Approximately 18 years ago my friend and I, while lamenting on the embarrassing and immoral way the church was using the money it was collecting, struggled to find some answer to the issues we were identifying. If the ways of the western church had been foretold to God’s people a century ago they would have been aghast, and perhaps they would have refused to believe it was the authentic church of the Living Christ. But what were we to do besides expostulate the behavior of the present day church?
We decided to form an independent missionary organization which had no staff and no overhead and just raised and sent money overseas to missionaries, especially those working among unreached peoples. This past Sunday one of the men we have supported for over a decade, a pastor from Togo who has started 16 churches, spoke in a church here in America. Within his message he gave a stark and revealing comparison between the American churches and the churches in Togo, Africa. It was obvious how wide and growing is the gulf between how believers gather together in Togo and how we gather here.
Besides some specifics about the length of the service and the church disciple that exists over there, there was one major component that seemed to be the core difference. It was the emphasis, or lack thereof, of the practice of prayer. We do not need to pray more here in the church in America, we need to pray period. What is called corporate prayer here is an affront to God. And if God’s people do not pray with conviction and passion, with tears and repentance, then we have a form of godliness while denying the power thereof.
I do not need to rehearse the doctrinal falsehoods and the self righteousness that is prevalent within the community of faith. It is unnecessary to present a long list of the carnal practices and the pleasure seeking mentality within the western church. I can refrain from repeating the divorce statistics and the pervasive promiscuity within the youth groups. It would be redundant to expose the pitiful subject matter and powerlessness of the pulpiteers across this nation. And the political entanglement is obvious and unfortunate. All of that is just symptomatic of the church’s condition.