Crisis in the Church?

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:7 ESV)

Questions

Are we in a period of history where the faith of lay christians rather calmly bypasses orthodoxy? Conversly are we in an epoch where we find comfort in the pseudo security of a western creation called church? A model that follows a flawed orthodoxy, coupled with the occasional move of God (only because He is merciful, not because we have it right), which feeds into something we take as a kind of ‘confirmation' of our idea of church being blessed by God.

Challenge

A challenging issue in many church movements is a lack of Holy Spirit fire, the divine fire of visitation described throughout the Bible. Interestingly many churches once founded intimately in people’s homes (as we’re clearly instructed to do) end up growing cold, religious and systemised, and the congregation become institutionalised. There are many reasons for this but in essence the context of mankind’s relationship with God: a noticeable pattern emerges from:

Cycles of discipline

God blesses people, so people follow God. People then want an alternative focus (i.e. king or celebrity, or controllable structure), as a result people fall away from God and become cursed, desolate and disillusioned go into captivity or wander in the desert for example. People cry out to God again, so God blesses people and the cycle starts again ad infinitum

Deception

Alternatively a congregation may remember the ingredients that engendered revival and seek to strictly adhere to a pattern that mimics those same ingredients. This becomes a tradition based religion and not a living fellowship. Circumstances like this may have a “charismatic form of pseudo-spirited worship”. They may sing contemporary songs, raise their hands and voices in a joyous throng. Some older members of the church may occasionally wheel out some ye-ole Bible prophecy and others may engage in some scattered utterances in tongues. The middle aged leaders of this church have a false sense of security in the older members, and that feeds into confirming a false system. A few creative members of the church may even dance in the aisles with flags and ribbons but that can be the limits of many churches in the Western world (not exclusively of course). Furthermore, Some organised churches will have a prayer/prophetic team at the end of the service, sadly this is generally a very well meant courtesy effort of wonderful caring people. 

If you are a vicar, church/group or house group leader ask yourself this:

1) Does your church really sing sound orthodox doctrine?

2) Is there a true divine visitation in your church?

3) Is there a 'real' demonstration of the power of God?

4) Are there soul stirring encounters with the risen Lord Jesus Christ?

5) Is there a true meaningful outpouring of deep repentance, and dramatic instant deliverance from lifelong bondages in peoples lives, or a wave of miraculous healing?

6) Are prophets genuinely being encouraged in your midst or are they ridiculed behind closed doors, as a bit odd, flaky, on the fringe or lacking clarity? 

7) Is the pastor or leadership/team capable of understanding prophetic words? When prophecy comes can it filter through the church structure to the people - or is it blocked by well meaning administrators? Does it bring repentance or stroke egos?

8) Is there true worship that takes ones breath away in love and passion for Jesus Christ, radically changing our perspective in a moment of time?

A most concerning reality is that many charismatic movements begin with a beautiful rich relationship with the Holy Spirit. The scriptures illustrate that these people are taught by the Spirit of God; in an inner world of direct contact with the Holy Spirit: people are healed, demons cast out and the Gospel is being spread. Some of these movements (in some cases rightly) shunned religious institutions on account of there systems and rules, and rejected their ritual practises. Many modern churches then grew up without a deep knowledge of orthodoxy, Christology and many other fundamental creedal truths. The problem occurs when they fall away from relationship with the Spirit of God, they have nothing left, not even a working understanding of simple orthodoxy and or milk doctrines.  They become a people who have neither the power or the knowledge of God, that underpinned a once rich faith in Christ. They become a people without wisdom - the Bible says these people perish. 

One of the greatest deceptions that people swallow is as follows: 

“But God does move in our congregation often, so we must be doing something right!?” 

Naively, they forget that God is loving and merciful; always moving, healing, building, speaking, restoring and calling. His activity does not depend on our correct service. In truth if we take an orthodox reading of the scriptures many churches today are a deeply unholy gathering for which God still moves in because He loves us: as He first loved us. 

Click for link to: 

What Does the Word Church Mean?

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