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Looking at the Church

Time does fly, but only as you look back on it. 2006 has been like most years, both bitter and sweet. We have buried some loved ones, including my Mother. We have seen good friends stumble and fall back into the prison system. We see truth continue to be sacrificed for profit, power and prestige. We keep reading about the masses leaving the ministry, churches going hip-hop trying to stave off their failure. Every few months we have another “fantastic” bible that is easier to read and understand, totally ignoring the fact that unless the Holy Spirit teaches us, we will still be without knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:12-16.) Those who would impress us with their Greek and Hebrew seem to forget that both the Greeks and Hebrews have a pretty poor batting average when it comes to spiritual things.

I just received a publication from California that included a prophesy from some self-appointed prophet stating:

“The last great visitation of God among men will be the LOVE OF GOD.”
“Hollywood will come more alive for Christ.”

He went on with some more of the same beautiful picture of positive thinking that continues denying truth. Paul stated that one of the signs of the end time was men being “lovers of themselves” and that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:2, 13.)

This fascination with “love” has us loving everything but the truth. It is the truth that sets us free, not love (John 8:32.) We are to speak the “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15,) not ignoring the truth because of some misplaced love.

Abortionists speak of loving the woman, while ignoring the truth of hating an innocent child. Evolutionists speak of the love of mankind, while ignoring any facts that deal with truth. Those loving and seeking the cure for AIDS, refuse to face the truth about its prevention. Those preferring a gay life style refuse the truth about God’s truth on perversion. Those who would remove God from our money, public locations and literature ignore the truth of God’s involvement with those who established our nation. (The list can go on and on.)

When the surveys reveal the continuing decline in church attendance or the increase of those leaving the ministry, no one seems to catch on to the truth that maybe we are doing something wrong. We get away from Bible principles and then are amazed that things go to pot. We lower our standards to attract the young people and it never works for any period of time. We water down the message of Christ to attract the un-churched and it is temporary at best. We keep putting out another bible that always compares itself to that monarchs of books, the old Authorized Version, more commonly known since 1900 as the King James Bible, the most hated Book in print, by saved and lost alike. It is similar to Saul hating David more than he did the Philistines. He knew that David was God’s choice and he hated David for it.

You would think that when one sees his ideas and beliefs failing that they would change back to what did work. Any intelligent businessman would scrap any program that cost him money. He would learn from his mistakes and change to that which was profitable. Not so in the ministry and church growth. Instead of doing what God prescribed and has always worked, we have chosen to “reinvent the wheel.” Visitation and soulwinning are out! Prayer meetings are out! Bible study is out! Expository preaching is out! Separation from the world is out!

What’s in? Cutting down on church services. Acting, talking and appearing as the lost, so they won’t be offended. It seems “contemporary services” require tacky clothes and weird hairdos. Changing the message so as to not offend those living like the devil and don’t preach against “sins” or “hell.” Changing the music to songs no one knows and that have little, if any, message, other than “self.” It seems most of the songs deal with how much you and I would serve God if He would only let us. Whoever writes these songs must have never read Romans 3:10-23. The leaders can do this (regardless of what God’s people want) because they are in authority (the real issue since Eden.) While we keep changing everything else and it is not working, maybe we ought to change the name of church. We sure don’t want anyone to know what we believe.

Let me interject here that I have been a member of some great churches that did not have a denominational name, BUT they did have identifying names such as “Bible” or “Grace.” Today, about the only new churches that have identifying names are called “Cowboy.” (I wonder where dudes are welcome.)

Let me state that if you feel led to begin a new church, you have every right to call it what you want to call it. Use whatever bible you want, what you like in music and the order of service you desire. What most of God’s saints resent is someone trying to undo that which has been established. It is subterfuge for a Baptist to attempt to be the pastor of a Methodist Church if he is still Baptist in belief. If a preacher doesn’t like the way things are done then he needs to go start a church he would like, don’t infringe on others and create dissension among God’s people.

We are back to this thing called “truth.” I often find it hard to face the truth. I also find it an easier road when I do. None of us face the truth all the time, but we can repent and change when we don’t.

Pray for us.

Keep Looking Up!

Leland Maples

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