they only want relief from isolation then this will only be a temporary reflection. We will know for sure when society gets their gods back.
Dr. Josh Phillips
I think that as the true Gospel is preached we will experience a great awakening. However, as all other great awakenings, it will have its time and society will hunger more for the world than the Word.
Christians must understand repentance and that they are wrath deserving sinners. Nothing from them saved them from wrath. It was entirely a gift from God. They must draw close to God and forsake themselves, dying to self and wholeheartedly to God. They must be born again and be a fruitful tree. They must love as God loves; it must be an agape love; no other form of love will suffice. So we can rejoice when this passes. But, we must give ourselves over completely to God else we fall into the enticement of the world.
To live eternally, we must die with Him!
Great job Josh. I hope and pray that this wakes some of them up. God sure has a way of showing us whose in charge. This would be a great time for every knee to bow. Thanks again for a great blog. Love and blessings, Jerry
It has been reported that North Korean leader Kim Jung Un has suffered a heart attack; some reports say he died, some a comma, some in a vegetated state: I don't know and I view it all as speculation at this point, however, I'd like to ask that all of us pray for him and his nation at this crucial time.
In further news today, it is also reported that middle eastern free radio and TV is delivering the Gospel to hundreds of thousands of homes during the lock down. God is alive and well and He is busy! Praise Him, Praise Him!
We need to pray that people have true repentance and humble themselves before God. We also need to disciple them so they can feel Godâs love more tangibly and become rooted in the Word and our church community.