Could it be That Your Church is Dying Because…?

By Patrick Hawthorne

coffin

Lately I have been on a rant against the Church of the Forever dead.  Just for the understanding of any readers coming into this post late, my criticisms have been levied against a fictitious church in an attempt to help spread the word that it is time for the Body of Christ to wake up out of its slumber.   I pick on no one denomination…well, that is not quite true…I pick on them all.

Now, don’t get upset with me.  My intent is not to start a fight, but to open eyes to the fact that we are living in a time where walking the fence between right and wrong is no longer an option, especially in light of the level of persecution that is ramping up against the Body of Christ at this very moment in time.  And yes, my finger is equally pointed back at me.

Many churches today have no power and are dying off one by one…but why?  Could it be that Legalism has slipped in through the side door while they were sleeping?  Has the doctrine of their church replaced the power of the Word?  Sadly, I believe this to be the case in many instances.

Having forgotten or not experienced the goodness of God’s grace, these churches attempt to express their willingness to follow God through works or actions.  Rules and regulations are routinely preached from the pulpit with just a modicum of the Bible or the name of Jesus ever being spoken. Yet, it is this same church that wonders why membership is dropping off, young life is not replacing older life, and the altar has not seen a conversion of heart in so many years.

In other cases, I’m convinced that the pastor wishes the circumstances were different but has become weighed down by the concern of losing a consistent revenue stream.  Instead of trusting God to meet the needs of the church through the support of the congregation, the pastor instead looks solely to the congregation for support, bypassing any messages the Lord might have that will allow for much needed pruning and growth to take place.  “If I preach that message, Mr. Money Bags will get offended and leave the church.”  So, let him leave…

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some churches such as The Forever Dead Church that would not allow Jesus entrance into their country club even if He shaved, got a haircut, and wore an expensive Italian suit.  I’m not writing about them.  I’m writing about those who love God but have gotten a bit off course.  As written by Paul in Romans 7:18, the will to do good is present with them, but HOW to perform what is good, they do not find.  This is mainly because their teachings serve to produce condemnation rather than freedom.

So, how do these churches get that power back and rejuvenate a dying church? The answer is really quite simple.  It is found in Romans 1:16-17.

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for IT IS THE POWER OF GOD unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For IN IT (The Gospel) the righteousness of God is REVEALED from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”

Arguing your doctrine will not accomplish anything.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God…

Pleading your doctrine will not accomplish anything.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God…

Threatening your doctrine will not accomplish anything.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God…

To restore power to a dying church, PREACH THE GOSPEL!  And, by preaching the Gospel, I don’t mean preaching the notes of the notes of the notes of your former pastors…Read the Word for yourself, pray about what to preach, listen to the Holy Spirit about what to preach, and then be obedient to preach what has been given you.  It is that simple.

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20 comments on “Could it be That Your Church is Dying Because…?
  1. Hi Patrick, I think an institution is dying because the living church can’t find a place there. Still, we need to watch and wait and not fall into a deep slumber and not despair over the deaths of our beloved institutions. Those darn tecalotes’ are very good at distracting us but in the grand scope of God’s plan, they are nada.

    I stopped by because I’ve nominated you for “The Blogger Appreciation Award”. It comes with no obligation but I do appreciate you and all you do on WordPress. Please see my new post at http://www.joyindestructible.com/2016/02/25/spreading-joy-by-the-warmth-of-appreciation/ for details. God bless you, always.:0)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww…can I get a virtual hug?

      By the way, the institutions you write of would fall into the category of the Forever Dead Church….nothing with a pulse for the things of God is allowed in there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ((((((hugs))))) I agree but without us they are destined for destruction. However, there are those ‘out there’ that make it about ‘their alternate doctrine’ and that misses the mark too. It’s just about Jesus and living a life surrendered to Him. He is our unity.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. POP says:

    Did not Paul experience the same or near the same problem with the Galatians????

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Keep preaching it, brother! You’re right on target.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    I’ve been meditating on Romans 1:16 quite a lot the last month. Just preached it last week too and realized what my church needs the most is the Gospel, the pure Gospel with no other alloy mixed in.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It seems to be a common theme no doubt given by the Holy Spirit.

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  6. Wally Fry says:

    Keep this up Patrick, it’s been a good series.

    Like

  7. tractorCQ says:

    Great points Patrick!

