Look up, the wind is changing
- Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (Luke 10:19 ESV)
The institutional churches, not to be confused with the Ecclesia, have been off-duty from the spiritual warfare with which they were assured they would have to contend—if the decline and fall of western civilization is any kind of a barometer.
Why is that?
Why have so many mainstream/mainline churches fallen in line with the the secular culture?
The answer may lie in the fact that these churches, represent an increasing percentage of Christians who do not know enough about the very faith they profess.
That, and the unavoidable fact that Christians are from fallen stock. They are like the sheep of His pasture who, over time, have difficulty knowing His voice. What seems to be the issue with this generation of believers, compared to the faith of our fathers?
“A.W. Tozer asserts that the cause of many of our modern spiritual woes is the loss in today’s church of a lofty concept of God. He argues persuasively that the cure lies in our rediscovery of God’s majesty. ‘What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us,’ he writes. ‘The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.’” (From “The Knowledge of the Holy,” publisher, Grapevine India, February 2022)
Tozer was the author of over forty books on Christian faith and spirituality, and was editor of Alliance Life, the denominational publication of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, in whose churches he ministered and preached. He was a man who never received any formal theological training, yet this book has become a powerful and enduring resource for an understanding of the essence of God—His holiness. “The Knowledge of the Holy” offers a persuasive witness to the concept of God’s majesty, and encourages reverent meditation on the essence of God, in providing insight in bringing back spiritual power.
No people has ever risen above its religion, and no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.
This loss of the comprehension of holiness is no small thing. It’s certainly one way to explain this remarkable development as revealed in this Truth Itself report published September 7: “At Least a Third of Senior Pastors in the US Believe You Can Earn a Place in Heaven by Simply Being a Good Person.” The idea is so astonishing, I had to read the headline more than once to believe my own eyes. It is supported by this Cultural Research Center report at Arizona Christian University. You really must download and save the report.
Truth Itself points to this report from Christian Today whose headline reads, “More than a third of senior pastors believe good people can earn their way to Heaven.” They can do so by simply being a good person. We should abandon the notion, gained from walking by faith, that there is nothing simple about being a “good person.” Yet, everybody has their own standards and definition.
The connection between coming in close contact with the holiness of God, and the dismal statistics of this latest report from Dr. George Barna (pictured) can be found in this observation:
“While studying the spiritual behavioral patterns of pastors, it became evident that a large share of them do not have a regular spiritual routine,” Barna said. “There was a correlation between possessing biblical beliefs and a consistent regimen of Bible reading, prayer, worship and confession.”
“In some of the denominational groupings, a majority of pastors do not engage in those foundational spiritual practices on a regular basis,” he added. “Yet, among the pastors who have the most consistently biblical beliefs, there is also a daily routine that incorporates all of those disciplines.”
Routine is the key word here.
So now imagine; you and your family—particularly your student children—living in a world relentlessly driving out all remnants of a vital, active Christian life with every manner of perversion that can be conceived, while worshipping under the cover of a church who has wandered away from a biblically driven understanding of Christ. What chance of survival do we really have without this understanding? It is no wonder really, that the Church is declining in the western world—certainly so in the US.
The link between holiness and happiness will be found in the areas of our life where we diligently seek the face of God—through prayer, studying the scriptures, and in fellowship with like-minded people. Along the way, we become sanctified so we are of the greatest service to Him by serving others. We will find our gifting—that miraculous manifestation of the Holy Spirit—placed in our hearts and our minds what we were uniquely, individually designed to do: worship. In other words, there is nothing else that should ever commingle with genuine Christian thought and belief.
Sanctification will not be found among any believer, pastor, or teacher who consider, “Socialism is preferable to capitalism, and that allowing property ownership facilitates economic injustice.” Researchers consider such ideas contribute to the “increase of cultural and political influence into the church.”
We have said this more than a few times, “We are living in amazing times.” Amazing because we are seeing how God is moving—even now—in separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff.
If you find yourself in a church where your pastors or teachers cannot say decisively that the God of the Bible does not condone the loss of liberty, property, or the improper use of the delegated authority of government, than pray and consider carefully if such a church is where you should remain in fellowship. The key is to be in one accord—like-minded.
- All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14 ESV)