EAR TICKLING, ENTERTAINMENT, AND IRRELEVANT EXPOSITION
By Chuck Baldwin
July 11, 2013
At some point, one has to wonder why America’s churches are the largest block of irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant institutions in the entire country. And make no mistake about it: when it comes to influencing societal conditions, culture, and the political philosophy of the nation, for all intents and purposes, they ARE irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant.
Think about it: according to the latest available statistics, over 75% of America’s adults classify themselves as Christians. That’s over 159 million people. Over 43% of America’s adults attend the more than 300,000 churches regularly. That’s over 90 million people. Yes, both of these statistics are WAY DOWN from just a few years ago, but those statistics still represent a HUGE block of the American population. So why do these Christians and churches have so very little influence in America’s society, culture, and politics? Asking it bluntly, why is America going to hell in a handbasket with all of these churches dotting the landscape?
There is no mistaking the fact that from before the American Revolution, after the American Revolution, throughout the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, and through the first half of the Twentieth Century, the American Church was a major voice and influence in virtually every facet and sphere of American society. However, with the exception of a temporary resurgence in the 1980s, the influence of the Church in the last half of the Twentieth Century and continuing now into the Twenty First Century is nada. Zilch.
For all intents and purposes, the activist arm of conservative churches, the Religious Right, Christian Coalition, Moral Majority, call it what you will, is clinically dead. It is not comatose; it is dead. When it comes to influencing the culture and politics of the nation, the modern Church is dead. Pastors are dead. Denominations are dead. Christian schools and universities are dead.
Think of it: 159 million Christians, 90 million churchgoers, and 300,000 churches cannot effectively influence even the smallest change of direction in America’s society, culture, and political philosophy. America is in a societal, economic, and political tailspin, and the Church sits irrelevant and impotent. And don’t forget: we are not talking about an enslaved, oppressed country such as communist China where millions of Christians are forced at gunpoint to submit to the machinations of the state.
While it is true that the underground church in China (the REAL church in China) is seeing great growth, without a revolution such as America experienced in the late 1700s, Chinese Christians will never be able to effect societal and political change in that country. And, of course, the communist government in China has all but guaranteed that such a revolution will not take place by completely disarming the citizenry.
In America, we are talking about a nation in which citizens (including Christians) are able to lobby, redress government, protest, rally, organize opposition, speak, vote, form PACs, march, petition, etc. Christians are as free to influence their societies and governments as are any other group of people in the United States. Furthermore, name the other group in this country that can boast 75% of the population who identify with it in name or 43% of the population who regularly attend its public meetings? What would the country look like if the ACLU could boast these numbers? Or the SPLC? Or labor unions?
Labor unions comprise only 11% of the adult workforce. The ACLU membership is reported to be about 500,000. And, of course, the people who belong to the SPLC could fit in a phone booth. By comparison, these groups comprise a miniscule percentage of the population as opposed to America’s churches, yet their influence is exponentially greater. So, what has happened?
The great Nineteenth Century revivalist and major contributor to America’s Second Great Awakening, Charles Finney, said this: “Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians (and citizens) must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation are becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they think God does not see what they do in politics.”
Finney also said, "If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it."
It is no hyperbole to say that, on the whole, the American Church has been mostly ineffective since immediately after World War II. The Church sat mute when God was expelled from America’s public life in the 1960s. It sat mute when the government gave license to the premeditated murder of preborn babies in the 1970s. And today it continues to sit mute in the face of a burgeoning police state. There seems to be virtually no abridgment of liberty, no national scandal, or no threat against our constitutional form of government egregious enough to warrant an outcry from America’s pastors and churches.
For the most part, today’s pastors are not prophets and watchmen; they are cheerleaders and CEOs. Our churches are not “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15 KJV); they are centers of social interaction, recreation, and feel-good indoctrination. Preachers are not reprovers, rebukers, and exhorters (II Timothy 4:2); they are ear-ticklers, entertainers, and expositors of irrelevance.
Let me ask you: what good does it do to teach the stories of Daniel and the lions’ den, and the three Hebrew children in the burning fiery furnace, and Esther, and John the Baptist, and Elijah, and Simon Peter saying, “We must obey God rather than men,” and Samson, and Gideon, etc., ad infinitum, if you are not going to apply those stories to the practical, day-to-day events we are experiencing now? What good does it do to preach expository messages on the Bible if one does not make those messages relevant to the times and circumstances in which we live? Yet, ear-tickling, entertainment, and irrelevant exposition seem to be what the modern church in America excels in. The result: ineffective, impotent, weak, unprepared, and sheepish Christians.
