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The Church is Dying

By Dene McGriff

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ocW7MgRBGPw/TdiBYS_g4pI/AAAAAAAAQyA/oI-l4tfzO7o/s400/dying+church.jpgThe church is dying.  The Bible says “without a vision the people perish”.  We are so obviously living in the last days.  Prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes and the church is dead silent!  In this final hour, the church should be at its most vibrant, but the prophetic silence in our churches says it all.

Pastors are mute.  It’s business as usual.  Keep hearth and home together.  Don’t rock the boat.  The saints are on a treadmill in survival mode.  They dutifully go to church but it doesn’t excite them.  It’s pretty much the same week after week. Why is it so hum drum?  The problem clearly lies in the lack of a prophetic vision.  We are ignoring God’s Word!  Half the Bible is prophetic and it was written for us to understand and heed.  God is speaking to this generation.  “MY SON IS COMING BACK!  GET READY!”  But no one wants to get involved.  The church ignores God and His Word.

Yes, we’re living in the here and now – we’ve taken our eyes off the prize.  There are no Abrahams today who  “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10)…talk about living with a prophetic vision!

We are either living in the last days or we aren’t.  The church is falling away (more on that later in the article).  Israel is back in the land surrounded by a billion Muslims that want nothing more than to see them wiped off the face of the earth.  The world economy is teetering on the brink of collapse.  Population is up to 7 billion straining the availability natural resources, clean water and air.  Our schools are failing and our children floundering with dim prospects for a future education or job.  America splits down the middle as half runs head long toward socialism and bigger government and the other half toward free markets and smaller government.  They are on a collision course.

There is an increase in earthquakes, famine, wild weather (extreme heat, cold, flood and drought).  We have seen the rise of a new kind of war which is random, abstract and deadly, called terrorism.  We see a government ready to twist the truth, lie, and control every aspect of our lives in the name of protecting us.  In short we see the whole world heading toward endless war, economic collapse and societal breakdown.  More nations, some not so stable and trustworthy have nuclear weapons.  We are one crisis away from a major collapse.  For example, what would a major war in the Middle East involving Iran do?  Best case scenario is it would probably stop half the oil in the world from being delivered.  Worst case, it could go nuclear or unleash an army of random terrorists.  The good life, freedom and prosperity as we know it would be gone forever in the blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, the Bible has given us a complete blueprint of exactly what will happen in the last days.  Just read Matthew 24 and the description will look a lot like the paragraph above.  We know that in the last days, Jews will return to the land, they will sign a defense treaty (forced on them) with the Antichrist; there will be a huge war in the Middle East with Islamic nations coming against Israel.  These events mark the beginning of the last seven years spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27).  This could happen any minute and our churches are clueless.  You could go to a hundred churches and not hear a single word about this unless it is a reassuring message on the pre-tribulation rapture or the bizarre notion that Daniel 9:27 was fulfilled by Jesus Himself Who after 3.5 years broke His “treaty” with Israel – thereby attributing the work of Jesus Christ to Antichrist!

Our generation is the wealthiest most spoiled generation to ever walk on the face of the earth.  When former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett was a young man, he attended an international young leaders conference in New York City.  Fellow students from Russia and China asked him to take them to a really poor neighborhood.  They got on the subway to Harlem – pretty poor in the ‘60s, but every home still had air conditioning, a TV, refrigerator, lots of furniture – most had a car and so forth.  The students accused him of cheating, of taking them to a show case neighborhood.  Compared to the rest of the world, our poor are rich.

