By now, if you have been reading some of these newsletters, you will have got the message pretty clearly that I hate the way the preaching, worship and practice of Christianity in most denominations has deviated from the original and deteriorated so much over even just the last 50 years.
This is NOT to say that any period in Church history has been a time of perfect preaching, perfect understanding, perfect love or perfect practice.
You only have to study the 7 Churches of Revelation to see that.
But because I can see clear apostasy developing in the Churches in Australia over the last 30 years and more, I have decided I need to speak out in warning to any who will listen.
One result of this is that the charge of ‘negativity’ has been laid at my feet.
Yes, I am negative about what is happening to the Church because I don’t believe the Lord Jesus in the Scriptures likes it either.
To the Laodicean Church He said, ‘I will spew you out of my mouth.’ To several others He said ‘Wake up’ and ‘Repent!’
His penalties are severe: read them for yourselves in Revelation 2 and 3.
The Seven Churches of Revelation
Jesus spoke, through the apostle John, special messages to seven of the Churches in first century Asia Minor (modern Turkey). [Rev 2 and 3].
Those Churches can also be seen to be representative of all Churches over the last 2000 years.
To all of those Churches except two, He was both negative and positive.
Modern psychology has had its pernicious influence on the Church by teaching us that positive feedback is more productive than negative, and so negative comments must be avoided at all costs.
Church leaders and their followers have fallen for it in their droves.
‘Don’t question the leaders’, ‘touch not God’s anointed’, ‘Jesus said ‘judge not’, etc, etc.
But Jesus clearly told those Churches where they were wrong, and we need to be reminded of that today.
Ephesus had lost its first love, Pergamum was teaching false doctrines, Thyatira was committing immorality, Sardis was dead, and Laodicea was boastful and lukewarm.
Where is your Church today? I am very thankful that Jesus did not pull any punches when showing the faults of His Churches.
It is because of His great love that He did so – He knows the outcomes and warns strongly that those Christians within ought to repent and wake up. The consequences are too serious to ignore.
The Laodicean Church
Of particular interest to me is the message to Laodicea. This seems to represent many aspects of today’s Church.
The Lord Jesus has nothing good to say about this Church. He stands outside the door, suggesting He has been excluded.
That Church needs nothing – compare that with today’s big million-dollar budgeting, boastful mega-churches, which tell everyone what a fantastic asset they are to the community when the community couldn’t care less .
Laodicea as a whole is apostate and the Lord is only calling on individuals to allow Him in. ‘If anyone hear my voice … I will come in.’ [Rev 3:14-22]
That Church thinks it is rich, but in spiritual terms it is destitute and blind.
Many of today’s Churches are like that: poor in doctrine, in understanding, in obedience and in real Christian living.
Don’t expect Jesus to soft-pedal and smilingly say: ‘Well, I know you aren’t perfect, but just try to do a bit better.’
No – thankfully – Jesus spoke honestly by telling them to repent or He would ‘spew them out of His mouth.’ [Rev 3:16]
Negative and Positive
If you stand up for something then you automatically reject and oppose its opposite.
To love God by definition means you hate sin. To encourage Christian living means you speak out about sinful behaviour. Anything else is cowardly and not worthy of Christ’s followers.
In fact to inwardly deplore the homosexuality of some Church leaders but to outwardly remain silent is close to hypocrisy.
It’s probably not as hypocritical as the attitude of the denominational leaders who may have directed their Churches to accept those people in leadership, but some Christians are getting worn down by their leaders and therefore are losing their ‘saltiness’.
If Christians call evil for what it is and stand up to corrupted leaders they will probably be dismissed as negative by those leaders.
But, rightly understood, a negative stance on a matter clearly points a thinking person towards the positive side.
I am reminded of the words of God in Isaiah 5:20: ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.’ How negative is that statement!
When Negativism is Wrong
Being negative is wrong when we don’t offer a positive alternative – eg, ‘you are a sinner and you will rot in hell’, as opposed to ‘you are a sinner but Christ died for sinners.’
Negativity in constantly criticising one’s spouse, children or friends, is wrong if it does not offer a clear path in Christian love towards peace and reconciliation with them.
Of course there are many Christians today who are too blind to even see that Jesus is addressing them. I hope you are not one of them and that I am not either. As Paul says, we should: ‘examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.’ [2 Cor 13:5] We should constantly be examining our lives and re-establishing our relationship with our Lord Jesus and our fellows. The Lord loves those He rebukes after all.