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Disturbing Christianity

Updated on September 16, 2017

Opening thoughts

The Great American Fast VII will be under way September 8 and 9 worldwide. The Fast takes place every second weekend of September, and the purpose is to seek the face of God. As I was preparing for the next week's fast, I began to think about the state of Christianity in America.

From a spiritual point of view, things would appear to be improving in America, but we still have a long way to go. I don't claim to have it all together by any means, but I must admit, there are some things that deeply disturb me about the 21st Century American Church. If it disturbs me, I'm sure it disturbs God so much more.

Many of you will not like what I have to say. Some will. I'm told not to discuss religion or politics in public places. I'll forgo the political discussion, but I am a preacher, ordained by God to speak out against the travesty that is the American Church. So I must.

I'm speaking in general terms, not specifics. If these situations don't apply to your church, thank God and go on serving Him with your whole heart.

Let's take care of first things first. The overall American Christian church today has the wrong focus. God was not created for you. You were created for God. He owes you nothing. We owe Him everything. He is not the big, sugar daddy in the sky. He is the God of the Universe. Isaiah 43:7 says, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

The church will never revisit its New Testament roots without first acknowledging her complete dependence on her Savior. But, let's not stop there.

We may be in the right place, but for the wrong reason. I think these would be better off home in bed.
We may be in the right place, but for the wrong reason. I think these would be better off home in bed.

Sunday Only Christians

Too many "Christians" only play the game. That disturbs me. It was no game for Christ as He headed up Calvary's hill. If God only counts on Sunday, does He count at all? Proverbs 23:7 states, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . ." You are who you on Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, as well as Sunday. A wise man once told me, "You are who you when you're alone. If Christ is not preeminent when you're alone, please don't disgrace His precious name and play the Sunday only game. Be true to yourself.

On the flip side, you ought to be gathered with other believers on Sunday. I have heard all too often, "I don't have to go to church to be a good Chrisitan. If you're not at church, where are you? What are you doing? Exodus 20:3 is quite plain - "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Anything or anybody you place above God is an idol.

"Well, I can stay home and watch the TV preachers." Yes, you can. You can do anything you want. That's the point. Do you want to please Jesus? We are told in Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; . . . " There is a blessedness and spiritual growth that takes place when we join ourselves together to worship the only One deserving of our worship.

Next up . . .

Five Minute Prayer Meetings

As long as I'm ranting, I might as well say I think the so-called midweek prayer meeting in many churches is a waste of time. Too often the formula goes like this:.15 Minutes - Sing some catchy tunes; 10 Minutes - Testimonies from the flock about how great things they accomplished for God throughout the week; 30 Minutes - Let the preacher wax eloquent in a Bible study so everyone can shake his hand on the way out and tell him how great he is; 5 minutes - Prayer.

Many churches are now calling it a midweek service, but the New Testament church had prayer meetings.What the American church needs desperately is prayer. It was a prayer meeting that released Peter unseen from prison (Acts 12:1-9). It was a praise and prayer meeting that shook the prison's foundations and freed Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25, 26).

It was the heart-driven prayer that allowed the New Testament church to flourish in the presence of opposition and persecution. James 5:16 gives this insight. ". . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." The Greek word for fervent means to be zealous, to get excited while the Greek word for effectual has to do with the idea of being mighty, having power with God. So let me ask you, are your prayers effectual and fervent? Do get excited about praying knowing that you are meeting with the God of the universe and that He is willing to listen and answer. What an awesome opportunity!

Prosperity Theology is quite disturbing and is not Biblical

I could name names, but I won't. Think about it. I'm sure you can come up with your own names. The message rings out loud and clear every Sunday on the TV. If you are suffering a physical ailment, you are not right with God. You need to come and be healed. If you are struggling to pay your bills, just send in $100 and God will bless you four-fold. Send $500, and I'll send you a handkerchief that has been dipped in the Jordan River. It's almost funny except that far too many people fall for it.

Talk to the Apostle Paul about health issues. He prayed three times for healing of a physical ailment and God said three times that His grace was all that Paul needed. He was never healed this side of Heaven.

Better yet, preach your health and wealth salvation to Jesus. His entire life and ministry were characterized by poverty and suffering. He had not so much as a pillow to lay His head.

What about Job? His suffering was eventually eliminated, but he suffered for quite some time with no relief. The list goes on.