    Let me preach:

    I think John supports you here and this may reveal why the POWER is missing: …”4You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” [I John 4:4-6] … But who’s going to listen to me? Jesus told us that we who truly believe are NOT of this world – “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19 … and again, even in his prayer, “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” [John 17:9]

    The distinction between the Kingdom and the world should be getting clearer. Kids can sense it when phoney crap is put out as the “Word of God” .. A bunch of watered-down Ladocean baloney is going to remain repulsive. How many preachers are preaching what Paul draws our attention to here: “20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” [Philippians 3:20-21] … that is present tense .. very unlike ‘going to heaven when you die’ like so many worldly preachers use. No youngster should be taught that Heaven is only reachable through death. The Spirit of God is quite available to the living as well! Do preachers speak of John 3:8 like they do John 3:16? Of course not! They are of the world and think that verse is going to ‘save the world’ .. Because they are focused on this world, not the heavenly world of spirit. John 3:8 is much more relevant to teach about life in the spirit.

    Children and young adults need to ‘see’ into the transfiguration principle: Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9 (starting in v.28), and John 1:14, we SAW his glory…

    Simon Peter writes: “17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased “– 18and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.…” [II Peter 1:17-19] … I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but kids these days aren’t ‘sheeple’ as their grandparents were. The Gospel is a very sophisticated instrument of God’s grace and those who trifle with it will certainly not get away with the blatant abuses that have occurred since the falling away. The original teachings were authorized by someone much more powerful than King James. If church leaders will filter out the Wall Street and Hollywood, they will find the ‘hidden manna’ [Revelation 2:17] that money cannot buy. If they stop this shallow, narrow-minded approach to ‘winning souls’ instead of practicing what was taught, their EXAMPLE will draw the kids back in.

    On a larger scale, the ‘great commission’ has turned into yet another get-rich quick scheme. The megalomania of something called ‘evangelism’ or ‘world outreach’ is total crap. The New Commandment [John 13:34] is not taught at all. Preachers ought to memorize John 15 before being allowed to speak. The idea of fighting for the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments will not fly in this Century. Jesus reset the legal principle by synthesizing the two categories of the law into a singular law called the Perfect Law of Liberty. It’s not that difficult a concept. If The One Commandment is OBEYED, everything falls into place for those who ABIDE in Him as directed. I like the way Jesus’ half-brother James puts it “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.” [James 1:25] … why even Donald Trump has said “…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty…” [II Corinthians 3:17] … The next generation of Christians will live by the ACTUAL doctrine of Christ or die trying.

    Let us pray:

    Lord, help us overcome this world. Give us the courage we need to stand up to the bad judgement of hypocrites, to silence the ignorance of foolish men, to greet the malice and avarice of gainsayers and profiteers with love and generosity, and especially to expose the deceptions that have been instituted in your name by something claiming itself ‘the church’. Show us the real thing, In Jesus name, amen.

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  8. Thanks for the comment. There is a lot to dig through and ponder in your response.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tractorCQ says:

    Yeah, that’s a bit terse for this venue. I just wanted to fully answer the questions. Here’s a short form:

    “Many churches today have no power and are dying off one by one…but why?” — Because they are apostate (fallen away). They are disconnected from the SOURCE of power.

    “Could it be that Legalism has slipped in through the side door while they were sleeping?” — Yes indeed. Jesus fulfilled the whole law. We were warned this would happen.

    “Has the doctrine of their church replaced the power of the Word?” — The doctrine of Christ is clearly stated in the New Testament. No replacements exist.

    “Sadly, I believe this to be the case in many instances.” — me too 😦

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    • Thanks for the easy to read version. While I believe and agree that many have gone the way of apostate, I truly believe that others have become distracted and simply need a course adjustment to get them back on track.

      Just to clarify, a failing church is not necessarily a sign of apostasy…just as a growing church is not necessarily a sign of holiness.

      For instance, I know of quite a few organizations who call themselves churches that are doing great financially. They grow and continue to grow because they tickle the ears of their congregation. Their messages soothe the conscience of their listeners yet do nothing to change their hearts.

      On the same token, I know of a church where the pastor was on fire for the Lord. However, his first church failed because I believe he was out of sync with the timing and the placement of the church. After backing away and listening to the Holy Spirit, he is now pastoring a thriving church.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. […] Patrick Hawthorne, who has a real knack for telling it like it is, had the following to say: […]

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