When the Lord called us from the world to be His ecclesia, His called-out ones, He wanted a holy community of royal priests that could serve His purposes and manifest His glory to the world. The Lord needed a spiritual community that should shine forth in the dark world of lost sinners and be the light of the world. The people who lived in the abyss of sin needed the true light that should come and shine in the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church, as members of Christ’s body had a God-given mandate to let its light shine so that the world shouldn’t sink deeper into the abyss of sin and its depths of destruction. To the Church, the Great Commission of rescuing the perishing was given while the Church had to put its light on top so that all should see the light and come to the Lord.
However, over the past centuries, the Church has been as rebellious and as stubborn as the nation of Israel in the Old Testament era. There are striking parallels between the redeemed Old Testament community and that of the present church. If we choose to ignore the admonition that the Bible was written for our instruction and to warn us, then we will be in grave danger of being plucked out by the fruits because of our unproductive behavior, for, the axe is always laid on the root of a tree that does not bear good fruit. To this end, the Lord Jesus reminds us that we did not choose Him but He chose us that we should go and bear fruits, fruits that remain unto eternal life. If the Church does not bring forth fruit that remains, then it is sinning.
To sin is to miss the mark, to miss the target. To sin is to be disobedient, choosing to be independent of God’s law and provision. It is to go your own good way and not His good. What is it that the Bible requires us as the Church to do? What has he specifically instructed us and how willing and obedient have we been over the past centuries, or rather, how is the modern day responding to God’s word, His call and purposes today? I feel that it’s time for revival; a new spiritual awakening is needed because of the sins of the Church. As the Church, we have been involved in many misdeeds and worldly leaving that has not honored God especially in our time and, allow me to explain what I mean.
- The Church has sinned by disobeying the Great Commission: I know many folks will feel that this is an unworthy condemnation from a zealous and misguided theologian. But, let the facts speak for themselves! How many Christians are actively engaged in the winning of souls today in their communities? And oh, by the way, oh Christian, how long have you been a Christian and how many souls have you won to Christ? The Great Commission mandate states that the Gospel has to be preached by every believer to all mankind and when the Church is not actively involved in soul winning, we are sinning. One way in which the Church has contributed to this sin is by emphasizing missions and evangelism teams that portrayed that evangelism is for the elite trained clergy and missionaries. While some could not participate in taking the Gospel to the lost, it is but okay to simply donate some money for the sake of soul winning while they stay busy at the home fronts doing nothing for the kingdom. There is nothing wrong in financing missions at our churches, but that is not the main thing. The main thing is to be true and obedient to the call of the Master who wants every believer to be a witness.
- The Church has sinned by elevating one ministry over others: Depending on certain elements at different levels, several congregations seem to have lost sight of the body ministry of the Church. We have been in the habit of idolizing and venerating one ministry after another and over emphasizing it to such an extent that other vital church ministries have been neglected and the body of Christ has suffered. In the past decades, the office of the pastor and the evangelist were greatly overemphasized. With the passing of time, we emphasized healings, tongues and exorcisms. Today, we have repeated the same mistakes as we have begun to idolize apostles and prophets and have forsaken and shunned all other ministries. We are missing the mark!
- The Church has sinned by being materialistic and hedonistic. Riches and wealthy are not bad; they are good if they are kept in checks and balances However, when our wealthy and riches begin to sell to us the spiritual fantasy of being self-sufficient without God simple because of pleasures that comes from enjoying our worldly possessions, then we are doomed. It is bad to trust in riches and to seek God because you want to be rich. The false gospel of prosperity that has been thundering in most congregations has produced a Christianity that is bent on seeking after riches and not God. God is seen as the means to gain wealthy and a relationship that is based on getting goods from God is not lasting. How often have we heard preachers exhorting people to come to Christ to have all the luxuries of life and have forgotten that there is no profit in gaining the whole world and losing your own souls? Pastors have stopped nurturing believers and are now running churches as businesses and they must make profit. We have devised all kinds of strange doctrines to help us get money, fame and wealthy and all the luxuries there to appertaining. Yet, the spirituality of the true church is at stake when the Church’s attitude towards money and riches is gross.
- The Church has sinned by tolerating false teachers. One of the greatest differences we have with the early Church is our inability to discern false teachers. If perhaps we do, we have not been faithful to the biblical instruction to expose the works of darkness, warn the sheep of grievous wolves that do not spare the sheep (Acts 20:29-31) who draws disciples after themselves. Our attitude has been that of tolerance instead of aggressiveness. Jesus said, “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” (Revelation 2:14-15)
We have tolerated false teachers; we have allowed them to each strange doctrines and multiply lying signs and wonders in our midst. The church needs to be cleansed, and revival is greatly needed. Those that have rose to speak against false teachers and false prophets, those that have denounced them, we have silenced and condemned, alluding that they are not spiritual because we have been trickled by our itching ears and have sought those that can tell us what we need to hear. Where are the polemicists and apologists that can stand and defend the truth (Jude 3) today? We have silenced them and labeled them theological radicals that have never known the ways of the Spirit or revelation. In our bid to satisfy our pseudo-spirituality, we have forsaken the Bible’s teachings and appealed to prophetic revelations and let go of the inerrant, authoritative and inspired word of God.
We have forgotten the exhortation, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” (3 John 11) We have allowed false teachers in our homes, in our churches and have tolerated their falsehoods. The Lord wants a Church that worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24) and not a church build on the sands of falsehood that produces a pseudo- spirituality.
- The Church has sinned by tolerating heresy. Heresy is a dangerous false teaching that seeks to lead one from the ways of truth. Heretics are of two different forms: the willful and the ignorant. There are those who have set down to study and twist the Scriptures after their own destruction. They look into the Bible and decides which is true and false for them, what they should and not believe. Like the old heretic Marcion, they remove portions of Scriptures from the biblical text simply because it just doesn’t suit their opinions. Such heretics are false teachers and should not be tolerated. The second group is composed of the zealous but ignorant men who have read the Bible with preconceived ideas and have shoved them into the Bible and forced their interpretations into the text. They are so sincere that they don’t see their error unless someone reproves them. These however, have a likely possibility of turning to truth when confronted by it while the first group, though knowing the truth has just chosen to reject it. These are dead in their trespasses and have no hope for salvation.
We have contributed as the Church to this phenomenon by not instructing the saints in the pure word of God. When pastors and church leaders fail to get their people to proper bible study using proper methods, then the saints will fall prey to error and false teaching that is based on biblical proof texts. Many doctrines have been advanced that have been a result of scripture verses that have been taken out of context. In some congregations, the leaders have castigated theological study and shunned it as an unspiritual endeavor. As a result, in these churches, emphasis is on the spiritual and the written word of God which is supposed to be the basis and standard of measurement for everything spiritual is shunned.
We have erred greatly by tolerating heretics and their heresies. We have even gone further into defending certain heresies simply because we want to endeavor to keep a false unity. True unity in the Church is based on truth and love. If there is no truth, there is no love and the Church is jeopardized. The Church is built on the solid rock Christ, the truth (John 14:6), the Amen and Faithful True Witness, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. If we do not have a love of truth in our churches, we are no better than the world that lies in darkness.
In the next article, I will continue to look at the other sins that the Church has committed and call the church to repentance, seek the Lord and cry for a new wave of revival. What other sins have you seen the Church committing in your area? I will be glad to learn about them. God bless!