It began as a hastily put-together protest in lower Manhattan. By using email and social media such as Facebook, about 1,000 protestors gathered on Sept. 17 to voice their anger at the economic situation in our nation and what they perceived as the government's role in the growing economic disparity.
Soon, the Occupy Wall Street movement grew to tens of thousands, spreading to many other cities across our nation and even the world. In city after city, angry mobs have taken over parks and gathered in front of government buildings, holding signs and chant-ing slogans.
The OWS movement has certainly gotten a lot of attention. But many people, even those who sympathize with some of the anger and share some of the same concerns that sparked the movement, have pointed out that it seems to lack a clear and cohesive message. While some protestors have articulated lists of specific concerns and proposed specific remedies, many see OWS as little more than a bunch of angry, disorganized people (with a few radical anarchists thrown in), shouting and chanting, but with no discernible focus. And so they dismiss the entire movement as irrelevant, viewing it as little more than a temporary distraction.
Whether that's a fair assessment or not, many people today seem to have a similar view of the Christian faith. Christianity is still the predominant religion in our nation and in our world today. But what seems to be lacking among many Christians and Christian churches these days is a clear message. In denomination after denomination, the teachings of scripture have been watered down or abandoned altogether. Basic tenets of Christianity, such as the deity of Christ and his atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, are questioned or denied outright. Moral principals of the Bible are presented as if they do not apply anymore. Replacing clear proclamations about sin and grace are vague calls for justice and tolerance. Social activities have replaced evangelism.
It's no wonder that many people view Christianity as irrelevant. With a growing lack of a clear message, for many, Christianity has become a movement, not a faith - an easily-dismissed movement.
And that's a crying shame. God gave the Christian church a clear message to proclaim. Our marching orders are to condemn sin and comfort sinners with the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. There is nothing unclear about God's word; no ambiguity in the Bible. God demands holiness. We fail to meet that demand. Sinners deserve hell. We fall under this condemnation. But God loves sinners, and sent his son to take away all our sins. This is the message of the Christian faith. Our marching orders are to proclaim this message loudly and clearly to the world.
Paul warned the Christian church in Corinth by asking this question, "If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8). May Christians today heed that warning and answer that question with the resounding and crystal clear message of the gospel.