Failure of Churches, Whose Fault
This question has been circulating in my head for the last few days and seems to be a subject of prime interest among several members here, so I thought to start this thread to try to answer the question.
First let me be clear in that I do not believe that all churches or pastors are failing in thier resposibility to God. But I do see many churches and pastors failing or struggling in the winds of adversity that blow through the religious community today. WHY?
Let me set up our situation here. We live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, west of Seattle on the Kitsap Peninsula. We are home to some of the richest and most technical businesses in the world, ie., Microsoft, Real Player, etc.. In this region the fastest growing religion is Wican. That is New Age witchcraft. In our area the highly praised kids are the Crystal and Indigo children. For more information on crystal children link here. Church attending christianity is some %6.5 of the population. The large churches here (average membership 600 to 5000) either teach christianity/hinduism or prosperity message. For example Casey Treat. On the small end we have several congergations that use sheperding such as the Apostolic Lighthouse. (I feel for the women in that church. TJ and I have "rescued" 3 of them from thier controlling/abusive husbands.) The fastest growing christian community in the area is the storefront pentecostal movment. Small churces of between 5 to 50 members. The problem here is the lack of umbrella or oversite allows for some "intersting" beliefs to flurish. The Church of God of Prophecy is the largest number of this group. Here one can find everything from Mary, Jesus' mother as the literial wife of God to "It is not your fault you are failing in life. You must remove the Demons that are controlling your circumstance". A little something for everyone. We even have large congeration with an excellent pastor who teaches that water baptism died out with the Apostles (extreme dispensationalism), Grace Bible Church.
Can one wonder that I am seeking for the tenets of the original church?
The highest category of failure among the mainstream pastors in this area is "the other woman" and the second is (and this shocked me) pastors who come to believe that they are Jesus or are a direct messenger of God (in other words their words have precedence over the bible). Latest victim to that one, one of our local Nazarene churches.
Now the question is what do we do about it and how can we go about purifying God's church. Or do we just start over again with a new movment? How about the Spiritual Cleanliness Movment? What basic tenets should God's church embrace? How do we keep the pastors and congergation pure and inline with God's word?