Woe unto those who peddle ignorance and oppression from the pulpit and lead my poor innocent babes astray, saith the Lord. So many have become disheartened and discouraged because self-appointed shepherds with only the most superficial understanding of My Word have carved up tender souls like an inexperienced surgeon who barely knows the basics of anatomy. I see so many men (sometimes women) scream and threaten tender, sensitive seekers of Christ from tall, menacing pulpits. They’ll yank one or two favorite passages or lone verses out of context and purportedly build their sermon on that material. They’ll holler about the fruitless tree being cut down and jump to the conclusion that it always means that if the raw recruit out in the pews doesn’t get off his duff and go “witness” out in the streets and successfully “convert” more souls and bring in more recruits, he’s lost his salvation and on his way to hell. How many insincere repentances have been made because a soul felt their acquaintances, friends or relatives pressure them to make an on-the-spot “decision for Christ” with or without the moving of My Spirit on their hearts, and have “prayed the ABC sinner’s prayer” just to get the “witnesser” off their back, or just to be polite and considerate of the evangelizing Christian’s feelings! How long do you think it will take people to realize they’ve really had no conversion experience at all, that it was just superficial agreement with some other person who was pressuring them! It often takes My Spirit time to convict people of their sins and to bring about genuine repentance. You cannot “sell Jesus” to customers like peddling a book, broom or a mop.
Following Jesus is a felt heart commitment and being a disciple is hard work. Yet Christ always responds to GENUINE cries of repentance from lost sinners who place REAL faith in him, not just monotonously mouth a canned prayer written on some slip of paper. I’ve kept a careful record of all the young church people (and sometimes older people) who have worried themselves sick that I’m mad at them and have rejected them for failure to win souls for Jesus by verbal persuasion. Sometimes IT JUST TAKES TIME! You don’t plant pumpkin seeds in the ground and expect a harvest in just five minutes. Some sow the seed, others water and care for it, others harvest it (I Cor.3:6-8). Some of you fear you’ve never won a single soul to Me, therefore you’re afraid to face Me when you die. That is all wrong. If you really love Me and are faithfully following Me each day, and yet don’t “see results” like the preacher demands, then chances are, you tend to be more of a sower or waterer in My vineyard than a harvester. It is I who give the increase (harvest) not you! Preachers put an unfair burden of condemnation on people in their congregation who “lack salesmanship skills” in sharing their faith.
Instead of pressing reluctant people to say a prayer with you immediately, you might testify of what I’ve done to heal, bless and deliver you from sin and its consequences. Or, you might give someone five dollars who needs it to buy food, then you tell that person it’s from Jesus. That says much more about who you are in Me than ranting and raving about hellfire and brimstone at some total stranger you know nothing about. There ARE times to warn men of My judgment and you MUST do that, but don’t let the preacher send you to hell for not filling up his pews! Sometimes they’ve got ulterior motives for wanting those pews filled. And it really does hurt Me to see young people quit seeking after Me because of all they ways they’ve been burnt by hypocritical church leadership trying to put a curse of condemnation on them out of a Bible they know little about. Some preachers PROFIT off the Good Book without caring much about how profitable it can be for showing the world how much I love people and want to FREELY give them the blessings of My love. They know little about the Bible’s central themes of love manifested in Christ in redeeming lost sinners. They just quote any verses they can twist to minister guilt, manipulation or condemnation in order to bring in more tithe payers and slaves. Conveniently ignored are Bible passages which PROVE tithing had nothing to do with money, and was commanded to the Children of Israel ONLY, and ONLY under the Old Covenant! If it serves their greedy purposes, though, preachers are glad to mix and mingle Old Testament doctrine with New Testament teachings.
Then there’s times visitors to certain “radical” churches feel under fire from the pastor for failure to speak in tongues. They’re told that if they don’t they’ll fry in hell and I’ll reject them as sinners, although they’ve repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ as Savior. A precious gift I gave My Body for refreshing and self-edification in prayer has even been twisted into a cruel proof of salvation by religious wolves who love to put a spirit of fear on My little lambs! Every sweet thing I offer My people out of love, religious parasites turn into a sour lemon of dread for their congregation. Even prayer time, meant to be a joyful encounter between you and your Lord, preachers will turn into a necessary work which measures your worthiness to be Mine. If you pray ON YOUR KNEES (what about folks with arthritis?) for so long, mourning and weeping for your sins, you’re okay. But if your prayer life is mostly informal, praying standing up as you go about your daily chores, “it doesn’t count.”
You just can’t please that scary Scari-see preacher unless your relationship with me is a properly RELIGIOUS one, and if it feels more like a delight than a whipping, they think there’s sin in your life because you aren’t “consecrated” enough. If you appear to be enjoying life too much, condemnation preachers suspect you’re harboring some secret sin and their next sermon will surely cure you of that! Maybe a good old three-day fast would separate the men from the boys, they think. All some folks get from this exercise is a sour martyr’s look on their face and an empty belly. None of the apostles’ epistles command or even suggest religious fasting for either churches or individuals. And yet many religious tyrants make a sacred cow out of it and demand it of their members as proof of worthiness to be My disciple.
Women who wear pants, even while working on the job, are castigated as rebellious Jezebels by men who outwardly appear respectable as a funeral director but inwardly are ravening wolves with a roving eye on the offering plate. Preachers urge parents to deal harshly with all misbehavior in even the tiniest children, even when the child knows no better and a firm word would be enough. Preachers rant and rave about how wicked little children are fidgeting during a long church service or for failure to say “Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, and no sir”. These same preachers who bewail alleged disrespect in little children disrespect My people as they call non-tithers thieves or lambaste “stay-at-home dads” for being bums for taking care of their OWN children while their better-paid wives earn the bread. Greedy fishers-for-funds tear into people on welfare, while living on church welfare themselves, doing little actual WORK except for preaching and begging for more MONEY. Preachers bewail the deterioration of the American family, and yet these same hypocritical preachers excuse themselves for repeated divorce and remarriages, and sanctify their own lust and greed for women and money. What kind of example are these men setting for My flock? Do they honestly think they’re entitled to a first-class ride to heaven while consigning My underpaid, overworked, spiritually abused flock to hell?
These haughty Pharisees demand ten per cent of a working man’s salary and condemn men and women to hell for failure to pay up. Do these silly wolves think I charge admission at the Pearly Gates, like you’d pay admission to a theme park or movie theater? Someday I’m going to ask these reprobates “Where’s the loot you robbed from My people? You said it was for the Lord. Well, where IS it? After you collected it, did you use it to minister to MY need in the lives of My poor struggling sheep? Did you clothe the orphan and widow and provide food for the hungry? Did you provide shelter for the homeless, or rent relief to folks crippled financially from supporting YOUR ministry with unscriptural tithes and forced offerings? OR, did you waste it on luxury vacations, cars, fancy homes and fashions for you and YOUR loved ones? Whatsoever you did or didn’t do to the LEAST important of these My sheep, you treated Me in the same way (Matt.25:40).”
On that terrible Day of Reckoning those double-minded, ornery thieves and liars are going to be tongue-tied with nothing to say, after a whole lifetime of scaring the saints of God with threats of fierce hellfire and brimstone for failure to gratify THEIR lusts for an ever-finer lifestyle.
Religion is spiritual rat poison, plain and simple. Religion is man’s own effort to appease Me through works. Religious works are an insult to the Christ Who paid for your salvation because you grow to depend on them to gain favor with Me. Religious hypocrites damn many souls to hell by painting a perverse picture of what I’m really like. It was sour-faced religious folks who put My Son on the Cross and hindered others who would have entered into life.