The Disabled Church
I recently read a very concerning article regarding millennials (born between 1980 and 1995). According to George Barna, only 2 of every 100 from this group (2%) have a biblical worldview.(1) To possess a biblical worldview means a person believes the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and they consider it the ultimate authority for all of life. Just let that sink in: basically, an entire generation of Americans believe the Bible is irrelevant. How can anyone argue that it will not take a great awakening and a reformation to save America? It also makes one wonder how so many churches can simply continue with “business as usual.”
In another article, Larry Tomczak shared more sobering stats: 80% of America’s churches are either stagnant or in decline. And of the 20% that are growing, most (95%) of the growth is from transfers or births, not conversions.(2) Don’t be deceived into thinking that the existence of mega-churches means we have been reaching our nation for Christ. These large churches grew to that size by sheep relocation, not through winning the lost to Christ.
The sad reality is that the lukewarm, complacent, get-along-with-everyone, watered-down, entertainment-oriented, story-telling, prayerless American church has lost most of Gen X, the Millenials, and Gen Z to humanism and progressivism. Yes, this can be reversed - and I believe it will be - but only through a massive two-pronged revival. Salvation will awaken the hearts and consciences, turning them to God and His Word; this MUST come first. Reformation can then restore and rebuild our government, education, and other aspects of our society.
There is a debilitating weakness we in the body of Christ will have to overcome in order to experience these divine solutions. This weakness has allowed, if not caused, many of the failures mentioned above. Because this problem is rarely taught on - or even mentioned - in the church, it is poorly understood by most believers. Yet, it is one of satan’s greatest weapons.
Holy Spirit, through Solomon, referred to this tendency and weakness as a “trap.” The Hebrew word can refer to any method used to trap, snare, capture, and control. One usage of the word is to lead around by a ring in the nose.(3) Ouch! Here is the verse that refers to this “snare” in 3 different translations:
“Fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back. But when you place your confidence in the Lord, you will be seated in the high place.” (Proverbs 29:25 TPT)
“The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”
(Proverbs 29:25 MSG)
And the phraseology most of us have heard and will recognize:
“The fear of man brings a snare, But one who trusts in the Lord will be protected.”
(Proverbs 29:25 NASB)
Intimidation, the fear of human opinion, the fear of man, as this weapon of the enemy is referred to in these verses, truly is a snare. One of my numerous searches regarding this verse turned up the following clear explanation of this trap:
“This fear is an anxious need to receive affirmation from those around us. The fear of man manifests as people-pleasing, compromised values, peer pressure, and a choice not to share our faith. The fear of man can be a snare when we allow it to influence our decisions. Rather than obey the voice of the Holy Spirit (John 10:27), we opt to avoid unpleasant interactions. It’s easier to heed the fear of man than to invite the possibility of consequences.
“The fear of man is a snare in that it supplants the fear of God in our lives. Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10), the fear of man sets us on the road to foolishness.
“The fear of man has replaced biblical conviction in some so-called Christian circles today. Public opinion has overridden the clear teaching of Scripture on many social issues. Entire denominations are caving to the fear of man, and it has become a snare to them. The desire to be viewed by the world as progressive, enlightened, tolerant, or politically correct is a snare Satan has used to reel people into his way of thinking. The need to be liked and accepted has become more important than the Word of God to many professing believers, thus proving the truth of Proverbs 29:25.”(4)
I once heard Abby Johnson share that when she was clinic director of a Planned Parenthood abortion center, she was also a regular church attender. However, her pastor never mentioned sin, or that abortion was a sin - not one time. Can you imagine? It wasn’t until she watched an abortion on an ultrasound that she realized the procedure was actually killing a live child.
Christians want to be accepted and loved just as much as non-believers. No one likes rejection and criticism. The reality, however, is that Christ said we would be rejected and persecuted for our Christian faith (John 15:18-19; 16:33; 17:14). He told us to be salty, and to be lights (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt flavors food, which is pleasant, but it also preserves food by destroying bacteria and fighting against decay. Light gives direction and comfort, but it also exposes evil and corruption.
Refusing to warn of the horrible consequences of sin and darkness, by shining the light of truth, is not love; it is cruel neglect. Refusing to confront evil with the burning salt of truth is not kindness; it is the empowerment of infectious evils to steal, kill, and destroy. Our desire to not be offensive, along with our insatiable longing to be accepted, has allowed the infecting, poisoning, and spiritual death of millions of Americans. We wonder how Americans could elect antichrist fools, liars, mentally debilitated individuals, race-baiting proponents of division, and haters of the nation they “serve”; how we could have become a nation unable to define male and female, a people that mutilates its children, kills its babies, and merchandises their body parts?
The answer is simple: the salt lost its savor, allowing the gangrenous infection of sin and depravity to consume our souls. The light went out, allowing evil and corruption to remain hidden, working behind the scenes, and mooring-less people to drift in darkness, blown further and further from the lighthouse of truth.
And one of the reasons this loss of salt and light occurred was because, as the above verse says, “The fear of human opinion disables.” Through this fear, satan embedded his nose ring in the American church and led us into the maze of peer pressure, political correctness, fear of offending, the ignoring and/or rejection of biblical truth, a watered-down and powerless gospel, dim churches, stale preaching, compromising Christians and THREE LOST GENERATIONS!
God, in His mercy, is about to turn the light back on.
Pray with me:
Father, we have failed to take heed to Your warning, and the results have been catastrophic. The greatest nation on earth has become a byword and a laughing stock among the nations. We have played the fool. We embrace the humility and desperation this is producing, yet we mourn the spiritual destruction our arrogance and rebellion have caused.
We pray today for Gen X, the Millennials, and Gen Z. We introduced them to an incomplete and inaccurate version of You. Most of them were offered only religion, watered-down messages, and rituals. Predictably, they walked away from this as soon as possible. We are asking for a great rescue. We declare the word of the Lord into the atmosphere of America: God is coming to save them! Prodigals will come home, the confused will have a clear mind, the fatherless will find acceptance and identity in God. A great presence movement is coming, one that will introduce millions here in America and around the world, to a person, not a religion. That person is Jesus.
And we pray for the church. We pray that the fear of man will be broken off of the body of Christ. All people-pleasing mindsets, performance tendencies, political correctness, and a desire to fit in with the world around us. We pray that we would once again be salt and light - preservers, flavorers, lights in the darkness, and compassionate voices of truth. We know we are called to demonstrate both - Your love and Your truth.
We pray all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We decree that a remnant of believers is arising that will not bow to the fear of man.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 4170.