Thishttp://americaexplained.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/soccer_mom.jpg generation is not prepared to suffer.  It is not prepared to forsake the good life.  Christians are not prepared to suffer and die.  They say they but are they really?  Don’t we have a little too much to lose?  Pre-trib preachers assure their congregations that God will never allow the church to suffer the judgment of God, to suffer at the hands of the world.  They are convinced that God loves them so much that He will spare them and lift them up out of this world to heaven before the tribulation begins.  This is a far cry from the Bible heroes they study.  Hebrews 11 lists all of the great men and women of faith in the Old Testament from Abel to Enoch, Abel, Abraham and Sarah and concludes “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,[a] embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)  The chapter goes on giving countless examples.  “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.   And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise…”  (Hebrews 11:35-40)

These Old Testament heroes and the New Testament martyrs lived and died extraordinary lives because they had a prophetic vision.  Hebrews 12:25-28 concludes, “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake] not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may[j] serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Does this sound like today’s church?  I think we see a couple of things here.  First God is speaking and He expects us to listen.  Second, He allows the world to be shaken in order to really see where our hearts are focused.  Is this world our home?  Do we trust in our abilities, our education our own intelligence and resourcefulness?  Third, is our orientation toward this world or the one to come?  It takes prophetic vision to live with a goal that is bigger than me, my job and family.

Life is a test.  Remember the story of Job.  Satan taunted God saying, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:10-11)  Then Job loses his home and family and in the next chapter his health.  But no matter what God allowed Satan to do, Job refused to curse Him but instead made this tremendous declaration, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. (Job 19:25)  These people passed the test – not because of their own efforts or righteousness but because of their prophetic vision, of a God who has much more for their lives than living and dying.  Are we living for this world or eternity?  Are we prepared to lose everything?

Every person who has ever lived has suffered losses, but how do we respond to loss?  With anger and bitterness?  Or do we see a greater outcome?  If we trust in the world and the things we have accomplished, we will be disappointed.  If we think there is hope in this world, if we think the Bush, Obama or Romney team will make it all better, we will be disappointed.  The whole world lies in the evil one.  We will find no solace in anything in this world.  The only thing that will get us through is a relationship with God, with Jesus and He doesn’t promise us a rose garden.  No.  “In the world we will have tribulation.”(John 16:33).  The tribulation serves a purpose.  See The Church in Tribulation – Why?

Every generation has their problems: wars, depressions, famine, social upheaval, etc.  Down through history people’s lives have been turned upside down by circumstances beyond their control.  Sometime Christians are persecuted.  Sometime they are accepted and when they are accepted, you had better watch out.  When the Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity as the state religion, the church moved into buildings and the professional priestly class was created and the church all but died. Jesus warned, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18)  We also know from the Bible that there is a time coming just before the end that is referred to as the “tribulation”.  For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” (Mark 13:19If we are about to face the worst tribulation in the history of the world, what will you do?

We are also told in countless places that Israel’s return to the Promised Land will occur in the last days. It began with Moses.  In Deuteronomy 30, God said, “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you.”  The children of Israel were told they would be driven out of the land if they served other gods.  But God wasn’t yet done with them.  They were captives in Egypt and Babylon and brought back.  Then, after Jesus, they were scattered around the earth.  But in the last days God says, “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”(Ezekiel 36:20-27)  The final fulfillment of this is still in the future.  The fact remains, after 2,000 years they are now back in the land.

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/uploads/1225752910ben_gurion_airport_sign.JPGNow I don’t know about you, but every time I look at the news, little Israel is right there in the middle of it.  Iran and all the other Muslim countries want to wipe her off the map.  It is the flash point in the world – that tiny nation of a few million people!  Why should anyone care about that speck in the desert?  Could it be that God has a plan not only for us but for the nation of Israel that brought us our Savior Jesus? 

Time is almost up.  Our website has article after article that clearly shows from the Bible exactly those events which have happened and will occur as we get closer to the end.  It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to read and understand what the Bible says.  We watch the news.  Iran is intent on the total destruction of Israel and Israel is intent on keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons = Prime Minister Netanyahu now says Israel’s “opportunity” to take out Iran’s nuclear option will be before the US election in 2012; meanwhile, Syria is disintegrating and Egypt is moving heavy armament into the Sinai.  The embattled President Assad of Syria is as dangerous as a cornered lion and has promised to take out Israel even if it is with his final breath.  We are one war away from America signing a defense pact with Israel.  Israel may soon be unable to defend herself and America wants to control her unpredictable actions.  A treaty will be forced on them and we have also written extensively on that treaty of Daniel 9:27 which most serious Bible scholars admit marks the beginning of the final seven years of tribulation leading up to the return of Christ.

