A few weeks back, Pastor Mike Nazarian at Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach preached a well thought out sermon, where he attacked what he feels are the two most destructive forces in the Church today: Gossip and Pornography. It was a great sermon I thought, I told him so right away, but then had a few more thoughts to share with him about it.
Hey Mike – did want to thank you again for your excellent message yesterday. I was trying to have a little fun with you and sound like one of those who “Hears the message but has already forgotten it” when they see you
Seriously though, I think you’re on to something. I did some quick research, because I think what you’re looking at is EXTREMELY important. Let me put it this way, I’ve taught that Abortion class a couple times now, and in it we discover that abortion rates inside the church are the same as those of the world. FRIGHTENING! If you look at any other issue, such as gossip and pornography, as you mentioned yesterday, I think you’ll find pretty much the same. This is what has led me down the path this past year to say that the “Church is dead”.
I don’t mean there aren’t good churches, or that many are not still being saved, obviously Jesus / God is working to build His Church His way, and we are seeing the results of a larger issue. Some of the articles I just went through describe the central problem as either lack of unity, or compromise with the world. I think it’s both, I think that the issue has an underlying cause though, and that is a fundamental lack of obedience, with no consequent holiness (worldliness). The main other point I found, and one which I mentioned yesterday to your mom when I thought about it is apathy. I think the general malaise in the church (apathy) has a lot to do with both the lack of unity, as well as the lack of obedience to God’s Word and His plan for our lives.
I see it in so many ways, and I’m just as guilty. I’ve compromised with the world this past year as well, and I hate myself for it! Trust me, I despise my sin and wish to be RID OF IT ONCE FOR ALL, but also realize that the battle will not end until I meet the Lord. His plan, at least part of it, must be the struggle, the suffering, the guilt, the anguish, all of those.
So, perhaps part of the problem with the church is the fact that we “Pretend” too much from the pulpit (not you, not Hope Chapel in general either) that we don’t sin, that we don’t struggle. ALL OF US struggle! And, I think that to be really appealing to folks, and to inspire them to change, even to want to change, we must do a better job of being real with them. “He who says he is without sin is a liar” as John said. We must be real, and get real about the struggle. Without it, nothing else will come for the Church in general, it will continue dying, slowly, divided and conquered by the enemy.
I will try to add some resources in here as I can. Here’s a couple I went through: