Why is the Modern Church Struggling?

One of our readers wonders why the modern church isn’t showing much success fulfilling its mission. He asks, have we:

  •     reduced true fellowship to filling auditorium seats?
  •     become more focused on gaining members than winning the lost?
  •     emphasized going to church, rather than being the Church?
  •     become overly concerned with buildings and salaries?
  •     promoted religion and call it Christianity?

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I’ve been reading the best-selling book The Harbinger because friends are asking me about it. The error made by the author, Jonathan Cahn, is a common one. He cites and uses Bible prophecy addressed to Israel (Isaiah 9:10-12), and applies it to the U.S.

A well-known example of this error is a popular and well-meaning movement among Christians which called “If My People.” The goal was to call America to repentance and revival. Now that was a good thing, of course. But it isn’t America or any political entity that God calls to revival. It is a call to a spiritual entity, the Church of Jesus Christ. This movement used as their authority, II Chronicles 7:14.”If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray…..I will heal their land.”
God Bless America. When we sing this fine song, we do well to remember it is a prayer to God, not a statement that the USA is especially blessed by Him. Do we find find any passage in Scripture that clearly shows the USA is God’s chosen—that we are called by God’s name as Israel was? Has our history shown us to be an especially godly nation, ever?

Knowing how we clung to the evil of slavery when every other western nation had rejected it;  knowing how we have unjustly abused both Native and African Americans; knowing that only through the bloodiest civil war in history did we finally declare that slavery was not OK; knowing we banished God from our schools and other institutions–knowing all this, can we honestly believe God especially favors the USA?

Were the founding fathers believers?  The leading framers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,  Franklin, Jefferson and Madison, were deists, not Christians. They believed God was far removed from human affairs–, that he wound up his creation like a clock and then abandoned it.

Is the USA the New Israel? When the Apostle Peter wrote, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (NASB) is he describing the U.S? Of course not. He describes the church, the body of Christ—a spiritual entity not a political one. Israel is a type of the church, not of our nation or any nation.

This unfortunate error—believing the U.S. is special, is termed chauvinism or jingoism, words derived from actual individuals who held that their land was superior in some way.  It was this belief that caused 19th century France to plunge Europe into horrendous warfare for 12 bloody years. It was this error by the German people, who proudly sang, Deutschland Uber Alles (Germany Over All) that birthed the horrors of two world wars and the Jewish holocaust.

We need to abandon this belief the the U.S. is special to God unless it can be proven in some way. We do know that Jesus loves and favors his church. Can we pray instead that God’s people, His church, will turn back to Christ and once again   become a vital force in the world. It was the church of Jesus Christ that turned the Roman world right-side-up, causing them to abandon the evils of paganism, slavery and entertainments of death. It was a vital Christian faith that pushed for England to reject slavery and the exploitation of children. The church can be great once more.  Lord, do it again.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Picked On

We want to remind you brethren of the afflictions we endured….The burdens laid on us were great—so overwhelming, we despaired of life itself. (2 Cor 1:8).

Have you ever felt picked on? I mean have you ever come to the point where you believed life or God or the universe had it in for you? After surviving Stage IV cancer and a serious heart attack all in the same year, Matt, a good brother from church approached me.

“Wade,” he said, “Don’t feel you’re being picked on. It’s not so unusual for someone with cancer to then suffer a heart attack.” I felt comfort from Matt’s concern but also remembered Tevye’s comment when he felt picked on. In Fiddler on the Roof, he was complaining to God about all the troubles he and his fellow Jews suffered, “I know, I know. We are your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t you just choose someone else?”
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Fire on the Earth

Jesus said he has brought both fire and a sword. Of course his warfare is with spiritual powers, not governments, as the Jews wanted.  Corporate prayer is like the oxygen that allows the fire to grow. CommUNITY  and a spirit of brotherly love is the fuel that keeps it burning. But our warfare seems to be more with one another.

A House Divided.  I have just read in a periodical how one segment of the church is publicly condemning Franklin Graham for a particular moral stand. Another group is publicly condemning Presbyterians for their beliefs. Who is right and who is wrong isn’t  Continue reading

Why is the Church in Decline?

Although church involvement was once a cornerstone of American life, according to studies by the Barna Group, less than half of Americans now believe church has any relevance to their lives.

Future looks bleak. Millennials (those 30 and under) stand out as least likely to value church attendance; only two in 10 believe it is important. And more than one-third of Millennial young adults (35%) are anti-church. Many Continue reading