I have said many times that there are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people. And, because there are no perfect churches, it is always easy to pick on what is wrong with the church. Firstly, may I state that there is a lot right with the church. It has the capacity to be compassionate, to be honest, and truthful, to be instrumental in holding back the darkness of evil, and she is the Bride of Christ. The church has what society needs … the truth of the Gospel makes us right with God and each other. When I talk about the two great sins of the modern church, I am making the point that we, the church, can be better and need to be so in a world looking for answers.
The first great sin is our silence. Today, the good is considered bad, and the bad is considered good, and the church is silent. Granted, some churches are vocal about culture and its influence, but overall few congregations hear how the truth should confront the evil in our world. How do I know this? Well take a look at this research:
Groundbreaking new research about American faith and worldview shows that although we proclaim “In God We Trust” on our currency, a slim 51% majority of Americans believe in a Biblical view of God … down from 73% thirty years ago. Increasingly, the research finds mounting evidence that Americans are both redefining … and rejecting … God. ~Arizona Christian University
Stunningly, Americans are more confident about the existence of Satan than they are of God. Overall, 56% contend that Satan is an influential spiritual being, yet almost half (49%) are not fully confident that God truly exists. And 44% believe Jesus Christ sinned while on Earth. Americans are also confused about the nature of the Holy Spirit, with over half (52%) saying that “the Holy Spirit is not a living entity, but merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity." ~Arizona Christian University
Let’s face it … we are not influencing Americans that God, the Devil, and the Bible are real things to believe in today. In fact, without reading the Bible regularly, our focus gets diverted to other interests. Here are some statistics that might surprise you:
About a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week, while 45% seldom or never read scripture, according to 2014 data from our Religious Landscape Study. The frequency of reading scripture differs widely among religious groups. Majorities of Jehovah's Witnesses (88%), Mormons (77%), evangelical Protestants (63%), and members of historically black Protestant churches (61%) say they read scripture at least once a week. By contrast, 65% of Jews say they seldom or never read scripture. ~Pew Research
This, of course, means that if we aren’t sure what God says about how we should live our lives, we will become silent.
The second greatest sin is finishing. Finishing is the art of completing a set of goals or objectives. Finishing well has been the objective of many Christians … they want their lives to finish well serving Christ. Yet, finishing is difficult for the church. One of the major objectives of the church is to make disciples, the question is, “How many disciples that the church makes go out to change the world?" Discipleship in most churches is confined to Bible Studies and being an usher every other week. Discipleship is the engagement process of telling the Gospel to the world around us. Discipleship is not silent; it is finishing the task of bringing the Gospel to the whole world. Making disciples is not easy, and it takes a long time in the making process.
So, the measurable product of going to church is to become an engaging disciple for Christ. This finishing process is what most churches don’t understand, therefore, their emphasis isn’t on going … the emphasis is on staying, and being a worker at church. The finishing process of making disciples means we have a viable force of people who can and do engage their world in introducing Christ to others. They create ministries that speak to the culture, with conviction, and have no room for compromise. Finishing takes focus, and with the pressure that most church leaders face, it is difficult to stay focused.
Ask your church on Sunday morning this question, “What is the main reason for the church?" I think you will see why finishing is the second great sin of the modern church. Our focus has not been on discipling people to know God and to go and make Him known. A disciple is not a church goer … a disciple is a church builder. Finishing is not found in the plans of the architect … it is seen in the product of the builder.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler