Apathy in the Church

My wife and I just returned from another road trip. As we do several times a year, we set out with our fifth wheel and speak at churches in a section of the US, going from one church to another over a period of several weeks. My sermons generally focus on Islam and the Christian response.

This trip one message I gave at several churches was titled “Islam and the Last Days.” I focused on the acceleration of Islam around the world, the vacuum that has been created in Europe and the US as those societies have abandoned their Christian roots, and what has crept in to replace that spiritual vacuum.

My wife made an interesting observation on this road trip. Standing in the foyer of a church one Sunday morning after service, she looked at the faces of those leaving. Later she commented that most people had the look of “OK, I’ve done my ‘Christian duty for the week. Time to get back to the world.’ I have to say I fear she was right in her observation.

The church is apathetic; no, the church is anemic. It has lost its strength. It has lost its vision. It has lost its will to thrive, to be the salt and light Jesus called it to be, to stand against worldviews and ideologies that create strongholds and deceive the masses, that come against the knowledge of God. In short, the Church has ceased to be “Christian.”

Jesus Christ was no weakling, the meek and mild caricature he is often depicted as being. He impacted the world. He called out evil when he saw it. He judged others and exposed hypocrisy. The apostles did the same. The first century church was RADICAL. Churches today? No so much.

Pastors today have it tough, at least pastors that fit the Biblical definition of what a pastor should be and do. I’m not talking about so-called pastors or ministers who give a seeker-friendly watered-down feel-good message about love and acceptance on Sunday mornings. Those pastors seem to rake in millions, have congregations of thousands, and book sales galore. No, I’m talking about pastors who fulfill their duty to preach the word.

2 Timothy 4:1-4  I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

What is the duty of a pastor/teacher? Convince, rebuke, exhort, with patience and teaching. To speak the truth of the gospel message that we are all sinners doomed to an eternity of separation from God a choice of our own free will, until and unless we repent of our sins and turn to Jesus Christ and his shed blood for forgiveness. To rebuke others when they stray, which goes against the grain today of being accepting of everyone, endorsing gay marriage and clergy, and embracing other sinful lifestyles. Exhort, to call true believers to lives of holiness and devotion to God, not worldly pursuits. It’s not popular. It’s not profitable. But it’s Biblical. And it happens infrequently and in a small percentage of churches.

I have personally been the recipient of consequences for calling the church and Christians to holiness. I have been slandered, called names, and have suffered financially. And this by other Christians!

Has the great falling away begun that precedes the revealing of “the lawless one” known also as the anti-Christ? Not only has it begun, it appears to be accelerating at a rapid pace!

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