“The Church has lost her testimony. She no longer has anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted.” A.W. Tozer
These words of a godly prophet of a generation ago are a fitting description of what is happening in what is known as the Church today.
It is grievous, but not at all surprising. Jesus warned us of salt that has lost its savor–its flavor, distinct character and usefulness (Matthew 5:13). He warned of the abundance of deception and many false prophets in the very last days in which we are living (Matthew 24:4-5, 11).
The true Church is His assembly, those called out of darkness by God (I Peter 2:9-10), born again believers in Jesus Christ, obedient to His word, purchased by His blood shed on the cross.
For nearly everything God is, has and does, Satan has a counterfeit. So what we see on earth these days for the most part is a counterfeit religious system reputed to be the church. The Roman Catholic “Church,” for example, is actually perhaps the most corrupt and demonic religious organization on earth. Over the centuries it has incorporated pagan practices, promoted multiple doctrines of demons, accumulated vast wealth and wielded great political power. The recent attention given to its pedophile priests, and legal actions against taken against various dioceses, are only brief glimpses of the perversions that have been taking place throughout its history.
Then we have the liberal church organizations ordaining avowed homosexuals and soon, if not already, transsexuals to influential positions of leadership. The scriptures have been systematically and widely rejected as the Word of God by these groups. For many in these corrupt denominations, God has been feminized and otherwise distorted as some brand of New Age deity who accepts pretty much any fable we want to believe and anything we want to do. Their view is we should be joining with the Hindus, Muslims, Jews and whatever other spiritual ideas and entities we care to embrace. “Unity” is the big deal here. We must coexist, embrace and at least tolerate everything—everything that is except biblical Christianity!
On the flip side there are still the legalists who reject everyone who does not see things exactly as they do. They are strict and narrow in their way, but it is not the way of the Lord. They may proclaim to be faithful adherents of the Bible, but their ingrown, exclusive attitude is essentially “us four and no more”. Holiness is based upon works and outward appearances. They are the modern day scribes and Pharisees.
Then there are the more Pentecostal or Charismatic types—although though they would rather not describe themselves in such outdated terms. Many of these folks have spoken widely of and sought out “blessings” and “revivals” led by questionable leaders in places where people, supposedly under the intense influence of the Holy Spirit, may bark like dogs, crow like roosters and jerk violently on the floors of auditoriums large and small.
Wow! Look! Gold dust, jewels and feathers are dropping from heaven—all with the endorsement of many of the “new apostles” as part of a “new wave of the Spirit.” What spirit? Also many young adults, understandably hungry to experience “the presence,” crowd into auditoriums filled with worship music performed by excellent musicians and singers, often accented with sensuous light shows.
Running parallel is the emergent church philosophy characterizing many evangelicals today where “angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:4, 13-15) leaders want to further replace scriptural truth with new revelations, opinions and labyrinths of pagan rituals (I Timothy 4:1-2). They have departed from the faith and their biblically illiterate followers have no clue. The Church needs change they say. But it is surely not the change we need.
Of course, many still maintain the seeker friendly view that we must entertain them well to get them into our buildings. They will plant churches and use pony rides for the kids, drawings for fishing gear for the men and spa certificates for the ladies to get them to come in to our buildings. If they can get them there they will do whatever it takes to make them happy, rather than to help them be holy. They will present them a watered down false gospel from some watered down Scripture mistranslation so as not to offend them, when in fact they are grossly offending them by not giving them the truth that can set them free, while simultaneously offending the Almighty God they claim to be serving.
Some say we need to get back to the days of the early New Testament Church. Much of the Church we read about in the Book of Acts was good, godly and powerful. However, the Church also struggled with a great many issues where major correction and instruction were needed, as we see from reading the epistles of Paul, Peter, John and Jude.
It’s time for all of us who have been caught up in any of this, to whatever degree, to truly repent with our whole hearts! God has clearly commanded us to turn away from all that has “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5).
Yes, there is a lot of hell going on in the “Church.” Yet God has His true Church, His blood-bought remnant who have “not bowed unto Baal” (I Kings 19:18).
The Lord knows exactly who they are now, and who are yet to become part of His people, His body, His building, His bride, His kingdom army,
Jesus has and will have “a glorious Church” (Ephesians 5:27). On earth it is obediently active in this present evil world, living and dying, praying and preaching His Word, drawing near to God and resisting the devil, loving God and loving people with His love. It is being loved and hated, persecuted and martyred, faithful representing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ throughout the world, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).