A Church Is a Dangerous Place to Be

A Church Is a Dangerous Place to Be

Even though church is a place where the God of consuming holiness comes to meet and speak to his people, believers stand before holy God every week with confidence and joy, being clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:16). In the same way, even though church is a place where disciples fostered a countercultural relationship, believers can nurture a deep and authentic relationship of love for one another as they imitate Christ who had loved them to the point of laying down His life for them (John 13:34). Most importantly, while Satan continuously seeks to destroy a church and her saints, the Scripture testifies that Jesus will continue to protect and empower the Church so her enemy will never triumph over it (Matthew 16:17-19).

Church – a Safe, Welcoming, and Casual Place?

A big stage with smoke machines and flashing spotlights, emotional music and songs, a man wearing jeans and a shirt with tattoos standing on a podium, a sign that reads “Welcome! You are loved here!” These are the pictures that come into our minds when we think about typical broad evangelical churches in the United States of America.

In recent centuries, many modern American churches have gone through a significant shift in their cultures. For example, in the 20th century, American evangelicalism was impacted by the “Seeker-Sensitive movement,” where churches actively contextualized their cultures, practices, worship, and message to attract irreligious people.[1] In the 21st century then, American evangelicalism is impacted by various social and political movements such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Sexual Revolution”, causing many churches to embrace and promote such cultural agendas to embrace socially marginalized people.

And while these cultural and social movements, such as the seeker-sensitive, social-justice, and sexual-revolution cultures, have influenced many evangelical churches in various ways, one undeniable influence they have played is convincing churches to reshape their identity – an identity that communicates they are safe, friendly, and casual places to the world and to people.        

But this raises an important question. Is church really a safe, friendly, and casual place as many modern churches try to communicate to the people? Is church really a place where worshippers and visitors can casually and comfortably enter and enjoy their time? My answer is no. Contrary to many churches that try to communicate to its worshippers and visitors, I would argue that a church is first and foremost a dangerous place to be for anyone.

 1. A Place with A Dangerous God

The church is a dangerous place because it is, first and foremost, a place where a dangerous God comes to meet His people. Contrary to the widely spread view about God in modern American Christianity as loving, accepting, and affirming, the Bible often depicts God as an unapproachable being. For example, there are many accounts in the Bible where saints encountered God in their lives and were utterly swallowed up by fear and dread.

To mention a few incidents from the Old Testament, when Gideon encountered God at Ophrah, he cried out, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face (Judges. 6:22).” When Isaiah encountered God and saw Him with his own eyes in his vision, he also cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost… For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! (Isaiah. 6:5)” When Elijah encountered God at the Mount Horeb, he quickly covered his face with a cloak (1 King 19:13) because he understood the danger of being in God’s presence as God had once spoken to Moses, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live (Exodus. 33:20).”

To be more precise, it is God’s holy attribute that renders Him to be a dangerous being because His holiness cannot tolerate any hint of unholiness or sin in His presence (Habakkuk 1:13a). In fact, the New Testament also recognizes the danger of God’s holy presence as it commands Christians to stand in awe and reverence when they come into the presence of God as it declares, “Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).”

It is this Holy God who comes to meet and speak to His people every Sunday when worshippers gather together in His sanctuary. The God who does not, “Leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 34:7)”; the God who does not tolerate man’s clever inventions or ways of strange fire (Leviticus 10:1), every man and woman who comes to church every Sunday and stands before the audience of this dangerous God.

Read More

Scroll to top