Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Church - Sanguine While Apostasy Reigns

It is no hyperbole or exaggeration to suggest that apostasy is sweeping through the western evangelical church. False teachers and heretics are growing like weeds, and their popularity continues to skyrocket. The church follows hard after their own lusts and desires and by and large has left following Christ. Even those who would claim the inspiration of Scripture and the exclusivity of Christ in redemption are caught in a spiritual lethargy that is bound by the culture, tradition, and the subtle and overt pursuit of things. And in the midst of all this and more, the church walks with a sanguine disposition and even forcefully teaches us to embrace it and grow it every single day without any deference to the spiritual circumstances all around us.

Apostasy is now minor issue. It is the most serious of all ecclesiastical conditions. It reveals such spiritual treason and such a breach of spiritual integrity that it forces God Himself to abandon a church or even a person. It is marked by such a violation of truth that the gospel itself is no longer believed or taught, and in that condition the mouth of hell is enlarged. How’s that for serious? The games have long since past. Apostasy is not just on the rise, it has buried its roots, taken many hostages, and implemented a strategy whereby it can spread throughout the evangelical community. It already had the liberal wings of Christianity, but its desire for spiritual death has now turned upon those who rested upon their “orthodox” laurels.

The word sanguine has a few definitions, but in this case it represents a bold contentment and a strong confidence. It means that the evangelical church operates with no real sense of desperation. And in spite of the compromised condition of the church it still rehearses a redundant religious practice that has less power than mothers against drunk drivers or even the SPCA. And yet she sails through life with head held high even while believers seek the material world with a sacrificial passion.

But the compromise that began after the Industrial Revolution has long since turned into a systematic apostasy. But here is the diabolical strategy that has come to pass. Most orthodox churches would never deny Christ or His gospel. And if they have a statement of faith it may look in Biblical order. But in a stunning and breathtaking display of wicked genius, these churches have walked in such cultural compromise that these Biblical truths including the gospel have been rendered impotent. And when the teachings of Jesus are compared with what the church does, it reveals a deadly spiritual infection that continues to destroy what little spiritual integrity is left.

We say Jesus is coming back but our preparations for the Super Bowl are far greater than any preparations for His coming. We say we do not seek things but we rejoice when we are approved for loans by which we can by things. We say we do not love money but we save up funds to spend upon ourselves at some later date. We say we believe in prayer but we spend more time on the toilet than we do in deep intercessory prayer. We say we love lost sinners and yet we join hands with unbelievers to come against the lost. We say we believe in missions and yet we witness very little and we give more to mortgage companies than we do missions. We say we believe fasting increases spiritual power and yet we only fast to lose weight. Yes, we say a lot of things.

We say we believe in the eternal and yet where is the Sunday School class in room 101 that is labeled “Preparing for Eternity”? And yet we do have one that says “Biblical Finances” or “How to (fill in the blank)”. We are kinda interested in the ten toes of Daniel but we are completely disinterested in the ten toes on the feet of starving children around the world. We are interested in date night and guessing the date of the rapture but we are disinterested in the date in which our neighbor may die. We are interested in reducing higher taxes here in America but we are disinterested in reducing death rates in Uganda. We are interested in a shoe sale but we are disinterested in millions who have no shoes. We are interested in the next church conference but we are disinterested in those who have no gospel witness. We are interested in ferreting out welfare cheats but we are disinterested in personally reaching those who need more than just government help.

And yet with that kind of resume the church still walks with a resolute sanguine air believing that the redundant, benign, and self serving ecclesiastical structure pleases God because it pleases us. With a well oiled praise and worship machine, week after week we prove it is little more than musical manipulation. How do we prove that? Watch as we march to and fro, week after week, with no more authentic change than the tree in our back yard. If we are suggesting you can actually meet with the Risen Christ, go stuff your belly, and relax to watch a football game until Monday draws us to work once again, then we are now able to tell colossal fairy tales without even speaking them.