Yes, I know there are many churches and Christian ministries that are doing admirable work. We need homeless shelters, food banks, pregnancy resource centers, addiction ministries, etc. We most definitely need pastors and churches to preach the Gospel of Christ. We need missionary outreach. But we also need pastors and churches to teach the Biblical Natural Law principles of liberty and to prepare their congregations to guard and defend our freedom.
I tell you the truth: Christians in persecuted lands are not enamored with entertainment, recreation, and irrelevant Bible exposition. You don’t have to bring in some big-name rock band to entice them to fellowship. You don’t have to give their teenagers a big gymnasium. You don’t have to give their young adults coffee shops and espresso machines. You don’t have to shy away from criticisms of tyrannical government. And you certainly are not going to score any points with your fallacious “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” interpretation of Romans 13.
The time is soon coming in this country when it is going to “rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45 KJV) Mark it down, Christian: when persecution and tribulation comes to America (and it has already begun), you and your family will NOT be exempt. When a jetliner falls out of the sky, everyone in it (Christian or not) goes down with the plane. And when a nation falls, everyone in it (Christian or not) goes down with the country.
The church was not created to teach Christian sugars how to recreate on a playground, but to teach Christian soldiers how to fight on a battlefield.
So many of our Christian brothers and sisters seem to be literally enslaved or addicted to some form of church formality. They need a certain music fix, or entertainment fix, or teaching fix, or liturgical fix, or a hundred other fixes. They demand a certain delivery, a certain style, or a certain personality. They intend to do nothing with what they hear, but it makes them feel good hearing it. The carnality, rancor, envy, and meanness inside the church is equal to, or superior to, that which is outside the church. Many Christian businessmen are just as greedy, just as dishonest, and just as duplicitous as businessmen professing no faith. Many deacons and church officers are just as untruthful and cowardly as anyone in the outside world.
What have all of these Sunday School lessons done for us? What have all of these pacifist expositional messages done for us? What have all of these gymnasiums, youth programs, self-esteem classes, and counseling centers done for us? Pastors and churches have been teaching all forms of Bible prophecy for decades. Generations of Christians have come and gone arguing over the nuances of Eschatology. What good has it done us? While we have been playing, partying, prancing, promoting, pouting, pontificating, patronizing, and philosophizing, a fire has been burning the foundations of our country; and we have not lifted a pail of water to help extinguish the inferno.
Truly did the Lord Jesus say, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13 KJV)
The word “savour” here means “saltiness.” Salt is a preservative that retards decay and ruination. God has sprinkled “salt” in the form of Christian people all over the country. We are here to be a preservative and protection against rot and ruin. But when Christians lose their saltiness, Jesus said, they are “good for nothing” and are destined to be “trodden under foot of men.” That is a word description of tyranny and oppression. Can anyone say Jackboot?
Unfortunately, many pastors and churches today are “good for nothing.” They have lost their saltiness; they no longer preserve and protect. And, ladies and gentlemen, the Jackboots have gotten out the shoe polish as we speak.
It doesn’t matter that America has 300,000 churches, 90 million people attending those churches, and 159 million people calling themselves Christians unless those churches and Christians are actively and tenaciously preserving and protecting the foundations and pillars upon which both the church and the country are built.
As God pruned Gideon’s army down from 32,000 to 300, so, too, God may need to prune the Church in America. Let the majority of churches rot on the vine; let them intoxicate themselves on the opiate of entertainment and feelgoodism; let the hirelings in the pulpit lust after ease and social acceptance; let the willfully blind bask in their ignorance; and let the sheepish servants in the sanctuary lick the hands of their oppressors.
Those who choose to fight with Gideon’s army, leave these fancy churches, which are nothing more than ornate tombs, and run to the sound of battle! Gideon’s captains are strategically placed all around the mountains. Join them! God has never needed a majority to prevail; He never will.
The great Christian patriot and “Father of the American Revolution,” Sam Adams, said, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in the people’s minds.”
Let the majority of churches be irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant. Even now, God is raising up unconventional fellowships. A fire for liberty churches is ablaze in the hearts of millions of Americans. The establishment churches are dead; shake off the dust of your feet and move on. Already, we have over 700 patriot pastors and churches that appear on our Black Regiment web page. There may be one near you.
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See the list of patriot pastors and churches here: The Black Regiment
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A majority of pastors, churches, and Christians may be irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant; but you and I don’t have to be. Already, God is resurrecting Gideon’s army. Will you join us?
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