The past two weeks, (Why Is the Church in America Lukewarm? Part 1and Why is the Church in America Lukewarm? Part 2 GLBT Influence) I’ve introduced you to two of the tools used to establish lukewarmness in The Church: The Handbook on Communism and After the Ball, How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s.
Come and journey with me to look at how the church I was attending became “lukewarm.”
When I finally surrendered to the Lord, it had been almost ten years since I had been in a place of worship. Even though I returned to the Lord in a Baptist church and was raised Baptist, I wanted to see what other denominations had to offer.
For weeks, I visited the different mainstream denominations and even a Jewish Synagogue. Each presented themselves as “right” and the other denominations as “wrong.” Each denomination had their own “traditions of men” that Jesus said made the Word of God of none effect (Matthew 7:13). The Jewish service was quite special as they sang from the Book of Deuteronomy in the Torah yet they had rejected Jesus as The Messiah.
I settled at an Assembly of God church in Hampton, Virginia because it was the closest to resembling the Church in the Book of Acts. The “Spirit of God” was moving there in a mighty way! The “gifts of the spirit” were in operation, hard core sinners were being set free from drug and alcohol addictions, sexual sins and broken marriages and family relationships were being restored. It was as if I had stepped back in time to the days the book of Acts was written about.
I saw Jesus Christ being “the same as He was yesterday”! He was alive, and He was the head of The Church again. Many were willing to follow Him across America to share the gospel. The Church awakening and returning to its roots was awesome!
However, megachurch buildings were beginning to pop up in various places in America. Jim and Tammy Bakker were building their PTL kingdom, Robert Tilton was plastering his picture all over billboards in Texas and Robert Schuller had his glass cathedral promoting motivational celebrities weekly. TV evangelists were promising wealth, success, prosperity, fortune and fame. Our pastor sought the counsel of some of these individuals who all said, “build, build, build.”
Soon talk of building a bigger building became the buzz around the church. I could not understand the plan for building a bigger building when Jesus had told us “to go and teach” (Matthew 28:19). I found scriptures stating God didn’t dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24), so how did the people think the bigger building was going to be God’s house?
Soon the words “Assembly of God” were dropped from the church name and Bethel Temple A Trans-denominational Church was mounted on the front of the building. Life-size pictures of the pastor and his wife, a picture of the building and the slogan, “Get into the Good Life,” were put on numerous billboards throughout the Hampton Roads area.
Before long, every Sunday morning or night there was a guest speaker or religious entertainer. Afterwards, I would go home and search the scriptures for the errors I heard coming from the pulpit. The focus soon became all about self and who we were in Christ rather than about Jesus being Lord. The gospel of Jesus Christ was replaced by prosperity gospel and an entertainment social Christianity. Thus, a lukewarm church was born.
Bethel Temple is not the only church that this happened to. All over America, congregations have relied on pastors and not sought the Lord and read the Word for themselves.
Scriptures have been taken out of context, and the doctrines built upon those scriptures have produced a powerless lukewarm Church. A church that is no longer the light of the world or the salt of the earth, but a club of meetings, conferences, balls teams, rock bands, coffee houses and entertainment musicals.
Here Are a Few of the Doctrines Made From Bible Verses Keeping the Church Lukewarm
- – That’s Old Testament, We Are Under Grace Now
- – Once Saved Always Saved
- – Love One Another
- – The Gifts Died With Original Disciples
- – Love The Sinner, Hate the Sin
- – Pastors Are Head of The Church
- – Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged
When a scripture is pulled out of the Bible and used to keep the church silent and from maturing in Christ, the church is exactly as it is in America today: LUKEWARM.
(Part 1: Why Is the Church in America Lukewarm? | Part 2: Why is the Church in America Lukewarm? GLBT Influence | Part 3: Why is the Church in America Lukewarm? The Bible | Part 4: Calling the Lukewarm Church in America to Action