Fulton J. Sheen was born in 1895. Before his death in 1979, Sheen became an outspoken bishop in the Catholic Church. Sheen’s popularity began as a preacher on radio and television programs. One of his famous quotes would have offended many if announced today. Yet, Sheen’s goal was to establish a church that is right when the world around it is wrong. While logical on the surface, a changing world is often offended by those who cling to absolute truths.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.
Fulton was merely practicing the teaching of the apostle Paul. During the height of the Roman Empire, emperors used their influence to ban, persecute and on some occasions put Christians to death. Like a bully trying to control those around them, the apostle Paul urged first century believers to win the battle of the mind. Unless you protect your mind through a daily dose of Bible Study, prayer and worship, conformity to the world will occur at some point. When this happens to church leaders, the power of the Bible is lost as doctrines become watered down.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.
The Bible uses several analogies to explain the ongoing schemes of Satan. Jesus refers to this fallen angel as the father of all lies. One of Satan’s objectives is to convince Christians to bend, overlook or stretch the truth. When weak minded leaders take over a church, worldly beliefs are slowly blended into biblical teaching. The theological term for this process is known as syncretism. Unfortunately, when this dangerous practice begins to spread, there isn’t much difference between the church and the rest of society. When the light of Christ fades and the saltiness of faith disappears Fulton’s goal becomes impossible. May the Fulton’s quote many years ago inspire believers today to develop a church that is right when the world is wrong.
by Jay Mankus