by Mike Ratliff
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
The discerning believer knows that something is “just not right” with the Church in America these days. He or she may not be able to pin down exactly what is bothering them, but red flags of warning are ever before them as they observe the American Church change radically at an ever-increasing rate. Even though some “Church leaders” claim that more are being brought into the kingdom than ever before, something is not right.
When I was a small child back in the 1950’s my Dad became a partner in a TV and Appliance business. Later he became the sole proprietor of it. When he first got started repairing those then new contraptions called Television sets, I was a preschooler with a limited vocabulary, but a very vivid imagination.
One day I was exploring the workbench area in the back of the store. The top of the workbench had the internal parts of several Televisions on it. I was watching my Dad solder some connections in one set as I overheard my Mother talking to a customer on the phone about their TV which my Dad was working on at that very moment. Next to where he was working was a little round can of some sticky stuff that he occasionally used on the tip of his soldering iron. I had no idea what it was, but it looked important. Then I overheard my mother tell the customer that their TV was “out of whack” and that it may be a few days before it would be ready.
My little four year old mind immediately made the connection between that sticky substance my Dad was using to fix the TV with the “whack” my Mother had said that it was out of. Therefore, my Dad was obviously putting the whack back into it to using his soldering iron. :-)
Of course, the little can did not contain a wonderful substance called “whack” that would make Televisions works again, but it was flux that cleaned the tip of the soldering iron. It was several years before I learned that there was no such thing as “whack,” but I thought my Dad must be pretty special since he was the only one who could put the whack back into all of those broken TV sets. :-)
This amusing little confession on my part really happened, but sadly it is also analogous to how most American believers view Christianity. They see their Christian leaders making bold moves to change their churches so they can be more culturally relevant and make the mistake of thinking that these “holy men” must know exactly what God wants them to do and are doing it. They must have prayed and sought the Lord’s will before they started to restructure their churches along secular lines didn’t they?
Sadly, many churches have been so radically altered by these pragmatic approaches to “doing church” that large numbers of loyal members of them have been forced to either conform to the new methods or told to leave if they didn’t like it. These sheep have been scattered by false shepherds, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who care nothing for the flock. They only care about themselves. They want big churches that draw the “unchurched” to come and not feel threatened or convicted by that old Gospel stuff.
In this series we will look at the slippery slope that many Christian leaders have found themselves on as they have adopted pragmatism in order to be “culturally relevant.” This slippery slope is made up of many decisions and actions which increase the secularization of a local church. If completed then the slippery slope becomes a one-way plunge into a form of “Church” that in no way conforms to the New Testament Church.
The American Church, for the most part, is “out of whack.” It has reached such a level of compromise that it will take God’s good work to restore and revive it. This series or study will, I pray, reveal the need for us to divorce ourselves from the world and its ways instead of embracing them and making them part of our churches. God is at work drawing His remnant out of the Compromised Church. I pray that you will become drunk and intoxicated with Him as you obediently do whatever He tells you to do.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™ Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.