I am seeing a lot of perspective in the church setting.
An evangelist today wrote about how the main problem in the church today is the fact most people in church are false converts and that is why they leave the church.
I responded with this because I am not so sure if that explains everything today.
Churches today are very offended if it’s suggested that we are not on the verge of revival. However, decades ago men like Leonard Ravenhill railed hard against the American church for being so blind, powerless, worldly. How much more today would we have further fallen away? The church today is in grave danger of becoming irrelevant. It is a place more and more that looks polished and shiny in today’s day of social media and shiny happy posts and Pinterest programs, but inside our hearts are dead man’s bones a lot of the time. We seem to be better than ever at playing church and looking good, but our hearts often are cold and calloused and we are deaf to the cries of the lost and saved alike. We are yelling for people to notice our pain, and the church should, but we often do not see or want to see the pain of others.
10 years ago I would have had all the answers. Yes, crusades come and 90% or more who made professions never go to church. I think a lot of the professions are false because we don’t preach the law to convince folks of sin. Instead modern evangelism pushes a cure on a world unconvinced of the disease. I have addressed this in other posts, such as the “Jesus is not a Flu Shot” series found on this website.
However that doesn’t explain everything. If you look at statistics- and this is not just modern liberal churches – pornography and other sexual deviant behavior is becoming more and more of a problem even in women and in top leaders and pastors. It’s hit the church like a tsunami and it’s only getting worse, and the response of the church is either ignorance (Thank God we are not like Denomination So-and-So) or total embracing of anything goes. Yes, I have even read about a couple that is proud to identify themselves as “Swingers-for-Jesus.”
Sexual addiction is complicated, but there are answers that work. It is not a mere moral problem that lumps everyone in as a sexual predator or pervert. There is a difference between the person who embraces a lifestyle of sin and lives a double life intentionally and completely fools everyone with his outward piety, and someone who falls into sexual sin whenever a perfect storm of circumstances hits him despite months and months of sobriety and victory. The double life man enjoys his life of sin. The struggling man is ashamed and needs hope and help, and often he has given up on the church being that source anymore. He hears hard preaching on his sin, but without that church having STRONGER DISCIPLESHIP in contrast to the preaching, he won’t be able to LIVE that life that is preached, and he will simply feel like a failure and unwanted. And that will breed hurt and rejection in his heart, which will often shatter his belief in God being good and full of grace and mercy, and he will either give up on the Christian life all together or plant himself in church and will always feel like a 2nd rate Christian unusable in God’s circuits until he “Gets his act together.” And guess what? The rejection and isolation will always prove a hindrance to him getting his life together.
God designed and wired our brains- and sexual addictions I am learning are often a brain problem and often hibernate and resurface from familiar emotional pain and rejection that led to it in the first place. You can love God with your heart and still mess up in your brain- it’s not always a moral problem. And it should not be treated by the church as such. The sexual addict seeking freedom needs to know he is welcomed at church and there is use for him. What is the church afraid of? The church thrives on the hidden sins – meaning you have leaders who have learned to live double lives and because they keep their sin private, their ministries are untouched as long as they are never found out, and they can have the same sin problems and addictions for years. And the one who is real and desiring God but fails and falls on occasion is shunned for his honesty, YET rewarding him for his honesty and holding his hand through discipling him to the point he knows his position in the body would create a man of God who has a lot more lasting victory and is someone who will keep accountable. The church needs to encourage an open door, open arms, open strugglers.
I am not saying sexual sin is right- but the cure is community and having a strong discipleship to fix the brain is needed. What do we Baptist’s do with sexual sin? We banish the sufferer- we reject him- we don’t restore -we don’t encourage this to be dragged into the light. So for most struggling with serious sexual sin, the church is a place of rejection, abandonment, pain, and a place where sin festers like a fungus.
Monsters live in the dark.
The lesson of the Prodigal son is that most Christians struggle with either bad actions or bad attitudes. When sin can’t be addressed in an atmosphere of charity and grace, you have an entire movement that breeds Pharisee “I’m better than you” type of tough love.
And that is the last thing the struggler needs or wants to be around.
So For starters, the church needs to be more like Christ. Then we can have hope and answers for everyone, lost or saved.