The Big Question

So if we are about to enter into a period known as the “greatest tribulation the world has ever seen,” why don’t we hear anything about it?  Why are the churches silent?  This goes for liberal churches, conservative churches, Bible churches, charismatic churches, mega churches, neighborhood churches.  I challenge you.  Visit every single church in your community and you won’t hear a word about prophecy, except the pre-trib rapture escapist clap trap that Corrie Ten Boom says, ”There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days.”  Liberal and emergent churches are into making the world a better place.  Others are either into escape or claim the end times have been going on since Christ – no big deal.

There is no awareness of prophecy, no thought of tribulation, only the expectation that things will continue to rock along as they always have.  The evangelical churches preach a gospel of getting saved and being blessed with the good life – two children, a dog, half a cat, a house that isn’t “under water”, soccer and dance, 401k’s and a Disney Cruise, pot luck dinners and home meetings, Sunday School and sermons.  What is wrong with this picture?

1.     The institution we call “the Church” has become nothing more than a shell.  It is a dead, self-serving, stifling institution that has tried to bring meaning into people’s lives through four songs and a sermon.  The pastor performs and the people observe.  This is far from the dynamic, living community of people in the early church.  Pastors serve at the behest of the congregation so they go out of their way to be entertaining and challenging but not too controversial lest they be given the boot.  I have discussed this extensively in a book titled Recognizing Apostasy and Deception.

2.     I distinguish between the institution and the people – that is the true born again believers (which may be a much smaller number than we imagine) in the church.  The institution serves itself and robs the people of a true body life experience where they live, love and share the life of Christ they experience with one another.  It is an artificial entity which gives the position of “pastor” or “priest” to a person rather than having a living entity where people function as pastors, evangelists, teachers, and care for and love one another.

3.     Bible Schools and Seminaries far too often perpetuate antiquated, if not wrong teachings that have nothing to do with the church and the geo-political situation today.  Inertia causes these institutions to pass on teachings from one generation to another.  Let’s look at some of the false or misleading teachings.

a.     Many old line evangelical institutions hold to the teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture in which Christians escape prior to the Tribulation.  The net effect of this teaching is that it gives Christians a false sense of security and no imperative to prepare since they are convinced they won’t be here during this time of trouble.  It also opens them up to deception – a subject I explore in my on-line novel, Gideon’s Chronicle – a “stay behind series” if you will.  And probably the most important thing it does is it removes the Testimony of God’s people on the earth.  It robs God of His testimony – His people.

b.     There has always been the liberal, social gospel element in the church.  Now there is also the “Emerging Church.”  These people understand the insignificance of the church in this modern world and want to make it relevant.  In the process, they fall into the trap of social justice or "dominionism.”  They see the church getting involved in politics and society as a change agent, to affect the course of the nation.

c.      Teachers in all camps see no role for America in prophecy, a subject I explore in detail in a book titled “In Search of Mystery Babylon".  The Bible clearly identifies a great end time’s nation which is described in Revelation 16-19 and many other places.  It is apostate (fallen) Christian with spiritual roots which it has abandoned and now pollutes the world with its filth (Revelation 17).  It is the great consumer nation, the economic powerhouse that buys the world’s products (Revelation 18); and it is a great military power and defender of Israel. (Chapter 19). 

I could go on and on and make an exhaustive list but the critical question for Christians and the “church” is, are these the last days or not?  If so, what will they be like?  Do we have an important part to play?  What will happen to Christians?  Should we do anything to prepare?   We either are or we aren’t.  Israel is in the land and is a “cup of trembling” to the nations – that tiny nation is the world’s flash point or it is a fluke of history, a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Does anyone care?  Are we so jaded that we ignore a third of the Bible (which is clearly prophetic)?

