Open Letter to Pastors and Leaders: Decision Times

From Roger Oakland: Understand the Times

We are living in a critical time of church history. The Bible, God’s Word, is undergoing a revision that is bringing about division. The truth of God’s Word is being compromised and watered-down. Ecumenical and heretical teachings are being endorsed for the cause of unity and church growth. The gospel of Jesus Christ is being disguised to make it less offensive and more acceptable.

Churches that once taught the Bible faithfully verse by verse, preparing the flock for the imminent return of Jesus Christ, now are looking for ways to make their services more seeker-friendly and are less concerned about the prophetic signs that we are living in the last of the last days. Pastors and churches that once believed church growth was dependent on feeding the sheep and equipping the saved to share the gospel with the lost, now promote humanistic means to draw in the masses based on a consumer style of evangelism focused on “finding out what people want” to get them in the door.

Churches once led by pastors committed to biblical truth, now are employing experts who use worldly principles borrowed from secular corporations with material goals for success. Rather than following Jesus and His word, pastors and church leaders are looking to successful men and their methods so they can become part of a movement that is based on principles foreign to the Scriptures. Further, when church leaders promote strategies to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth by human effort, when concerned believers warn about the dangers, they are labelled divisive.

Bible believing pastors that once taught the Bible are now looking for ways to attract people to their congregations by providing extra-biblical experiences and an atmosphere that includes candles, icons, incense and the introduction of Roman Catholic sacraments. When concerned observers suggest this appears to be leading to a partnership with Roman Catholicism they are considered to be negative opponents of the ‘new thing’ God is doing that is reaching our generation.

It is apparent to some that we are at another crossroads in church history, a fork in the road. So what does the future hold? Are pastors going to stand up and make their voices known if they have concerns about the direction current trends are leading? While some say, don’t be negative – just be known for what you believe, not what you are against – perhaps it is time to reread what the Old Testament prophets said. When followers of God stray away from the truths of God, they are never to feel comfortable.

If we truly believe that Jesus may return soon, what position should we take? Should we be promoting methods of success that produce big churches with shallow believers who are asleep when Jesus returns? Shouldn’t leaders be sounding the trumpet and warning of His imminent return? This is a time when pastors and church leaders must make decisions regarding the direction they are going to go. It is a time to proclaim God’s word with boldness. Jesus is coming soon!


Comment by Johan Malan: Where is your true allegiance?

The Open Letter quoted above is a serious and much needed challenge to the modern, compromising church. The end-time church is thoroughly humanistic and materialistic, seeking to exalt and glorify man rather than God. It is always the “I” that aims to fulfil his personal ambitions and to achieve great things, also in a Christian context, rather than being an obedient, cross-bearing disciple who follows the Lord wherever He guides him. The true disciple is a servant of Jesus Christ who depends on the Holy Spirit to fill and enable him, rather than resorting to man-made methods such as motivational talks that are more psychological than spiritual, being driven by the promise of worldly success in all your endeavours.

Since man and his earthly happiness has become the central concern of the seeker-friendly church, religion is practised in an eclectic way, deriving ideas from various sources. The Word of God is presented in such a way that all the blessings promised to the believer are highlighted, while divine injunctions that are perceived to be negative to the self-esteem of man are simply ignored as if they don’t exist. The latter includes self-denial by surrendering your carnal nature to Christ to be crucified to the world and to sin (Luke 9:23; Gal. 6:14). This requires a disposition of recognising your own unworthiness before God, as well as a clear realisation of the fact that Christ died on the cross to pay the death penalty for your sins. From this knowledge arises the need to be born again and to put on the new man which was created after God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).

In the process of sanctification, holiness unto the Lord should be a major objective. The corrupt things of this evil world must be put off (Eph. 4:22), including the irreverent rock music that is so popular in many of the modern mega churches. We cannot serve two masters by having the best from two worlds. The present world is inherently evil and diametrically opposed to the kingdom of God (John 15:18-20; 16:33). During this dispensation, we must be prepared to follow the rejected and crucified Christ, and also to suffer for His Name if we wish to remain true to Him. If we suffer with Him we will also be glorified with Him and reign with Him when His kingdom is revealed (Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; 3:12). To believers who do not seek earthly fame and acceptance, the promise of the soon coming of Christ is very important and should always be proclaimed.

The false religious system of the end-time is becoming more manifest by the day. The following are some of the characteristics associated with it: “Many false prophets will appear and lead many astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere and will cool the love of many. But those enduring to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:11-13; Living Bible). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:3-5).