A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


June 21, 2012

Where Is The Church?

     I am just going to come out and say it --- I am deeply concerned about the state of the Church in America.   For those who are Believers, please know that what I say comes from a place that reveres the Body of Christ.  And if you are not a Believer, please don't skip this post.  The Church has always been an important part of measuring where the conscience of our nation lies.  It should not be ignored.
     And please don't misunderstand; I am not condemning ALL churches or ALL pastors.   I would never dare question their commitment to their faith or their flock.  Nor would I doubt the state of their heart or their souls.  But I just don't understand how they can see the decay of our society and the moral and religious "falling away", and remain silent from the pulpit.
     It's one thing to effectively engage in winning souls for the Lord, and to preach about God's mercy and grace.  Heaven knows that the world needs to hear the plan for salvation.  And I personally know of many pastors and churches who are serving God just as He intended.  They are doing their best in a culture that's out of control, and are fighting the battle for righteousness the best way they know how. 
     But here's my problem.  Throughout the ages, the church has always influenced public policy and opinions.  During our own country's Revolutionary War, pastors gave fiery sermons against the tyrant King George and were instrumental in seeing that our new nation had no "State or National" Church.  After all, Jesus is to be King over His Body, the Church, not any mortal King or Government Head.  And there's the case for the Church's involvement in the abolition of slavery.  It was Church leaders who greatly influenced the demise of that abhorrent system.
     So I wish I could witness today's Church leaders being as bold and brave as their predecessors.  They know and see the evils being perpetuated on our society:  abortion; the attack on the institution of marriage; the enslavement of citizens through a corrupt welfare system; murder, rape and blasphemy.  They read the headlines the same as I do:  Christians Killed in Syria (or Egypt) (or Nigeria); Muslim Brotherhood Promoting Restoration of the Caliphate; Porn, Prostitutes and Sex Are Alive and Well in our Nation's Capital.  They know all this grieves God and is loathsome in His sight!
     So why are they silent on these matters?   They continue to preach the message of Grace, and ignore  the calling for accountability on these issues.  What are they afraid of?  My first inclination is to think that the American Church has become too business-like.  Pastors have to answer to Boards or possibly risk the favor of a generous donor if they speak out on controversial subjects.  Perhaps the threat of losing their precious 501(3) c status keeps many from standing up for God's principles and representing His character.
     Well guess what I found out?  According to an article by a grassroots organization out of Georgia, churches are automatically given tax-exempt status by virtue of being a church!  And churches have the right to speak out on the issues of the day.  But because the IRS has intimidated them, most avoid any conflict by keeping quiet on topics that might call attention to themselves.  But I contend, that by remaining silent, and not preaching what Jesus had to say about these offenses, they are losing a golden opportunity to teach about repentance.
     After all, in the Great Commission Jesus declared to the Apostles that He had been given authority in heaven and on earth.  And besides making disciples of all the nations and baptizing sinners in the name of the Holy Trinity, they were to "teach them to observe all things that I  have commanded you."   He didn't say, "Know everything that I have commanded you and then turn a blind eye if those commandments are violated."
     That doesn't mean that I am advocating excoriating judgment from the pulpit.  But I do believe it is the obligation of Pastors to boldly speak the Word, and to speak out on institutions, cultures, systems and actions that separate man from God.  Repentance and forgiveness are two of the most beautiful words in our faith.  But they cannot be achieved if the sin is not first identified and renounced.
     I see the moral decay of our society happening at such a fast rate, and yet millions of churchgoers receive the "feel good" message on Sunday morning that God loves them (and He does!), without receiving the call to renounce such immoral behavior.
     Make no mistake, in my youth I hated the "hellfire and brimstone" sermons with a passion.  They lacked the message of God's grace and mercy.  But I think, today, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction in an attempt to show God's love.  We could use a little threat of eternal damnation .... before it becomes a reality!

Proverbs 28:1       "The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion."
 

6 comments:

  1. I think so many Pastors are more intent on entertaining their congregations rather than teaching the true word of God. They are worried about the numbers, how to get more people in the church so the offerings will be up. So they don't want to say something that might offend someone.