Why We Don’t Get Prophecy

Let’s look at several reasons why we don’t get prophecy.  First, we “lay”/non-professional “Christians” don’t study prophecy because it is complicated, confusing and scary.  We leave that to the professionals who have studied the Bible in great detail and know their Greek and Hebrew.  All I can say is that is about as good an idea as a Catholic trusting the priests to read and interpret the Bible for them.  We are lazy.  Most Christians only read the Bible as they would any book for information, not as a living breathing Book that God uses to speak to us.  Second, there is so much inertia in Christian education that Bible schools and seminaries tend to pass on the same old teachings from one generation to the next.  Each generation should read the Bible in a fresh way and let God reveal new things.  Third, there is the issue of “need to know”.

I was a Captain in U.S. Army Intelligence, had a top-secret clearance and taught in the Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  If you have ever been around the intelligence community one of the first things you learn is the principle of “need to know.”  Just because you have the highest clearance in the land, if you don’t have a “need to know” you cannot have access to the information no matter who you are.  In Daniel 12:9 it says “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end”.  Why worry the saints down through the ages with last days prophecy when it wasn’t relevant to them?  It would have been nice to know but they didn’t have a “need to know.”  I believe this explains one of the main reasons for confusion today.  Christians were intent on understanding prophecy so they did their best in the context of the current geo-political circumstances.  Consequently, down through the past few hundred years Christians were sure they knew the identity of the antichrist (from Napolean to Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, and so on).  They were sure Europe was going to unify as a resurrected Holy Roman Empire and America would fade away.

The whole thing was so confusing and there were so many different opinions, most just gave up.  The whole subject was just too divisive and scary.  So many had made predictions and been proved wrong, their credibility was in the toilet.  Prophecy became the concern of quacks and alarmists.  No one dared to take it on.  Add to that the new teaching of the “blessed hope” – the pre-trib rapture of the church, and really now, who cares?  Why bother?

Today Christians are listless. They are more about football, soccer and the good life.  Once they are saved, then what?  How many times do they listen to the same boring sermon?   As long as they are taken care of now and in the great by and by, that’s all that matters.   Christians are embarrassed by the crazies standing on street corners with their clap board signs declaring the end of the world.  No one wants to hear doomsday scenarios.  How many times will we allow the Harold Campings of the Christian world to get it wrong?  Prophecy is stupid and humiliating.  Why not just make the world a better place for our kids and trust God for the rest?

I call my generation the “48’rs”.  I’ll never forget the excitement in the church when we realized that in 1948 Israel was finally back in the land.  We followed every war with baited breath.  We listened to Abba Iban in 1967 before the United Nations painting the grim picture of Israel’s military dilemma and then the miracle of victory in the Six Day War.   My kids grew up wondering if they would ever get married and raise a family, imaging the horror of their own children facing the persecution.  When nothing happened, they followed the old adage.  “If this is the last day on earth, plant a tree just in case.”  Time rolled on and dear old dad became just another alarmist.  That generation has just about given up.  Church may be boring and irrelevant but parents feel their kids need some good influence so they trudge them off to Sunday school and endure four songs and a sermon.  Meanwhile, with high unemployment and more layoffs around the corner they are running scared.  Will they have enough money for their kid’s college?  Will they even have a job?

Churches offer pabulum and great entertainment, a little challenge, encouragement to go on with the Lord and hold marriages together but most are in survival mode.  Some get into activism – get out the vote and change the system.  Fight abortion!  Define marriage!  Others retreat to the safety of their hearth and home.  But few get on their knees and grapple with God on prophetic issues.

The sad truth of the matter is that if a pastor started preaching the real truth about the end times, they would either be laughed out or run out of their church – or both!  No one wants to hear more failed prophecies.  I sat in a Calvary Chapel listening to a pastor lay out the end time scenario, the critical role of Israel, the world economy, the buildup to the end.  He did a great job. Building up to the crescendo he arrived at the “blessed hope” – the rapture that will lift us up to heaven away from the mess. So escape is our “blessed hope”? 

