Donna writes: "Married, mother of a 13-year old son, writer, Hospice RN, and slave to two small dogs and 3 worthless cats who eat WAY too much!"
Loving Them Straight To Hell
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." --2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (KJV)
The vast majority of pastors and elders today are flat out refusing to speak out against the blatant sin present in their congregations. Why? Because it's not politically correct. Because they don't want to be viewed as 'judging.' They want everyone to feel loved and accepted.
Truth is, they're terrified they'll hurt someone's feelings, causing some to leave the church. After all, we can't be too controversial. There are buildings to pay for and salaries and bonuses for the staff to cover. If people leave, they take their money with them, so we can't go around making people feel bad about themselves!
Many churches today literally hire marketing experts, intent on fomenting a false model of 'success.' It's all predicated on attracting as many people as possible which brings in mo' money, mo' money, mo' money! Money to build bigger buildings and basketball courts and coffee bars and game rooms for the 'youth.'
Success is no longer measured in souls saved. Are you kidding?! Nope, unless the pastor can pack the auditorium full of pew warmers with fat wallets using his sparkling wit, engaging stories, and encouraging doctrine about how Jesus-loves-you-and-has-a-wonderful-plan-for-your-life, he's usually considered to be a real loser.
It's as if all these marketing people tell pastors and board members the same thing: the people want to be entertained! They want loud, upbeat music with eye-catching graphics on the overhead screen, and don't be afraid to throw in some special effects like lasers or fog! Doesn't matter what the songs are about. There's plenty of Emergent Church meaningless nonsense out there to choose from. Just make sure people are energized by the time they sit down.
Get some big-name Christian recording artist to appear in concert, and sell tickets to give the whole thing a feel of professionalism and importance. Maybe even a Christian comedian. Yeah, folks love that stuff! The youth group also needs plenty of options to keep them busy. Dispense with the boring Sunday school lessons of yesterday, or at least keep them to a minimum.
Kids are tired of sitting in class by the time the weekend rolls around. They're ready to have some fun, so get some pinball machines, some air-hockey tables and maybe even a karaoke machine. Build a full size gym and a coffee bar. Oh, you gotta have a coffee bar along with high tables and stools to hang out on! Serve soda and snacks too. You know how kids are--they're always hungry!
Now, during the main service, for heaven's sake, do NOT wear a suit! You've got to look approachable and relevant; like you can identify with the people's struggles, and yet you completely approve of them as they are. Wear high-end jeans and a button-up dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Get some Doc Martens or Air Jordan shoes. Very popular with the 'in' crowd! Get your teeth whitened too.
Be silly. Don't be afraid to joke around. Engage your audience. Yeah, you can use the Bible, but most people don't bring one, so post the scripture above your head on the big screen. However, you really have to use some other translation or paraphrase than that old-fashioned King James Version.
And for God's sake-oops! Pardon the pun. Whatever you do NEVER, and we mean NEVER talk about the following: the Cross of Jesus, His death and resurrection (unless it's Easter time) or His blood. Turns people right off! Don't preach about the need for repentance or salvation or any of that stuff.
Now, the biggest faux pas would be to preach about sin! You don't want anyone feeling uncomfortable or guilty. And don't be stupid enough to get into anything political or you're liable to lose that tax-exempt status.
You want to make those people walk out of that service feeling better than they did when they came in. They're looking for reassurance that no matter what kind of lifestyle they're living, God sanctions their behavior and so do you. They must never, EVER get the sense that anyone is judging them.
Drug addicts, gays, couples living together, serial adulterers, alcoholics, marijuana smokers, white-collar thieves, you name it-it doesn't matter. Just remember that Jesus loves everybody, right? You wanna be successful, pastor? You want a multi-million dollar, mega-church with your face in the newspapers and on billboards? Does your wife expect a mega-church preacher's lifestyle? Stick with us and do what we say, and you'll get there within 5 years, tops!
Any of this sound familiar? No matter what the denomination happens to be, this is mostly what our God sees when He looks down at America . If it makes me want to gag, how must He feel? When is the last time YOUR pastor preached against sin? Or the need for repentance and holy, righteous living?
When's the last time he held an altar call for the lost or needy? Can you remember when he stood before the congregation broken and in tears over the sins of his flock, his country and this world? Has he pleaded for the lost souls in the audience to accept Jesus as their Savior?
Or, is your church a lukewarm, Laodicean country club, beautiful on the outside but full of dead men's bones? Do the elders anoint the sick with oil and petition God for healing? Do they, along with the pastor, prayerfully, lovingly and privately confront those in the congregation who are living in willful, blatant sin? Have they declared that, until that person turns from their evil ways, they are no longer welcome?
Those actions are terribly uncomfortable and not for the faint of heart. They are the actions of a strong, Godly shepherd who loves and cares for his flock. This kind of shepherd is unfortunately, very rare these days. It seems that most pastors are caught up in the bigger-better rat race and have abandoned their first love.
Are you attending a church where the Word of God is cherry-picked for subjects that aren't offensive? Does your pastor talk about repenting of sin and striving to be holy as God is holy? Have you ever heard him speak about the reality of hell?
Does he ever marvel over the power and promise of the Cross of Jesus? About the power of His blood? Does he warn you that the Age of Grace is about to conclude, and that Christ is on the verge of snatching His Bride home any second now? Does he explain what it takes to be ready to go, and what will befall those left behind?
If you aren't hearing these things from your preacher or Bible teachers, you need to get out of that worthless, dead church and seek one that's alive with the Holy Spirit. Yes, I know that they're extremely hard to find but they still exist. Pray the Lord will lead you to one and He will guide you.
It's true that we need to welcome everyone into the church, no matter how tattered or torn or filthy with sin they happen to be. But, we don't leave them that way just because we don't want to offend them or hurt their feelings! We're called to point them to the Cross so they can be made into a new creature in Christ. A mature believer needs to disciple them and hold them accountable in their walk.
The prevailing attitude within the Christian community today is that confronting sin is not 'loving.' We shouldn't 'judge' because Jesus loved everyone. Where are you people getting this?! What a load of unmitigated garbage! Refusing to gently confront sin in a person's life and pointing them to the Savior, is the single most hateful, vile thing you could ever do to another human being!
We don't have much time left to spread the good news of the Gospel. For heaven's sake, don't even bother being associated with a wuss church that 'loves' people straight to hell.