Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Jeremiah 7:3
I received the following letter from a sister in the Lord who is on the front lines of the battle and warning her fellow Christians. I follow the letter with a brief response.
I am so overjoyed these days as I think on the soon return of Jesus, and see prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes. Yet at the same time, I am also feeling so grieved in my spirit, because I do not see more of a stand being taken from those who do know the truth and have an audience or platform to proclaim the truth, but do not feel the urgency to aggressively expose this time of falling away. I sometimes wonder if they think this is all a bad dream, or worse yet, just a passing fad, and hope it will just go away.
I again made a trip to two local Christian Bookstores yesterday, and both seem to be “pushing” books that are filled with the mindset of the Emergent Church and the Missional Church. I notice that Rob Bell’s ‘Velvet Elvis’ is constantly restocked and sold as a $1 bargain book, and placed at several different locations throughout the book section in full view as to make sure that it does not miss the eye of the customer – not just alphabetically, as most books are displayed. (Personally, I do not even think his book is worth $1, but the plan seems to be to make them very available to as many people as possible, along with a host of others who are of this Emergent / Missional Church mindset.) Outside of those clearly speaking against the Emergent Church, etc., I cannot even chance purchasing a book from current and especially new authors for running the risk that the author would already be steeped in this mindset. I am beginning to feel the weariness from being on my guard continually.
I feel like “the house ” (i.e. the Church) is on fire, and most [Christians] are standing around just watching it burn. I know that is not the case with your ministry, and others I keep up with on the internet, but in my own backyard, I am not seeing evidence that the alarm is sounding to the degree it seems a burning house would warrant. I am only about 20 miles or so from the mega-ministry of Joel Osteen, whose message seems to stand out in our southern area more than others. It seems that the message of the Emergent Church is slipping in relatively unnoticed, and now has a high level of penetration in the Christian Bookstores. The Emergent Church has become just one more ”feel good gospel”, and is not seen as a threat to The Church. With all the Concerned Christian DVD’s we have passed out, we have only found a couple of people who even knew anything about the Emergent Church beforehand. After giving them the DVD and checking back with them for their response, many have not even taken the time to watch it. The exception is the faithful members of the church we recently left, where they are well aware that their church is on fire. They are working overtime to distribute stacks of books like Faith Undone by Roger Oakland to as many members as possible in an effort to join together, vigorously sound the alarm, and desperately try to put the fire out in their beloved church which is quickly following the Emergent Path.
I realize that the end time apostasy will encompass those within Christianity as well, but I would hope to see more effort to sound the “on fire” alarm in an attempt to wake up those who are asleep. (In my opinion, “the five sleeping virgins who do have oil in their lamps and are waiting and watching for the Bridegroom” are a picture of the now awakening, discerning Church as spoken of in Matt. 25 – with the other five sleeping virgins representing those without discernment who fall prey to the false teaching of the end time.) I have heard a handful of pastors address the Emergent Church in their sermons or on a few radio broadcasts, but not to the degree that I would expect, and often not by name. The fact that there has been such a strong penetration into our Christian reading material of the Postmodern movement and it’s agenda seems to be a significant fact left un-addressed. It seems like the alarm can just barely be heard.
Manny, are these pastors afraid of standing for Truth (similar to Jonah and others who were called to proclaim the truth in the face of error, but initially tried to avoid doing so?) I just do not get it. I cannot understand, for the life of me that if a pastor is called to preach Truth, why they would only be willing to “lightly” touch this message. My whole life has been affected by this awareness, as I know yours and many others have been as well. I am sure you have already experienced this moment of grief and frustration, but it has been so strong for me lately, and I feel the sadness of it almost continually. I now understand why Jeremiah was called the “weeping” prophet because this is so grievous and heart-wrenching. It feels like there is a hesitancy from the pulpit to “call a spade a spade” (for lack of a better analogy). Is this just the way it is going to be… or even, suppose to be?
I was curious to know if this is how you have felt in the past or do currently feel, or am I being over-dramatic. I do tend to take life and my faith very seriously and can get a bit worked up and overly zealous at times, at least in the opinion of some.
Here are a few thoughts on your questions:
1. Why are so many pastors silent? What reason could they have to be silent when they are called by God to speak the Truth? Don’t they see that what is happening does not line up with God’s word? Yes, many are behaving like Jonah, because I have personally spoken with them. They listen, they nod their heads in agreement, and then that’s it. Or they deflect my message with the erroneous argument that we should not be judgmental, thus steering clear of the questions at hand that need to be answered! How ironic, coming from pastors who ought to know the Scriptures better than me!
In any case, I no longer hear from them, and I wonder what is going on in their minds daily after receiving the message I gave them. And yes, sadly, I believe this is the way it is supposed to be- according to what I have read in Scripture. The hearts of many will grow cold; even the elect may be deceived; and as the Lord’s return gets closer, there WILL be a great falling away before the son of perdition arrives on the scene to deceive even more. It is chilling to think of that scenario, but we cannot make it go away by pretending there will be great revival- as that false notion keeps getting spread around.
Jesus said in Matthew 11 as he prayed to God, ““I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” Are we the babes He refers to? You and I are certainly not looked to as theological giants that everyone comes running to for advice. Yet, why do we see this apostasy so clearly, and learned men do not? I believe this clearly shows us that it is not head knowledge that reveals the truth to us, but God’s Holy Spirit as we walk in faith and obedience to His word. Are these pastors and “spiritual giants” walking in obedience to God?
2. Yes, I also believe the house (the Church) has been on fire for a long time. Yes, my heart has long been feeling that same heaviness that you have. You are not overly zealous, nor over-dramatic or too worked up; you have a love, as I have, for those who are dear to you, as well as those you don’t know well, because you know the consequences of apostasy and worshiping a false Jesus are deadlier than physical death! What more urgent message can we give, but to tell the people that they are headed towards destruction? Yes, this is grievous! This is heartwrenching! I watched a movie about Jeremiah that my wife and kids gave me as a Father’s Day gift. (Jeremiah’s Indictment). Many of us feel just like the weeping prophet, who day after day, year after year, sees the people either flat out rejecting the Lord, fooled into participating in idolatry, or they just don’t care. What else is there left to do but weep?
The same message applies to all professing Christians today. Thus says the Lord to all who have turned from his command to obey Him in all things: “amend your ways”. To all who desire to “live a godly life in Christ Jesus”, here is another guarantee: we WILL be persecuted for His name’s sake. We may even be killed for His sake someday. But the end result of our faithfulness is a crown of glory and being in the presence of the King. Yet, that good news certainly does not remove the fact that many more than not will reject the true Jesus in the end days, and worship and bow to a false god. Oh the sadness and heartbreak it brings to us, as we think of loved ones especially who we have given the message to, but who have rejected us. But Jesus did say, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matt. 24:12-13
So, we must continue to faithfully proclaim the truth to as many as will listen, and we must stand firm to the end. It breaks our hearts knowing that many will turn away and their love will grow cold, but their responsibility will be to answer not to us, but to Almighty God on Judgment Day.
When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)
For additional reference: Falling Away (Durable Faith)