Here is the sad state of affairs.  If we are in the last days, no one wants to talk about it.  No one wants to hear about it.  The churches are silent – falling head long into total deception (again see Gideon’s Chronicle to get a feel for what it may be like).

No wonder the churches are dead.  The most important message of our time is being completely ignored.  If anyone dares to talk about prophecy, it is academic and probably with reassurances that we rapture or it is either way off in the future.  Not to worry.

Recently, a good friend of ours was invited to a gathering of pastors in Ft. Worth, TX – they came from all over the nation to the nation’s largest seminary to hold a conference on “prophecy.”  He spoke on Matthew 24 – the Olivet Discourse and the specific verses where Jesus talked about the lead up to the Great Tribulation…what he called the “mini-apocalypse.”  They all enjoyed it; the only thing was they told him they’d never be able to preach something like that to their congregations – they’d lose the pulpit!

The issue isn’t the timing of the rapture, but where is God’s testimony on the earth.  Church theologians seem intent on destroying God’s plan.  Some say the Church will rapture leaving Jews to suffer.  Others say that the Jews have lost their promise and only the church matters.  God has a testimony on the earth He is going to judge and He needs two witnesses before He can do that.  These two witnesses are His two peoples:  unbelieving Israel and the Church…the ones who “Sing the Song of Moses, the servant of God (Israel), and the Song of the Lamb (the Church).”

https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT_Myiohao-t-te3Bw-Z7bwk1x2cfbmfx-eYmQqg7oAZCJGCogOIn Revelation 11 in the midst of tribulation, these two witnesses testify before the whole world.  We have written extensively on this.  God needs both because they are His people who declare His faithfulness; that’s why in Revelation 12 the dragon goes after “her seed who keep the commandments of God (Israel) and have the testimony of Jesus (the Church) … there’s a price to pay for being a witness.

I would remind you that when this does start to come down, the apostate church is the first to persecute the real believers.  This is when we are delivered up by friends and relatives.  These are not my words.  Read Matthew 24:9-11 where it says “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”

It is little wonder that the last days’ church is characterized by Laodicea, a wonderful, socially relevant, busy little church with lots of good works but is lukewarm, wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.  This church is wealthy, in fact stinking rich and they don’t think they need anything.  They know it all, have it under control but are most deceived when it comes to understanding their own condition.  So let’s look at today’s church as an institution.

The Census Bureau gives us the following statistics:

·        Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors compared to just over 1000 new church starts!

·        There were about 4,500 new churches started between 1990 and 2000, with a twenty year average of nearly 1000 a year.

·        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Ds2yJMtvX54/S537JzfkbGI/AAAAAAAAA14/2mrK-B7_Pgk/s400/church_money_250w_tndddd.jpgEvery year, 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity. This translates into the realization that people are leaving the church. From our research, we have found that they are leaving as hurting and wounded victims-of some kind of abuse, disillusionment, or just plain neglect!

·        From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations in the USA declined by almost 5 million members (9.5 percent), while the US population increased by 24 million (11 percent).

·        At the turn of the last century (1900), there was a ratio of 27 churches per 10,000 people, as compared to the close of this century (2000) where we have 11 churches per 10,000 people in America! What has happened?

·        Given the declining numbers and closures of Churches as compared to new church starts, there should have been over 38,000 new churches commissioned to keep up with the population growth.

·        The United States now ranks third (3rd) following China and India in the number of people who are not professing Christians; in other words, the U.S. is becoming an ever increasing "un-reached people group."

·        Half of all churches in the US did not add any new members to their ranks in the last two years.

The article quoted above gives the standard excuses such as the moral decline of society, gossip, immorality in the church, and the money and program oriented church.  But why are they leaving the church?  One study says that “Statistics from Barna Research reported recently that perhaps 50% of people who go to a church are not even Christians!”  Many are abandoning the institution for the home to meet with Christian friends they can share with but a good number are dropping out as the cares of life and irrelevance of the church discourage them – THERE IS NO VISION!  There is nothing to live for and nothing to die for.

