Liberals love to broadcast the bad news of how America is becoming more secular. A recent Pew Research Center study made the rounds internationally, aided by Soros backed media outlets around the world. Liberals can’t wait to pronounce Christianity dead. In fact they already have. Multiple times, over and over again.
But what’s really broken – Christianity or the Church as we’ve know her?
Are declining numbers of membership in mainline Protestant denominations the real metric against which America should be judged? This author doesn’t think so: http://spectator.org/archives/2012/10/10/a-secularizing-america
Mark Tooley boldly brings the whole issue back in focus and reminds us something that we’ve known for a while: Americans are rejecting religious structures without life but that doesn’t mean they are rejecting Christianity.
In fact, it can be argued that more than ever, Americans are longing for “the real thing”. More and more Christians are re-discovering the beauty of sharing life as a community of believers, something which the institutional church has failed to deliver.
Here’s 7 ways the Institutional Church has failed God’s people:
1) Compromise with the full counsel of God
Religious politics have sanitized America’s pulpits to a point of not being able to recognize whether the average “relevant” church is a gathering of believers seeking God’s Kingdom or a Dr. Phil program. (I actually like Dr. Phil, but that’s besides the point). Many “sensitive” parts have been removed from today’s preaching. White Papers from leading denominational headquarters have spoken against the gifts of the Spirit and the power dimension of being a believer. Years ago I was in this church and was told that a big-name preacher had been there recently and before he came to preach he asked no songs that mention spiritual warfare to be used in his services.
The compromise begins with controversial doctrines and practices such as deliverance and the gifts of the Spirit, but after a while it spreads, preaching against sin decreases and the church is left with a whole lot of psychologizing, while no one is getting really free. Now, I know restoration it’s complex and it’s never only about deliverance and confronting sin, but most churches today are flat out embarrassed or ignorant about these issues.
2) Intercession has been pushed out and marginalized
Whatever happened to prayer and intercession? It’s not uncommon to see churches that have thousands of members but no strategic intercession in place. No prayer targeting the city, no effort to “birth” things in prayer.
When the average pastor tells the church on Sunday “let’s pray”, I call this “the most dreaded spiritual experience in America today”. Why? Because what follows most of the time is…silence. Dreadful silence. The people haven’t been taught how to pray strong, as a result they are either ignorant or lazy. And the end result is weak, hollow spiritual climates in our meetings.
3) Eloquence has replaced anointed preaching, teaching and release of Heaven on earth
The ability to speak well in many cases has replaced Spirit-led, inspired, anointed preaching and teaching, all of which are some of our most important weapons of warfare against the enemy. The truth is – when we preach, we release spiritual nuclear missiles against satanic principalities and powers (Eph. 3:10). Preaching was never intended only to be a lecture, talk or an academic oriented discourse. It’s meant to shift spiritual climates, to challenge, to shake up, to deliver. When we preach, there should be people getting healed, delivered and yes, sometimes they will even manifest. But hey, this is what normal Christianity is all about. If and when Americans taste it, they love it, they won’t reject it.
4) Doom and gloom
The institutional Church has failed to give God’s people a vision and an understanding of the Kingdom. Jesus taught more on the Kingdom than anything else. The Kingdom is growing and it’s here. Our vision and message should be multi-generational, victorious and overcoming. For more on this point, I highly recommend Dr. Joseph Mattera’s book “Walk In Generational Blessings”. http://www.amazon.com/Walk-Generational-Blessings-Leaving-transformation/dp/0768440602/
5) Fragmented masses of people vs. communities of faith
Americans are rejecting the institutional experience, which allows for masses of people to come together at a church service, but fails to offer a way for communities of faith to be formed. Small groups are still operated like optional programs, rather sharing life in a small community to be understood as the main way God works in and through the Body of Christ.
6) Sacred and secular
The institutional Church sells a career in its ranks as the truly sacred and it looks down of success in “the world”. This fallacy is being challenged and more and more people are realizing that if we come to see ourselves as Kingdom of God citizens, we carry the Kingdom wherever we go and this includes our jobs and businesses. In fact, we realize that creating wealth can and should be just as much of a manifestation of God’s creative power, as creating music or other art forms.
7) Men, women and children
The Institutional Church has failed to impart the Spirit of God into men. As a result men don’t know what it is to be manly in a godly way, women have lost their way as a result and children have been the ultimate victim of this dysfunction. Many ministers aren’t even manly. Manliness is frowned upon and femininity has become the new “nice” in the way men carry themselves.
All this leads me to believe that Americans are actually quite ready for God’s Kingdom truth, power and wisdom. They’ve had enough of the false substitutes of dead, institutional Church. As the old structures continue to collapse (Babylon is falling), let’s be diligent to be found in a receiving and giving position, working with the Lord to restore the Body of Christ in the earth. What’s broken is not Christianity – it has never been. What’s broken is the institutional Church as we know it.
This is about to ch@nge!