Why are they changing?
by paul hoffmaster
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Why Are They Changing?
There has been a growing tide of speculation that the denominational church is experiencing an exodus of its members to independent ministries, and in some cases to leave the faith altogether. When one looks at the vacancy signs on the pews, there can be little doubt as to the validity of those conjectures. Why have people switched from the high steeples and pews to no spires with chairs? Liturgical services have given way to litany free experiences. Religious props have disappeared in favor of imaginary physical aids. What message is the multitude of believers sending to the denominational church?
Recently a Gallop poll was released showing a marked decline in the confidence level with the organized church. Only 44% had genuine confidence with the church, while in the 1970’s the number was 68%. Gallop stated that the reason for the dissatisfaction with the church was the public display of fallen leadership, from TV Evangelist to the sexual scandals within the Catholic Church. What this shows is the shallowness and misdirection of some Christians. Whenever the messenger is elevated higher than the message, there will be a vulnerability to misplaced devotion. If, and when, a leader falls into unconfessed or denied sin, confusion develops and a shaking of one’s trust in the “system.” When spiritual leadership elevates itself into an area of “untouchability”, it becomes vulnerable to the snares of the Devil. As the Christian places his eyes on the individual instrument instead of the source of the message, there will be a clear and present danger of disappointment. It is like Peter walking on the water. When he took his eyes off Jesus and saw the waves and wind, he began to sink. (Mt. 14: 22-33) The Believer must always stay focused on Jesus; if he doesn’t, he will become disillusioned when he sees the failures of spiritual leadership. Pastoral Authority is not to be looked upon as a position of obtained holiness and thus void of human vulnerability, but as a person called to shepherd the flock of Jesus Christ with the same susceptibility to sin as anyone else.
There must be a distinction between a realignment of believers to different venues and those who simply leave the church altogether. What should be noted is that there is a spiritual hunger within people to experience the Truth, and that they are willing to take whatever steps are necessary to find that Truth. Whatever is happening to cause the Christian to play “musical chairs,” the Denominational Church needs to wake up and take note. Christians have a unique calling that needs to represent the Kingdom of God with power and holiness. The Church is not to be an imitation of the world. Pastors, as well as every Christian, need to be aware of the responsibility of keeping themselves focused on the Word and presenting the Gospel message with love and compassion.
One wonders why the world is so concerned about what is going on in the Church. Why are they continually reporting all the negative things? The world will never understand the church, but will attempt to expose the Christians’ flaws in such a way as to show it is out of touch with reality. The Church should take this opportunity to judge itself by correcting its flaws and seeking forgiveness, not only from God, but from the people that have been hurt by its lack of Biblical expression. When Spiritual leaders feed their flocks, God will fill their pews. If a Christian walks away hungry, they will find another assembly that offers a buffet of truths. A true Christian will not leave the church, just like someone who has a bad meal will not forsake eating, but they will relocate to an environment that fills their needs.
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