The traditional church is the source of deception and persecution because they are no longer listening to God and His written warnings.  Churches are in the business of reassuring people everything is okay.  I would venture to say that ninety nine out of a hundred pastors or church leaders have little understanding of prophecy.  Churches are in the business of preaching the gospel, having little babies and feeding them spiritual milk for the rest of their lives, not preparing them for what Matthew 24:11 says “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  The institutional church is silent.

I’m going to make this article Chapter 14 in an e-book entitled “In Search of the Church in the Last Days.”   It appears that Christians are looking for meaning in the church, but they are looking in all the wrong places.  You won’t find anything meaningful in any institutional church.  The time has come to listen to the advice in Hebrews 13:13, “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” 

We don’t need more sermons, more endless teaching and study.  We need to know Him and be with others who are looking for the same thing – grappling with the Word of God as was John in the Revelation where he was given the “little book” and told to “eat the book” and then he was commanded to prophesy.  Yes, not writing down the Seven Thunders but “eating the Seven Thunders” – having God’s Word cutting to the depth of our being and then speaking forth that subjective reality!

If ever there were a generation that needed to throw off the shackles of religion and dogma, false teaching and deception, this is it.  You are responsible for what you do, not your priest, minister, bishop, pastor, elder or Bible study leader.  You need to be connected to a living body of believers and submit to one another in a spirit of humility, not just because someone has a “position.”  Unfortunately, the chances are, your leaders are deceived already.  I say this not out of a rebellious heart but out of sorrow and fifty years of agonizing experience confirming this phenomenon taking place in today’s church.

God is interested in a body where everyone functions and exercises their spiritual gifts.  This is spiritual, not based on training, education or position.  We have tried to put the Body of Christ in a box/building.  It is not an institution but an organism made up of real people who relate to one another because they all share the same life in Christ.  The church you read about in Ephesians 3 and 4 bears no resemblance to the meeting you attend on Sunday morning.  Unfortunately there are very few Christians who have ever experienced the living body life of the church where we are all members of one another, exalting our Head who is Jesus Christ.

So what is the answer to this problem in today’s church?  Where do we find the real thing?  It is not on a street corner in a building near you.  But it is in your brothers and sisters in Christ. 

It starts with a vision – seeing yourself as one of those who “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”   (Revelation 12:11)  Unfortunately, it may take the realization of a Gideon who missed the prophecy but refused the mark of the beast.  It may take another war in Israel and a defense pact forced on Israel before some will recognize it as the Daniel 9:27 event that kicks off the 70th week of Daniel.  Some may not see it until the temple is rebuilt and the antichrist goes into the Holy of Holies to sacrifice and declares himself to be god.  Others may not get it until they are required to take a “Mark” in order to buy or sell.

Once Christians are desperate enough and begin to dig into prophecy for themselves will they realize that the institutional church is apostate and not going to change.  Only then will they be serious enough to seek out other Christians and rediscover the “church life” in their neighborhood or home.  I apologize for not being very positive about the prospect of Christians grasping this simple truth.  If they don’t look for it themselves no one will do it for them.

I have been shouting this message from the rooftops for almost 30 years and few are concerned.  I think there will be more who understand as events overtake us but the reason I am so critical of the institutional church is that it is not just passive.  It is actively against us in its smug, don’t-rock-the-boat and stop-making-trouble broadsides and its aggressive ability to anesthetize believers into thinking “all things remain as they were from the beginning” – Jesus is coming back in 400 years … you’re going to rapture out of here in any event or, worse yet, the Second Coming of Christ is His coming in us and it’s already here – anything else you hear is pure alarmist claptrap, don’t listen!

“Institutional Churchianity” is not our friend.  It stands for the status quo.  It is a part of the deception.  It still thinks of America as the light on the hill and the protector of Israel.  Church leaders do not understand the true nature of the beast and the deception.  They are so steeped in their antiquated interpretations and their desire to maintain peace with their flock.  They are the problem rather than the solution.

Dene McGriff, Sacramento

August, 2012

 

 
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