What kind of sense does this make - and it certainly isn't biblical

Closet Christians Disturb Me

Closet Christians disturb me. Those Christians who never let their faith be known may not be Christians at all. God sees their heart. He knows. Luke 12:8, 9 says this - "Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God."

As Christians, we are told at least five times in the New Testament to be witnesses for and of Christ (Matthew 28:19l, 20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).But, we let fear stop us. We allow peer pressure to silence our mouths. We choose to take the easy way out.

Luke 9:26 continues, "For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels." That, my friend, is serious whether you believe so or not.

The Apostle Paule urges the young preacher, Timothy, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (II Timothy 1:8). Persecution would come. Timothy's life would be one of pain and suffering because of his stand for Christ.Yet, the experience of the wise Apostle spoke of the importance of making Christ known to a lost and dying world.

In Closing

In closing, let me say the Christian life is not one of ease and comfort, nor was it ever promised to be. I'm sure Jesus was not at ease and comfortable as He was nailed to the cross and became your sin, taking your punishment (II Corinthians 5:21).

God is holy, and His holiness demands justice. But God is also loving. His holiness and love met at the cross. For all those who will accept Christ's sacrifice, and choose to follow Him, Heaven waits. For those who don't - well Jesus spoke more about hell than He did Heaven. It awaits all those who reject God's love and atonement through Jesus Christ. We are all free to make our choice.

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    • lifegate profile image
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      William Kovacic 5 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I wish more people were as concerned as you, Tammy. The world is cold and so is the church - no more salt or light. Glad you able to stop by.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 6 weeks ago

      Well expressed and fitting exhortation, Bill. The blindness and slumber in the church itself are unbelievable. We have so mixed with the world that we appear to be no different. To call it out is perceived as judging and legalism.

      Perhaps this is the great falling away. It is sincerely disturbing.

    • lifegate profile image
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      William Kovacic 6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Gora. There's no doubt. In general, the American church is falling apart. I'm glad you're staying by the stuff. Be looking forward to having you join us in spirit at the Fast.

    • lifegate profile image
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      William Kovacic 6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      That's great, Eric. I'll be looking for you on the site!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Pastor Bill, I share your concerns. One of the reasons I like being back in the Caribbean is that the church I grew up in is still serious about God and His standards. I'm learning all over again. I feel some guilt about not finishing an article on revival which I intended for the TGF site. Still, I will join in the fast this year as we pray for each other and for our nation. Be blessed and encouraged! The battle is the Lord's.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Joining. Thanks for the reminder.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for sharing some interesting personal facts, Eric. I'd like to invite you to join us at thegreatamericanfast.org. Hope to see you there. Let's get our church attendance up. lol

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A wonderful piece friend. I love the first pick of the bummed out attendees. It took me 3 years of cajoling to get my wife to smile and laugh at church. Now she is nearly irreverent.

      I was trying to think of someone who knows me even casually that does not know I am Christian. There are so few things that I can think of that even for a second of my life I wasn't. Perhaps at 3.5 yrs I was just brainwashed, but that would not explain sticking with it for 60 years. Hmm.

      If I miss doing my reading, prayer and meditation in the morning -- I can feel it, and so make time later.

      I am not as stalwart as you about church attendance. But I like your view.

      You remind me of my dilemma. My wife, young son and I do not suffer. I mean not ever. For us turning our life over to Christ for care is as natural as taking our hand out of fire.

      Thanks for all these great truths.

    • lifegate profile image
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      William Kovacic 6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the added thoughts, Bill. You're absolutely right. I can't say I live the life perfectly, but I do try the best I can. That's the whole purpose of Christ's death and resurrection. He sacrificed His perfection for my imperfection, then arose conquering death once for all. My hope in heaven is not in what I've done but rather in what He has done. Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Very interesting thoughts, Bill. I would add those who preach the Bible but live decidedly different lives outside of church....being a Christian is a full-time job, requiring one to walk the talk in their daily lives.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 6 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Turning down an invitation from my son for dinner would be very tough for me, especially since I love to eat. Glad to see you made it through, and I'm looking forward to the Fast next weekend!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      We do need to get serious.

      I look forward to the fasts Bill. When I did them before they were the highlight of my time! I found no trouble at all going from evening to evening without eating and concentrating on our Savior and the prayers that so need to be said. Only once in all that time before did it even come to light to anyone else that I was fasting (for we know we are not to boast of it) and that was when my son kept insisting he take me out to dinner and when he would not accept any excuse I had to finally tell him.

      I hope many will join in and we can get God's attention for our nation!

      God bless you and God bless America!