    A Pastors job is first and foremost to teach bible doctrine to his congregation. I have known Pastors who buy their sermons so they don't have to do the work themselves.

    If a Pastor rightly divides the word of truth his flock will know how to stand against evil.

    Piute Patriot

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    1. "Pastors who buy their sermons" .... that makes me so sad, because I lead a couple of different Bible studies in my home, and I am forever blessed by the time I spend in the Word preparing for these get-togethers. I don't know if it is the Holy Spirit speaking to me, or just my frustration with the modern Church, but I am envisioning a time when the most effective churches will be "home churches" as in the First Century church --- just like Priscilla and Aquila.

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  2. There are different reasons for the ineffectiveness and apathy that we see in churches today. For a lot of them, church has become a business - but that isn't a new thing. The old churches in England did the same type of thing.
    I think a lot of it can be contributed to the downfall of the nuclear family in our culture. Boys can't learn how to become strong men if their fathers are absent. Likewise, girls can't learn to become supporting, loving wives and mothers if their mothers are never in the home teaching them. For a few decades now, the children have been raised more and more by age-segregated, institutional run methods than by loving parents. Most parents today find themselves ineffective and ignored. More of their time is spent at the job than in the home interacting with and teaching their children. It reminds me of the Old Testament story about the son of a godly Hebrew king who came to power after his father died. Instead of keeping his father's advisers to help him rule the kingdom, he fired them all and hired his friends to advise him. The end result was that the kingdom was brought to ruin and God was very displeased. People raised in age-segregated societies care little for the wisdom of the ages or their elders. Therefore, the teachings of Scripture become outdated, outmoded hindrances to whatever they want to accomplish. Our country's values are all wrong, but they can't be fixed politically. Until pastors are willing to teach their congregations to put their families above their careers and until people actually start doing it, we will see little change in the culture. The Bible tells us that a child left to himself will come to ruin. I'm sure we all know scores of people who lament the fact that they can do nothing with their children. Well, undisciplined, unteachable children grow up and run countries - and here we are.

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    1. You are so right! For many churches, it has become a business! And there are far too many homes where children are left in after-school care because both parents work. It may sound unfamiliar and old-fashioned, but there is something about children coming home from school to find a nurturing mother waiting to encourage them with their schoolwork, followed by the family sitting down to a home-cooked meal and discussing the events of the day. These days, girls only know how to throw a boxed dinner together, and everyone sits in front of the TV or the computer, and schoolwork is the last thing on the agenda.
      Also, some of the greatest Bible lessons I have learned has been at the feet of the little old "blue-haired" ladies in my Sunday School class. Their journey with the Lord and their knowledge of the Bible has given me so much insight into God's character. Our older generation should be honored for their wisdom and their experience. Instead, churches seem to be more concerned with reaching the younger generation with contemporary music and an easy message of grace.... where's is the responsibility and the accountability?

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  3. I sense very clearly your frustration. I am a pastor in Springfield Missouri. I myself have become frustrated and heavy hearted over the compromise that exudes from our churches pulpits. The call to boldly proclaim the truth in love is clear. I have dedicated nyself to that and will continue till the day I die. I will never compromise the truth. However, we must remember that this movement was prophesied many times in Gods word. And never more clearly than in II Tiomothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap up to themselves teachers having itching ears, And shall turn away their ears from the truth.

    Sadly, this is happening on an unprecedented scale in America. Stay strong. God said it would happen. Now we must simply continue to keep the faith and boldly proclaim the truth. Galations 6:9 - Don't get tired of doing what is right because in due time you will be rewarded. God bless you! Stay strong, don't be discouraged. The time is coming when wrong will be made right, the crooked made straight and the truth declared and vindicated. Stan C.

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    1. Thank you, Pastor, for your encouraging message! I know you are right .... it says clearly in the Word that the Church will fall away. And I know this must happen for God's righteous judgment to take place. I just want to do my part to bring as many in to His Kingdom as I can. I must tell you that just as I am discouraged about the Church overall, I am equally encouraged by individual Believers who, like me, are receiving an unprecedented level of revelation from the Holy Spirit. I am understanding my Bible like I never have before, receiving new insight to old, familiar Scripture and my heart sings!

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