|RETURN to Landmark Independent Baptist Church Homepage
While Churches Play Games America Dies!
When a Bible-believing preacher gets up and expounds upon the errors of cultism, not much stir is created. Neither is it difficult for a preacher to denounce out and out sin: Drunkenness, murder, rape, wife-beating, etc. These things need to be preached against, and certainly they should be preached against, but still there is not much controversy involved. Probably the most difficult area into which a preacher must delve is into the area of wrong-doing within his own ranks, namely, fundamental Christianity. When wrong is being done, however, I firmly believe that the wrong needs to be exposed, no matter where it may be found! With this in mind, and with full awareness that we may be called "sour grapes" by some, I shall endeavour to expose what I feel to be the single greatest cause of spiritual downfall and disrespect in our land today.
What is wrong with fundamental Christianity today? Why is it true that Christianity is not as effective today as it once was? Why is America falling deeper and deeper into sin, while at the same time many church buildings are getting fuller and fuller of people? Many "decisions" for Christ are being made today, and yet the evidence of a genuinely changed heart is missing. Why?
These are questions which people everywhere are asking, and they deserve answers!!! It is no secret that there are more people going to church today than ever before in the history of our land. There are more church buildings and religions than ever! Yet at the same time, there is more crime, murder, rape, robbery, etc. than there has ever been before!! Statistics will bear this out! What then is the problem? How can religion and general sinfulness be growing big together? More specifically, how can so-called "super churches" be having such great prosperity today, while at the same time sin and open immorality are enjoying a field day? To illustrate this more fully, let us consider this: If someone is terribly ill he is usually given some type of medicine to help cure the illness. If the medicine is given, yet the patient continues to worsen, we naturally assume that the medicine is not doing its job! We may apply this simple and obvious thought to our present day spiritual situation. Our nation is terribly ill spiritually. A great deal of religious medicine is being administered, yet the patient is getting worse and is almost dead!! What is the problem? The "medicine" is not working! Fundamental Christianity is failing, and the so-called "super churches" are putting up a false pretense of success! While the "super churches" try to outdo each other, America is dying spiritually!
Whether we like to face the fact or not, America is in sad shape. She is in a state of spiritual and moral decay. No nation has ever gone as far as our nation has gone without facing defeat and destruction. America is dying! Why? There are many lesser reasons, all of which seem to stem from the one major problem. This one major problem concerns "fundamental" Christianity as we know it. Instead of giving our land the curative medicine of God's Word, "fundamentalists" are giving her balloons and bribes! The people of America are lost and dying and bound for hell. They need Christ! Fundamental Christianity needs to wake up and face this fact, and it needs to be faced squarely and honestly!
The fundamental religion being served America today is very shallow. Gimmicks and bribes abound, and a carnival-like atmosphere prevails among many Baptist churches. It seems that "fundamentalists" are doing all they can to get all the world to come into the church, rather than challenging the church to go into all the world! One church recently offered a trip around the world in an attempt to fill its building. We have also heard of an ex-rodeo champ making the church rounds giving rope trick demonstrations and calf tying exhibitions. Very recently, a church had an evangelist leap from an airplane and parachute onto the church lot! The evangelist then went into the church and preached on the second coming of Christ!! How sad and silly, to cheapen the glorious imminent return of our Lord in a way such as this!! This is going on all over, in order to get crowds, and in order to be bigger than some other competitive church! Through all the fun and games, shallow "decisions" are being made, instead of heart-felt changes. Bigness is the standard for success, while our land is going to hell!!
In the Bible, bigness was never used as a standard for success. In fact, whenever the early church started getting too big, God always sent persecution to scatter her! Yet, in today's artificial world of the "super-aggressive Baptist church," big means success and small means failure! This is anti-Bible, totally unscriptural, and smacks of humanism!! Modern pastors have compromised Biblical standards in order to achieve bigness, and people are going to hell because of it! Hundreds of godly pastors have quit the ministry, miserably broken and defeated, due to the fact that their church did not get superduper or big or because the manufactured gimmicks did not work! Genuine Christianity does not survive by gimmicks and gadgets, but rather it survives by the power and the sustanation of God! Our lost America needs to witness and to receive this power!!!!
