"There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment...By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century."
"I HAVE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP"
EXCERPTS OF LAST SERMON BY DR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
APRIL 3, 1968-NIGHT BEFORE HIS ASSASSINATION
"Well, I don't know what will happen now; we've got some
difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me
now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't
mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life - longevity
has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just
want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the
mountain. And I've looked over, and I've looked over, and
I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will
get to the Promised Land. And so I'm happy tonight; I'm
not worried about anything; I'm not fearing any man. Mine
eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. "