In 1999 the Spirit of God began to emphasize to me the recognition of the marketplace as part of the Kingdom of God, and since then many began to recognize the biblical mandate to disciple whole nations according to the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:28 and Matthew 28:19.
I have been a pastor almost thirty-four years and have been involved in initiating or participated in many local, citywide and national prayer gatherings. God has made it very clear that our first priority as leaders is to spend time with Him before we are sent out to minister (Mark 3:14). The apostle Paul also implores all believers to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In spite of all this, there are many denominational and non-denominational churches that do not have a regular prayer meeting. Consequently, in spite of the many good programs they may have, there is a huge gap in the church.
As a leader who has been the senior pastor of a local church in a major urban context, I have observed a fine line between what many deem healthy and unhealthy churches.
I define a healthy church as one that is relationally functional regarding its top leaders (elders, deacons, trustees, pastors and ministers) and its regular attendees and membership. Also, a healthy church has organic growth based on a balance of outreach and in-reach, or pastoral and evangelistic ministry, as well as discipleship and organizational systems that perpetuate the vision of the church.
As the persecution of the Bible-believing church becomes more intense, there will be a greater manifestation of what I am referring to in this article as the “remnant church.” By remnant church, I am referring to the surviving vestige of the body of Christ that remains true to biblical principles in spite of cultural opposition.
There is always a true remnant left during times of apostasy and persecution. Elijah the prophet found out that God always preserved a remnant, by His grace, that held true to the faith (read 1 Kings 19 and Romans 11:2-5). By remnant church, I am not merely referring to so-called “cultural warrior” churches who seem to always be battling for a cause (which can be part of it, although the gospel is always much bigger than one social cause). I am also not referring to so-called Christian churches that do idiotic things (like burning the Qur’an) or exhibit intentionally hostile (and un-Christ-like) behavior by so-called churches (like the Westboro Baptist Church). (I cringe even calling this group of hate-mongers a church.) I am, however, referring to those of plain and simple faith and obedience to the word of God, which is practiced by humble, people-loving, community-serving, compassionate churches who do not compromise the word of God.
As a lead pastor for more than three decades, I have observed that many people in the church have an orphan spirit. Not only that, but there are organizations and churches that function more like an orphanage than a life giving community.By orphan spirit I am referring to people who have a sense of alienation from their father and or those who attempt to earn their father’s love through success.
Proponents of Hyper Grace teach that the moral law (found in the 10 Commandments) has no relevance in the New Testament Church era. This leads to the heresy of Antinomianism (without law), which eradicates all biblical standards and ethics. Consequently, its proponents can theoretically sin without fear since everything is based on grace without consideration for the moral law of God. (Some even teach that since Jesus died for all your past, present and future sins, you don’t even need to confess your sins because that is works and not grace, to which I would point them to 1 John 1:9).
As a pastor since 1984, I have seen and heard many “off the wall” and aberrant teachings. Some stick out more than others to me. The following ten teachings are unbalanced and strange teachings that have crept into the church:
The past several decades we have seen a dramatic decline in doctrinal and biblical preaching. We have gone from theology to therapy in the pulpits. In the past decade we went from therapy to motivational speaking instead of preaching.
The Present Falling Away in the Local Church: A Prophetic Word to the Church
The church has often been taught about the times of refreshing that come during seasons of revival. The first such time recorded was the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when 3,000 were saved. In Acts 4 and 5, God continued to add to the church daily while there was unity and purpose of heart which released great signs and wonders that confirmed the resurrection of Christ. Also, in Acts 9 after Saul was converted, the church enjoyed a season of blessing, growth, and renewal.