The modern "super church" of today widely propagates the theory that the bigger the church is, the more spiritual and better it is. We are flooded with notions that if a pastor does not double or triple his attendance each year, he is a failure and is not spiritually right with God. Our current "super church" crowd tells us that every town needs only one big church to meet its needs, and that a town with a bunch of smaller churches is missing the mark spiritually. This type of humanistic thinking and philosophy is satanic! Down through the years, the one device most used by Satan to destroy God's work has been a gathering together of all churches into one big one. By trying to deceive us into believing that one large church in a town is better than several small ones is nothing short in succeeding in this device!! To say that a pastor is a backslidden failure because his attendance is not doubling or tripling over a given time is humanistically judging the plan and the purpose of God's man and of God! This is wrong! It is this type of propaganda which is sending a lost nation closer to destruction!!
I used to like the term "fundamentalist." When someone would inquire as to my spiritual position, I would usually say: "I am a Christian, an independent Baptist, a fundamentalist." I hesitate to say "fundamentalist" anymore. It carries too many shallow overtones. When the term "fundamentalist" is used, thoughts come to mind of balloons, ten-speed bikes, world's biggest ice cream sundaes, five dollar bills under lucky bus seats, karate choppers smashing melons on people, fish pond dips, pie throws, ex-hoodlums, ex-movie stars, ex-WW I pilots, and "cut-off-your-tie" days! Whatever happened to the fundamentals of the faith?? The world "fundamental" used to mean peculiar. Now it has come to mean ridiculous!! The sad part is this: Great crowds are very evidently being drawn by all of this, and fundamental Christianity is supposed to be having great success. We are being told that Christianity is experiencing another Pentecost!! Where then, are all the changed lives? Where are all the genuine results? If the "super church" theory is the medicine for the world today, why is the patient closer to death than ever before??
In his book, "The Religion Racket", Dr. Norman H. Wells states:
"Today's sophisticated church goer can shop through the religious page of his Saturday paper and find out what will be playing in the various churches on Sunday. It will be noticed that sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between the religious page and the amusement page. On the religious page it can be noticed that certain gospel celebrities are in town, and it tells where they are appearing. A church is very fortunate to have a guest appearance by a gospel celebrity. These celebrities usually appear in exchange for the privilege of plugging their latest record, books, or religious trinkets. Broken down entertainers who couldn't make it in show business have found that by giving their act a religious veneer they have a ready market in the churches. The pay isn't good, but it's getting better!!"
How sad but true this is! Shallow, unregenerated church members need to be pampered and entertained by the pastor week after week. Every Sunday is a "Big Day," with games and amusements geared to please the worldly appetite. The poor pastor lives in constant fear of losing his members if he does not come up with good enough entertainment! We can expect this from the night club crowd. It should sicken us concerning our churches!! While pastors play attendance, America dies!
One thing most people tend to forget today is that Christianity has never been popular. Persecution and death have always marked the trail of God's people. Genuine Christianity has never been the accepted thing of the day, and has never been well received. In spite of this, however the "super church" movement thrives on a sense of popular acceptance by all, with entire towns seemingly being "captured for Christ" with a joining of hands in a big ecumenical thrust! The Bible does not teach this attitude. Christians will never be in the majority. Christians have always been a particular few, serving and worshipping God and winning others to Jesus. The job of Christianity is to worship God by the winning of souls, and not merely to be in competition one with another for the sake of a larger crowd than the church down the block!! Biblical Christianity does not teach us to lower the standard in order to gain the crowd. It teaches just the opposite!! We are to be unconformed separatists, causing man to see his sinfulness in order to turn and to trust in Christ! To use the devices of the world in order to lure the world is nothing more than rank compromising! To do it in the name of Christianity is unchristian and anti-Bible! Our nation, seeing and experiencing this, is being lulled into hell on a sense of falsely-bribed security.
In closing, let us again point out the one glaring indisputable fact: while the "super church" crowd tells us that our land is in the midst of another spiritual Pentecost, our land is more wicked than ever and is nearly over the brink! Something is wrong! Something is not working and is not reaching the people with the genuine truth! Modern fundamentalism tells us that we are experiencing a tremendous "soul winning and revival" surge, when in actuality, America is further from God than ever before! The answer is not in bribery. The answer is not with assembly line preachers, all saying and doing the same things while reading from the same "how-to-do-it" book. The answer is not with a competitive spirit of bigness, slighting the small church and doing anything to be big! The answer rests within the pages of God's Word! Our nation can be reached, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God!! When Christianity forgets the gadgets and the gimmicks, and once again turns and depends upon God, then we will be influential once again. The shallowness, bribery, and the night club atmosphere in our Baptist churches is sending our nation to hell! Fundamental independent Baptists everywhere need to wake up to this fact, and then reach out with a genuine arm of faith to a lost and a dying nation!! Churches are playing games, while America dies! God help it to be stopped, before it's too late!!!