Church issues are the most frequent inquiry I get here at Olive Tree Ministries. Other leaders tell me the same. What has happened in the last 30-40 years? Many people visit church after church only to walk away disheartened. Others are lifetime members of a church and have seen changes that left it unrecognizable — spiritually speaking.
At first, members and attendees wonder if they are being a bit too judgmental, but the sad reality eventually sinks in that something has gone terribly wrong.
My background is in a fundamental church in Minneapolis that delivered verse-by-verse messages and had frequent prophecy conferences. Try to find that today! You will find a few but they are few and far between. This same church warned me about a coming apostasy back in the 1970s, but who knew it would get so bad starting somewhere in the 1990s. Nothing could have prepared me.
First it was music that became the great divider. Nobody minds some guitars and a bass but into the second decade of the 21st Century, ear plugs are handed out as one enters the church sanctuary.
Some churches open with a secular song, dim the lights, add some smoky fog, and have an atmosphere similar to the local bar. All of this is to enhance choruses that will be sung two-dozen times by hypnotized church members. I would learn that it is to attract “seekers” — a 21st Century term. Bill Hybels admitted that he came up with the term but confessed it didn’t work well in his church! … more