"Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?" (Ps. 85:6).
I'm not referring to all churches collectively in this article, but to the large majority who have drifted away from God. The present condition of the church leaves one to wonder if the lack of the fear of the Lord is contributing to her spiritually dead condition.
With rapid-fire changes within a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what's inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival ... if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him ... there is tremendous hope. Revival means to awaken, restore, renew or repair. In churches across America, crowd appeal and pleasing the masses tend to be the goal rather than calling out destructive lifestyles, which can result in revival and renewal.
A deep, deathlike slumber has overtaken the church: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead" (Rev. 3:1). The beacon of light has faded, the salt has lost its savor, and the message of the cross has been edited out of most sermons. We have lost our fervor for the truth. Have we considered that we may have offended God? Consider the following:
1. The media is influencing the church. The politically correct police are on high alert. You can mention God as long as you don't mention His absolute truth. You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher. And you can embrace religion as long as it's all-inclusive. Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted. The trend in churches is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming. Sermons are designed to tickle the ear but not convict the heart. God help us.
Additionally, many Christians enjoy programs about the occult, vampires, witches, zombies, illicit sex and other perversions of the truth. A Christian should not be entertained by darkness. If we are, our heart needs spiritual resuscitation. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace: (Rom. 8:6).
Many go to church sporadically, but would rather see a movie. They are disengaged and bored during worship. Their social media posts resemble Hollywood, not the work of the Spirit. They choose friends who complement their worldly lifestyle, rather than friends who challenge them to live for God. They look forward to consuming alcohol, and avoid prayer and Bible study. Their movie and video choices look no different than what the culture promotes. The things of the world are exciting, and the things of God are dull. Their conversations at work include every topic except God, and at home, their words are shallow and lifeless. Their waking thoughts are either focused on wealth, pleasure or entertainment. They are dead or dying spiritually, and they don't even know it. They have religion, but not a genuine relationship.
2. The church cannot be political—unless it is "politically correct." In 2013, Pastor Louie Giglio was dismissed from the president's inauguration for his views on homosexuality, and replaced with a pastor who supports the gay and lesbian agenda. Ironically, he prayed blessings upon our nation. I was reminded of God's words to Jeremiah, "I have not sent these pastors but they ran. I have not spoken to them but they spoke. But had they truly stood in My counsel, they would have turned the people from their evil ways" (paraphrasing Jer. 23:21). "We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets" (Leonard Ravenhill).
Two things need to occur in order for severe persecution to take place: 1) the absence of legislation allowing free speech about God, and 2) the absence of God-fearing leaders who will uphold God's standard. As both of these fade rapidly from the scene, the church has been lulled to sleep while the enemy creeps in and plants tares among the wheat.
3. The military is being manipulated by atheist groups demanding that God be removed. Christians are cowering behind the door of political correctness and allowing God-hating groups to determine the course of our military strength. Granted, our trust is in God and in His sovereign control, but woe be to any military organization who seeks to remove Him from their arsenal. He is not a thought, a concept, or an idea...He is the Maker of heaven and Earth: "Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations themselves may know they are mortals" (Ps. 9:20).
4. The educational system continues to remove God. Darwin is praised and curriculum that removes God is applauded. Don't get me wrong, I thank God for good public school teachers—we need more, and the new academic standards may have some good points, but there is also a trend to teach that even if a student answers incorrectly, he may be right if he can adequately explain why he answered wrong. Relativism continues to challenge truth, but to its own destruction. Any time we value human reasoning and intellect over God's Word and absolute truth, we face the consequences of our foolishness.
I make no apologies for the controversial content of this article. When we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive ideas and philosophies, we are, in essence, confirming them. To state the obvious, we become part of the problem: We cannot change what we will not confront.
A large majority of the churches in America have been desensitized one generation at a time, one court decision at a time, one compromise at a time, and we are drowning in a cesspool of relativism. "The wicked walk on every side, when the worthless of mankind are exalted" (Ps. 12:8). God is our only hope. "Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?" (Ps. 85:6).
Find out more at WCFAV.org.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, California, just North of Los Angeles. He recently released his seventh book, Desperate for More of God at shaneidleman.com. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at wcfav.org. Follow him on Facebook at: facebook.com/confusedchurch.
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