This entry originates out of the observation that people are leaving the church in droves, some are just simply “quitting” church altogether, some are leaving the Body of Christ and going across the line into movements like the Emerging Church Movement, which is not Christian (although they put up a Christian front), while others hop from church to church trying to find a difference worth going to.
The purpose of this article is to explain why I believe this is happening, and one trend that seems to be moving along side of this church leaving trend, is the growth of Calvinistic doctrine within the church. Churches that do not sing worship songs in their worship service, but rather, play contemporary Christian music songs in place of worship, are one of the factors for people leaving the church. Another factor is that when a church teaches that miracles are not for today, that the gifts of the Spirit are not for today, etc, removing all essences of the supernatural workings of God from the church…as Calvinism does…why would a person want to remain in that church?
Here is a question: Why do people go to church in the first place?
Answer: They go to church because they are looking for some kind of manifestation of God, they want to make contact with God, they want to have a personal experience with God. Well, when we have pastors that were never called by God to be pastors – they do not have the calling and so they are not equipped by God – because God equips those whom He calls…and if Jerry was never called by God, but called himself to be a pastor, then God has not given him what he needs in order to be able to shepherd His people. If the pastor is not equipped by God to be able to care for the sheep, then the sheep suffer.
Another reason is the lack of true worship in the church service – the Scriptures tell us that there is acceptable worship, which automatically tells us that there is “worship” that men call worship, that is NOT acceptable to God. What kind of worship is that? In the realm of singing worship, it means songs that are about us, in one way or another, or other things that are not directly praising God. For example, “The God of Angel Armies” is a find contemporary Christian song, but it is not a worship song…it was meant for Christian radio, not the worship service of a church.
Songs that are worship songs, are songs such as “Let us Adore” or “I Worship You, Almighty God” and “Glorify Thy Name” and “It is You” (Hosanna Praise and Worship)… songs where we are speaking directly to God about how great He is, about how much we love Him, etc. When churches sing contemporary Christian music in place of worship music in their church services, the presence of God never falls. Why? Because only worship music/songs attract the presence of God…God loves to be worshiped – why? Because when we worship Him in song, to refer to a secular phrase, we are making love to God. God wants us to love Him, He wants to be loved, just as we want to be loved, and when we are loving on Him it is an invitation for Him to come down to meet with us.
When God’s presence falls, EVERYONE feels it, saint and sinner alike. God’s presence is NOT subjective, it is objective…meaning that when the pastor gets up to the microphone and says, “Oh, I feel the presence of God in this place,” but I don’t feel it in the second row down…then the pastor is just saying things for his purposes. In other words, the presence of God is not in the church, because if He was, all of us would be feeling His presence. Why are people leaving the church? They are leaving because they come to meet with God but God is never attending the church that they are part of…so they go elsewhere looking for the presence of God.
Why are people leaving the church? They are leaving because they come to meet with God but God is never attending the church that they are part of…
Another reason why people are leaving the church, is because since their pastor was never called by God into the ministry, and because of that they are not qualified to be a pastor of God’s House, they don’t understand spiritual precepts that are needed in order to get the church on higher spiritual ground. What do I mean by that?
The very first thing that needs to be done with a new believer in Christ, is that they need to be discipled in the basic doctrines of Christianity. When they are not discipled (taught the basic doctrines of Christianity), they cannot spread their roots deeper or wider into the Word of God. Knowledge always comes first: you cannot DO what you have not been told that you can or are to do. Part of discipleship is mind renewal in the Scriptures, and if we do not have our minds renewed in the Scriptures, then we cannot walk in the Spirit, we cannot build the faith required in order to have the boldness to pray for people’s healing (or whatever). If we are unable to walk in the Spirit then we cannot put the deeds of the flesh to death, which means that we cannot walk in righteousness or holiness.
Now, for the calvinist, none of these things matter, because calvinism teaches that all you have to do is believe and God takes care of all the rest – and this, for those of you who do not know – is NOT what the Scriptures teach. Scripture teaches us that if we do not practice holiness, then we will not see God, and that Scripture was written to saved believers. Scripture says that if we do not practice righteousness (doing what is right in God’s eyes), then we are not abiding in Christ…and if we are not abiding in Christ, then we do not have eternal life.
All of these things are made a possibility in our lives only by the foundation of renewing our minds…but when the pastor is not teaching his congregation that they need to renew their minds…what kind of church is he ‘guiding?’
People are leaving the church because they are seeking God, but He does not ever show up at the church they are attending. He does not show up because the spiritual leadership of that church doesn’t either know, or they don’t care, about the difference between what is acceptable worship to God, and what is not acceptable to Him. God does not show up because the pastor is not walking with God…and because of this he has no spiritual awareness of what’s going on in his congregation. He can’t minister to the spiritual needs of the people because he himself has no connection with God. And this one is really bad…there are a growing majority of pastors today who are not “saved” by the common definition of the term (which, by the way, is incorrect).
A man who is not walking with God cannot lead a people to God.
From the foundation up, Paul said in I Corinthians chapter three, that those who build upon the foundation of Christ, need to be careful of how they build, because those who don’t know what they are doing will have all their work burned up…and they might be saved IF they themselves begin to abide in Christ before they die. The calvinist twist on this chapter is not valid (used as a crutch for “once saved, always saved” false doctrine in interpreting it as saying that it applies to all people and that whether your works are burned up or not, you will still be saved; the passage only applies to ministers, not the average Christian).
If your current church is dead, lifeless, without the presence of God, then you really need to leave that church and find one that is alive with the presence of God…because if you wait too long, you will become accustomed to that lifeless atmosphere and either come to believe that there is no God, since He isn’t showing up, and leave the church altogether; or you will become the proverbial frog in a cooking pot that doesn’t realize he is being killed slowly from the inside out…