Is it any wonder the world accepts us a voice among many in the doings of men? And when we jump into politics we have landed in the world’s territory and immediately we have lost what little message we once had. I have watched as men and women who were very restrained in their worship in church wept during 4th of July celebrations which featured patriotic music. So people can endure a time of worship without much emotion to say nothing of brokenness, and yet they weep during an idolatrous spectacle? And you still have a problem with the word “apostasy”?

Can we remain sanguine in light of the spiritual condition in which we find ourselves? Is all this heaven and hell talk nothing more than talk? Do we really believe in eternal life and eternal death? Let us cut to the chase and reveal for the entire world to see exactly what we say we believe and then can we continue to live and think and act like those around us who express no such beliefs? What kind of self serving callousness does it take in order to profess something so august, so imposing, and so monumental and yet with so little dramatic demonstration which could possibly reflect the belief system we say we espouse? The evangelical church has become a scandal in the eyes of heaven.

But it isn’t enough to construct a religious expression which demands little and literally only denies the flesh a limited list of approved sins. But the church is filled with attempts to promote self esteem and a seeking to fulfill the dreams and desires of the flesh. Yes, the entire construct is geared toward the flesh with little room for the Spirit. And in light of this kind of religious institution, the human product it produces openly and unambiguously reflects the teachings it purports. And we have ended up as products of the culture with little more than a suggested doctrinal difference.

But all this has come to pass just as the spirit of prophecy has foretold. This has not taken God by surprise. Just as Adam disobeyed God so has the church followed in Adam’s footsteps and inherited a hedonistic curse even though we call it the blessings of God. The end is unraveling and our ears are itching to be tickled with songs of fallen pleasures and self affirmation. That which is truly of Jesus is not longer palatable except woven into a doctrinal statement. We live and drink and are merry and are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.

The only problem is that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Did I mention we are still sanguine? 


Anonymous said...

Good reminder, and great points Pastor Rick. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we have followed their example and continuously make wrong choices. There is almost a mega ministry out there, full of people who claim to seek God's will for their life - yet the very same people will choose to remain ignorant of God's revealed will in the bible, and blatantly disregard parts of God's word that they do know.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately, this is the truth.

And it's not just what the church does, that demonstrates it's apostasy, it's what it doesn't do, that also demonstrates it's apostasy.

There are sins of omission that the church does. Even though it pats itself on the back that it speaks for the unborn, or God's plan of traditional marriage, it fails to speak out on the greed, avarice, covetousness, arrogance, marital cheating, lies, favoritism, oppressing of others and dragging them into court, untaming of tongues, condemning of the just, condemning of the poor, lavishing praise on wealthy ungodly men who support the church's selfish ambitions, it's silence and support of ungodly men who tear and mischaracterize others, and mock them, and mock their families, slandering without a morsel of shame. The church, whose members listen and approve to these slanderous voices, says absolutely nothing. If it were to say something, it would lose it's influence with kings and rich men and be subjected to shrinking back into the shadows. Today's church wants to be shoulder-to-shoulder with the king of the world, therefore it must remain silent to it's sin, in order to stay in Satan's deceptive fold.

There may be 2% of watchmen who warn the church of it's blind pride and it's union with worldly men, and the other 98% of ministers, evangelists, teachers say absolutely nothing about this travesty. Like the Lord said to Ezekiel about the shepherds of Israel, the shepherds fed themselves, shouldn't they have fed the flocks; they ate the fat and clothed themselves with the wool, they slaughtered the fatlings, but they did not feed the flock. The weak they did not strenghen, nor did they heal those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost, but with force and cruelty they ruled them. And the Lord told them, "And as for you, O my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. Is it too little for you to heave eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture - and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet and they drink what you have fouled with your feet".

There is accountability with the shepherds in the U.S. right now, for how silent they've been in regards to how the church has behaved and carried herself these years. She's really bedded herself with the world and has shamed the Name of Jesus.

Steve said...

The words of Amos 5 come to mind as I watch the sanguine church continue in its orthodoxy-without-obedience:

"Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord,
For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?
It will be darkness and not light;
As when a man flees from a lion
And a bear meets him,
Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall
And a snake bites him.
Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light,
Even gloom with no brightness in it?"

In Jesus, Steve