Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Slient Pulpits of America

In 1955 my parents changed the course of their lives when they gave their hearts to the LORD.  At the age of seven my life in the church began.  I was unsettled in my Christian life until August of 1967 when I felt the call to the ministry and enrolled at Union Bible Seminary where I met my wife and started our spiritual journey together.  Since then I have earned my B.A. in Communications, M.A. in Christian Education, M.ED. in Curriculum Development and a Th.D. in Theology.  I have been in the ministry since I was nineteen years old.  I have served as missionary, evangelist, pastor, and teacher.  I am presently pastor of a rural Independent Quaker church where I have served for the past 28 years. I am a retired educator, having taught in both public and private schools. I give this information simply to provide my qualifications to speak to the issues within and outside the church.  

It is my observation over the 46 years of the ministry that there are some major issues within the evangelical movement of the church that must be addressed.  There is a void in understanding the principles of basic Christian doctrine and putting those doctrines in daily practice. 

Evangelical Christians, for the most part, are living their spiritual lives in a vacuum of truth and understanding.  The lack of spiritual knowledge has opened the door to smooth-talking ministers who can use the pulpit to defraud the majority of sincere follower out of their life savings and destroy their faith.  This has resulted in what Paul called the falling away.

Within the Evangelical Church today there is a fear to speak out against the deterioration within the church.  I, for one, am finished with being polite. I am done trying not to offend people who constantly teach a doctrine contrary to scripture and think they are justified in doing so because it is their duty to push their false-teaching on the church at large.  It is better today to do a touchy feely sermon than to speak out against the fact the church is failing in its doctrinal beliefs, there is a lack of Scriptural knowledge, and an inability to exert our God-ordained responsibility to stand for the truth courageously ignoring the criticism that comes from those who lack a deep spiritual walk with the LORD.  

Among the average believer there is the fear of raising their voice against false prophets, maybe it is because they have a lack of certainty of their own spiritual life.  After all, who wants to condemn people who teach about Jesus Christ?  However, the Bible has much to say about the believer’s responsibility in addressing and responding to those who corrupt God’s word.  Teaching about Jesus is not the same as rightly dividing the word of truth.  The issue is whether or not their teachings are correct according to the scriptures.  If they are not teaching and preaching the truth then we must react against them.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah tells us that in the 14th chapter, God has no patience whatsoever with those who profane his name.  Nor is he tolerant of those who support such by listening and following their false-teachings.  In fact God has promised to pour out evil upon them for following such teachings

 Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.  Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.  And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them. Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.

There are many within the evangelical movement that supports these ministers spoken here by Jeremiah.  Some within these churches are concerned about their pastors not getting involved in anything controversial but yet they are content to support them with their attendance and offerings.  Many of these same pastors are critical of ministers who are standing for truth, getting involved in controversial issues and are political.

Today all you need to do is look at the largest crowds, the most lavish buildings and the richest ministers to see why the church is falling away.  These same Christians will not support ministers or statesmen who are fight the good fight of faith.  They will however, buy books, CD’s and go to “spiritual renewal conferences” where these same ministers are making millions spreading their false doctrines and destroying the message of the Gospel with their unholy lives.  These men and women are no more than slick marketing gurus who play on the fears and hatreds of people to make money and push their evil doctrines.  Many of these same modern day prophets have lives filled with scandal, adulterous affairs and divorce.  Their families are broken and destroyed by their evil living.  Yet, they have the follower in the thousands. What is wrong with this picture?

What is sad is that many of these ministers have made their alliances with those who are out to destroy not only the church but our country as well.  These same ministers have bowed to the power of mammon and no longer stand for truth.  There was a time in this country where these ministers had the vision of what God can do but they were drawn away by their own lust to fulfill their evil desires.  

When the prophets are silent and the Word of God is in short supply, the church withers and dies.  When the church dies, so does the country.  Is there hope?  The hands of the true prophets of God have their hands tied and their mouths gagged by the fear of being politically incorrect or controversial.  The prophetic message of God is seldom heard within the body of Christ today.  The message needed today must come by the spirit of God and not by consensus or debate. 

For our society to be renewed, it is necessary for the church, and by that I mean individual Christians together, to become a prophetic voice to our land. We must remember the price of being a prophet. If people were given the choice of straightening the wall or killing the prophet, they will usually kill the prophet instead of straightening the wall.

In the Minor Prophets and Daniel each of these books had a prophetic vision for the people.  That message never changed it was the prophets of God proclaiming the coming judgment if the people or nation did not repent and turn from their evil ways.  That message has not changed throughout the centuries.  If the people reject the message their nation was destroyed.  Solomon tells us that where there is no prophetic message the people perish. 

Judgment must first begin at the house of God. The reason America is going down the road of immorality is it is allowed from the pulpit. The reason there is a lack of scriptural knowledge in this country is the pulpit is not proclaiming the scripture.  The reason our politicians are so corrupt is that righteous people do not hold them accountable for their actions and this falls on those in the pulpit. 

I have lived long enough to see the past three generations disregard what previous generations held to be the foundational principles of faith.  They have become the critics of the church reminding us of our social obligation while telling us that we should remain silent regarding political issues—which by the way do impact social issues.  The social issues that we are told to stay away from are the very problems they expect the church to solve.  How can a minister preach about the sanity of life without exposing the evils of abortions?  How can a minister preach about the structure of the family without exposing the evils that destroy the family unit?  How can a minister preach about loving ones neighbor without exposing hatred, malice and strife?  How can a minister preach about honesty, integrity, accountability and responsibility without exposing the social and political issues of the day?

Our pulpits have become silent on the controversial issue of the day because there are those who give lips service of wanting to hear the truth but become angry and even hostile when the truth is given.  Those wanting to hear the message from the scripture are content to keep Moses in the bulrushes and Jesus in the manger but do not want to her the message of Law and Grace as it relates to their spiritual condition.

America is approaching another election year and true Christians should vote into office men who are honest, upright and fit to be trusted and not because they belong to the political party you support.  Christians have been guilty of voting in the “best of two evils”.  It is time to stop supporting evil men and expect them to do what is right. If America is to find salvation and alter the coming judgment of God, we need a voice from the pulpit that brings conviction upon the hearts of Christians.  We need to stop the shallow platitudes and slogans and become authentic in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  This only comes when we hunger and thirst after righteousness and have the courage to repent and turn from our evil ways.

We are living in uncertain times.  Many have had their faith shaken from the false-prophets creating disillusionment, disappointment and discouragements.  They have lost the vision and have been distracted from God by a weakened message from the pulpit.  To change this falling away there must be voices of truth from our pulpits reminding us of the basic foundational doctrines of the Word of God.  We do not need preachers and politicians who are gifted speakers but men unafraid to speak the truth in a manner that causes men and women to change their lives.