The title is not mine but comes from a series of articles I discovered late last year. While reading through the “Letters to Stagnant Christians,” I found them both convicting and insightful. The author, David De Bruyn, is a Reformed Baptist pastor in South Africa. Though the context in which he ministers might seem a world away, his “letters” prove that the same spiritual struggles stymie Christian growth and maturity across ethnic, national, and cultural boundaries.
I thought Pastor De Bruyn had stopped at the sixth but guess not! I will repost these letters as long as he keeps writing them. Here is a sample of the eighth, followed by a link to the original article:
The problems that cause stagnation in Christians can be as varied as Christians themselves. Commonly shared problems are the kind that Scripture tends to address frequently. One of those problems, and one that I’m afraid you share, is what we might call the Grumbles.
The Bible uses other terms for grumbling: murmuring, complaining, whispering, and even bitterness. In fact, the amount of times Scripture addresses this problem is surprising, for a sin that some people think is rather harmless. The severity with which God judged murmuring and complaining belies the idea that this is a benign problem.
The great sin of murmuring is neither its criticism (which can be done lawfully), nor its desire for change (which is healthy, when applied rightly). What makes murmuring so displeasing to God is that it is a posture of chosen discontent combined with cowardice and deceit. It combines two of the great sins: unthankfulness, and lying.
You see, a murmurer is not merely someone who has spotted a problem, or found something irritating. We all do that, in all kinds of ways. No, the grumbler is not incidentally critical. The murmurer has adopted a stance, a position, even a place, where all that is done in church or by their authority is seen through jaundiced eyes. The grumbler has become adversarial. The grumbler now refuses to see the good, the pure, the pleasant, or the well-intentioned. Indeed, he has become so convinced of his skewed interpretations of other’s motives and actions, that he is now quite incorrigible. Read the account of Israel’s murmurings, and you will see that the complaints were persistent, and even stubborn.