The apostate church (Part II): When Jesus isn’t enough
Why is it so many of today’s Christians are terrified to be alone in a quiet room with Jesus? Heaven knows we’re not afraid to be jammed in on top of one another at a concert hall, auditorium or arena singing praises to the beat of some funk-rock band of righteous renown. In fact…the more the merrier and the louder the better! In this new age of “worshiptainment” and seeker-sensitivity I can’t help but wonder what it is we’re all avoiding as we mindlessly do the wave for Jesus in a sea of souls at a Promise Keepers rally. Have we become so bored and restless with God that it takes a maniacal machine of organized enthusiasm to motivate us the way His “still small voice” used to?
Is your faith in the Living Word of God or is it in one of the Christian organizations, programs, movements, bands, activities and events that have become so essential to today’s “seekers”? Before you answer, let me ask you this. Do you tell those you meet along life’s way what an “awesome” church you have or do you tell them what a loving and forgiving Savior you have? Do you invite them to church on Sunday or do you invite them to Christ on Saturday? Do you tell them about your friends from Promise Keepers or do you tell them what a friend you have in Jesus? When you give your testimony, do you tell your audience how much the church (or the organization you belong to) has changed your life or do you tell them about the NEW life Jesus Christ has given you? There is a distinct difference here and your answers may well determine where your faith actually lies.
I am reminded of Kimberly Smith’s book, “Let Those Who Have Ears to Hear”, where she writes: “If they took the music away…would you still follow Jesus?”…referring to the sensually gratifying, beat-oriented “praise music” that many believe deafens the church to that “still small voice” and invites spirits that do not belong. I think she asks a very fair question. I also think it is fair to ask, if they took away all of the organizations, movements, state-of-the-art “worship centers”, “ministries”, “leadership conferences” and networks along with their programs, consultants, techniques, strategies, polls, experts, “vision teams”, “team leaders” and Christian celebrities would WE still follow Jesus? Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t THESE VERY THINGS that keep us from following Christ.
Of course, it’s only human to compare oneself to others and imitate those we spend the majority of our time with but that doesn’t justify the herd mentality or our participation in the peer pressure it produces. If we run with the cattle of compromise, consensus and complicity we will undoubtedly become just like them. On the other hand, if we spend our time quietly walking with the Lord, believing His every word and acting on that belief with the simplest of faith, we will be more like Him. I can tell you from my own experience that there are many Christian friendships and affiliations I’ve had to forfeit over the years not because I didn’t enjoy the relationship but because of the negative effect and influence they had on my life. It is a difficult choice to have to make sometimes but one that is necessary nonetheless.
I’m not talking about forsaking good Christian fellowship or becoming a societal outcast for Christ…by no means. I’m talking about becoming addicted to the emotional trappings, psychological maneuvering and sensual seduction of an Apostate Church that empowers itself and its leaders through the egos and appetites of those they claim to serve. Jesus warned us to beware of the wide gate and the broad way where so many would go to destruction. If you’ll recall He didn’t tell the rich young ruler to take up the cross and follow US. He said “take up the cross and follow ME”. That means there will be times when Jesus will be the only company we have down the road of adversity. But, if our faith rests in Him, He’s all we’ll need for the journey.
For the carnal Christian however, Jesus isn’t enough. He needs a lot of people, a lot of noise and the adrenaline rush that only a stampeding herd can provide…the kind of stimuli and gratification that one finds in today’s “men’s movement”, “women’s movement” and “church-growth movement”. Without the rumble and excitement of a restless herd he simply cannot be motivated because his heart belongs to them.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)