Word of the Day
The Church in the twenty-first century is in dire straits. Across America, churches are declining, plateauing and even closing doors. We do our best to put a “positive spin” on everything and act like all is well.
But the truth is that churches have laid aside the Bible and God’s entire program for operating the Church, for worship, for reaching people, for preaching the gospel, and we have adopted the world’s methods. I think it was E. M. Bounds who said that God does not use methods, He uses men.
But, trusting God is so cumbersome, so time-consuming, such a waste of time. The world has given us methods and programs that we can use to “bring them in” and we have embraced these things with strong arms. The twenty-first century is so far ahead of God and His time-wasting ideas, so we have laid Him and His solutions aside in favor of the world’s methods.
Put the spotlight on youth and their desires and let the wisdom in the Church sit back and shut up. We have swallowed the lies that by focusing on the youth and their likes we can bring the community to the Church.
So across America, “praise bands” have become the rage of the day. I even heard one pastor say that this is the “wave of the future”. So, put them and their musical instruments on stage and let them “perform”. Let them belt out so-called “contemporary music” at the highest volume possible. This music has no doctrine, no suffering, no lessons for the writer nor the singer. But it “attracts” youth, right?
And the Church no longer involves itself in teaching the “whole counsel of God”. The vast majority of the lessons and sermons are aimed at “winning the lost”. We have this idea that only “hell-fire and brimstone” sermons, John 3:16, and “God loves you” sermons are the only messages that will reach the lost, so to “comfort” the membership, we preach these sermons, which bypass the average “church member”. We have the idea that God can’t save anyone by sermons and lessons that embrace the entire Bible. So our folks have been lulled to sleep for so long that they never hear anything that comes from the pulpit. After all, it’s for the “other guy”, right?
The level of “Christianity” here in America nowhere resembles what we find in the New Testament. The people of that day would be alarmed at what passes for “Christianity” today. And what we find in so-called “third world countries” so far surpasses what we promote for Christianity here in America. In China for example, literally scores of thousands are being saved every single day. Compare that with the Church in America.
We have the idea that God owes us Americans that “pot of gold” at the rainbow’s end, so we spend all our time and energy in chasing the rainbow’s end. After all, we want everyone to think that we are really committed believers and only big bank accounts, savings and elaborate lifestyles will do that, right?
In the modern church, the “board of deacons” has become the “board of directors” for the church. Their primary function is to “rubber stamp” the pastor’s ideas and programs. And as the CEO of the Church, the pastor’s role is to lead the church into the financial “promised land” where money is piled up in the church’s accounts. Nothing proves the success of the CEO and the “board of directors” quite like a healthy financial statement for the church.
Prayer was once the primary occupation for the Church. The Church actually had “prayer meetings” which drew folks in to seek the face of God concerning whatever the pressing need might be at the time. Prayer was stressed from the pulpits of America and people were called on to beat a path to the altars where they would “do business with God”.
But prayer is another of those “time-wasting efforts” of the Church. Let’s get up off our knees and get busy “doing the work of God”. Our time can be better spent by “working for God”, right?
So, prayer has fallen on hard times in the Church. No one even mentions our need to “humble ourselves, and pray, and seek His face” anymore. Committees, programs, planning sessions, “board meetings” and CEOs now fill the church and its needs.
We hear so much about “witnessing” in the Church today. But not one single person in the Church is qualified to lead a lost person to Christ. Sadly, many of those who fill our pews are lost themselves and how can a lost person lead another lost person to Christ?
And those who are saved have never been taught the ministry of the Holy Spirit. They are about as familiar with the Spirit and His work as they are about quantum physics. In fact, in most churches today, the Holy Spirit is needed about as much as a bomb in the Church.
Manly Beasley said one time that “the sin of the Old Testament period was neglect of God the Father, the sin of the New Testament period was neglect of God the Son, and the sin of the modern church is neglect of God the Holy Spirit.” So the Holy Spirit is relegated to the “ol’ timey days” of the Church. We have better methods today, don’t we?
But we have all these “new methods”, new “thinking”, new emphases in the Church, and not one single endeavor of God can touch these, can they?
So, how is all this working in the Church where you attend?