“I’ve spoken of sloth because I suspect it lies at the root of many people’s crisis of faith. More people shrug away their faith than are argued out of it. They don’t have a compelling reason to stop believing in God, they just look away and say, ‘Meh.’ These doubters don’t need better arguments, they need greater passion. They lack desire, not just for God but for anything of weight. Their hearts have shriveled from a sugary diet of news, sports scores, and celebrity gossip, and they don’t even notice that they no longer hunger for big things. Their problem is not that they no longer believe in God. It’s worse than that. They no longer even understand the question.

These malnourished people are missing out on salvation, not merely because they lack faith but also because there is not much left of them to save. Their souls are stooped from years of scuffling beneath the low ceiling of trivialities. They don’t even notice that their lives are filled with nonstop action of no importance, for their hunched hearts can’t see past their feet, even when they’re standing up. These cramped souls need to stretch their horizon and live for something larger than themselves, but like anything that requires effort, they can’t do this on their own. They need a team of believers; they need to get to church” (Despite Doubt, p. 93).





8 responses to “sloth”

  1. Wouldn’t hurt anything if you included a link to someplace where folks could actually buy the book. Unless you don’t really want anybody to read it.

  2. Never mind. I see it now, and I can’t figure out how to take my post back down.

  3. Ray Paget

    “Sins of Omission, A Primer on Moral Indifference” (S. Dennis Ford, Fortress Press, 1990) has a great section on Sloth (pp. 23-36). Nice work Mike.

  4. I suspect that you are mostly correct. Most do walk away from church because of indifference.

    My own experience has been different, and I suspect there are a few like me; I can’t find a Church that takes the whole bible seriously. Oh, they have their favourite doctrines that they would die for, but then, when it comes to other areas of Scripture, they walk away.

    I remember reading some excellent articles on hermeneutics by David Cloud of the Way of Life website. He described a system of hermeneutics which is exactly as taught by Scripture; the literal/formal method. I would still recommend those articles!

    The problem is that on certain issues, he walks away from the method he teaches, and falls back on his own tradition. We could talk about his views on clothing, alcohol, tithing, Church governance, & etc. By doing so he dishonours the Lord, and lifts himself up as the only interpreter of Scripture, rather than the Holy Spirit!

    Mr. Cloud is not alone in this. I have found the same philosophy in Fellowship Baptist, Independent Baptist, Free Presbyterian, and also Messianic Churches. Here’s the thing; these are the “good” churches! I wouldn’t give the mainline churches the time of day!

    So, for the past 6 months I have been churchless. I miss church. I have been leading my family in Sunday morning bible studies, but I feel the need to meet with like-minded Christians. Also, I am well aware that it is commanded. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are any Christians like me in Canada, and no, I do not consider myself perfect. I struggle with sin just like anyone else!

    The whole situation makes me feel very, very sad.

  5. mikewittmer

    This is easy to write from Grand Rapids, where we have so many churches we think we’re witnessing when we speak to a Lutheran, but I would encourage you to take your family to the church which is the least bad. Your children won’t be bothered by the imperfections as much as you, and you can gently correct the errors where they need be. But it’s important for your kids to grow up regularly attending church, or they won’t be likely to do so when they’re out of your home. You may be right about the state of the churches, and you may not be too picky, but remember that those churches are the bride of Christ, and it sounds like they really need someone like you.

  6. Ray Paget

    You’re right, Mike, we can take church-related things for granted living in West Michigan. But to our Canadian friend I would caution thinking that he is “alone” (“. . . I don’t believe there are many Christians like me in Canada. . . “). Sounds like the same complaint Elijah offered up to the LORD following his fleeing from Jezebel (i Kings 19:10). The LORD corrected Elijah, reminding him that there were 7,000 others like him who had not bowed their knees to Baal (vs. 18). I pray your gracious response will be heeded.

  7. […] Sloth – Mike Wittmer I’ve spoken of sloth because I suspect it lies at the root of many people’s crisis of faith. More people shrug away their faith than are argued out of it. […]

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