“Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” Matthew 17:17
What does a perverse generation look like?
If I were to have answered this question in the past, I would have pointed out to you the perversions of other churches. That would make all of us feel better because, we would tell ourselves, at least we aren’t as bad as them. So, something like this:
In July 2020, Neland Ave. Christian Reformed Church (CRC) installed a homosexual woman, living in a same-sex marriage, as a deacon.
Reader, I was shocked and horrified to receive in the mail the November 2020 issue of The Banner, the official church paper of the CRC. The cover had three men holding hands, and the title was “Same Sex Relationships and the CRC.” Troubling enough. But turn to page 11, and what you see is a picture of two lesbians, with the caption which includes their names and the words, “members of Sherman St. CRC in Grand Rapids, MI.” The next page has a picture of a man and his “partner” who are members of First CRC in Toronto, Ontario. The article then allows these members to offer their wisdom to their denomination. Representative is this quote: “I would urge the CRC to stop thinking that the Bible alone has ‘the answer’ to every question it might have on these matters.”
My alma mater, Calvin University, has reached a new low. I received in my mailbox an article by the student body president at Calvin University. She is the first LGBTQ student body president. She is bisexual but identifies as queer because it includes a lot of identities.
A perverse generation, indeed.
But what about this?
What about a generation that shows more anguish when the NCAA basketball tournament is canceled than when divine worship services are canceled? What about you, reader? Compare your reaction to the news of your basketball game, volleyball game, or vacation being canceled because of COVID to your reaction when you heard you couldn’t go to church for weeks, even months.
What about a generation that fights tooth and nail to keep their businesses open, or their schools functioning, or their sporting events scheduled, but lays over and plays dead when the governor tells them not to worship? What about a generation that insists on its right to work, and goes back to work, but is content with only one service per Sunday for months on end, because, well, you know, COVID?
What about a generation that gathers for a choir concert and cries throughout the concert because of the beautiful music, to the extent that the minister who is asked to close with prayer finds it difficult to maintain his composure, yet that same generation doesn’t shed a tear when the perfect work of Christ is displaced or the gospel of Jesus Christ is compromised?
What about a generation that shows unflinching support for a political candidate, refusing even to hear one word of criticism about that candidate, yet shows complete and utter disinterest when a faithful elder is suspended and deposed, and is put under discipline for three years, for fulfilling the vows that he took before his God? Or stands idly by when faithful prophets are persecuted?
What about a generation that can talk nonstop about its favorite sports teams and is joyful beyond measure when they win but despondent and depressed for days afterward when that team loses to its crosstown rival, yet that same generation can’t describe the fundamentals of the Christian faith?
What about a generation that will debate endlessly on any number of topics, but when theological controversy arises, it immediately does everything in its power to quell it and to deny it exists, and then tries with might and main to ruin and destroy those who would engage in it?
What about a generation that wastes four to seven hours (or more) per day on their phones in vanity and entertains itself with novels that glory in things that should be a shame even to speak of (Eph. 5:12), but that same generation lets the 2018 Acts of Synod sit unopened on its bookshelves?
What about a generation that is cut to the heart and gnashes its teeth about a sermon that faithfully proclaims a passage in scripture that references Sodom, yet that same generation immerses itself in the godless filth of Hollywood and entertains itself with the defaming of God’s name, murder, adultery, homosexuality, covetousness, and idolatry?
What about a generation that will read anything it can get its hands on regarding sports, hunting, vacations, or business, but refuses to read, indeed despises, a new publication that was born to declare the glory of God in salvation and to expose the lie lest it destroy us in our generations?
A perverse generation, indeed.
Read Lamentations 4:6 and see who is punished more severely, the sodomite, or the one who bears the name of Christ but traffics in lies and deceit.
The only way forward for both is clear: Repent and turn again to the Lord your God.
Originally published January 2021, Vol 80 No 1