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What Are the Greatest Challenges Facing the Church Today?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2019 4:20 pm

What Are the Greatest Challenges Facing the Church Today?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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December 24, 2019 4:20 pm

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So what are the greatest challenges facing the church today stalking for the line of fire with your host activist and author, international speaker and theologian Dr. Michael Burrell your voice of moral cultural and spiritual revolution Michael Brown was the director of the coalition of conscience and president of fire school of ministry get into the line of fire valves like always 866-34-TRUTH that's 866-34-TRUTH your Jim is Dr. Michael Brown friends looking for the line of fire. This is Michael Brown. I asked the same question greatest challenges facing the church today asked this question on Facebook a few days ago so I will answer your questions.

I will respond to your comments on the air this week so that's what I'm doing now. Not taking your calls but look.

Bottom line, if Dr. Martin Luther King was right and I believe he was when he said the church must be reminded is not the master of the state or the servant of the state, but the conscience of the state if he was right again. I believe he wasn't saying that then the hope of America is the health of the church, the hope of America is a healthy vibrant church. Loving God, loving neighbor for the spirit full of the word glorify Jesus as a whole for the nation and as I've said over and over again that my greatest concern is not so much the presence of darkness is the absence of light. So if we can address problems in our midst. If we can face challenges head-on. Then we by God's grace can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world and we can be in effect I bring a positive effect, be a positive change in a positive change agent here in America and around the world. So I asked for input on Facebook again. I will be taking your calls or commenting on breaking news as we focus on this, but let's just see comments that have come in and I'm gonna respond to them. We got flooded the moment I posted this, so let's just see here where my going start boy, a lot of great comments in keeps going down there even more. Okay, let's see. David said this number one, don't preach about repentance, number two, afraid of the LGBT movement three will teach about biblical divorce and remarriage for knowledge and evangelism. Five. The Holy Spirit power six greedy all those are a bunch there but let me grab a couple of them there has been a real turning away from biblically-based repentance preaching in recent decades. I'm not time at beating people over the head and laying a guilt trip on everyone see you go to church feeling good and really feeling bad you go and Kyle can't wait to get service leave the ground is the miserable rug considered drugs merited me know that's not the gospel that's not repentance.

Of course of reliving an overt cinema living in rebellion were going to church services just as a form of religion to ease our conscience. We should leave feeling worse until we repent and get right with God and and and turn away from that sent but that's what the biblical message of repentance is you say will. I've heard that the Greek word for repentance is much annoy, which just means change of mind and the verb is met on the at which just means change your mind you look at the Greek words.

That's exactly what they're saying we know that the entomological origin where the word comes from is from the words change and mind, and that part of repentance is a change of mind, but you can't just look at entomology you have to look at usage gears with the word comes from.

Here's how the word is used is how the word is used in a certain context. So the word is used in certain cultures here so the word is used in Gentile circles in Jewish circles in religious circles and secular circles.

These are all things that have to be looked at in my field. I got my PhD nurse the languages and literatures from your university really focused on meaning of words. My doctoral dissertation was on the meaning of the Hebrew rough fall. I've written numerous articles for scholarly dictionaries and encyclopedias focusing on the meaning of specific words so I understand how this works and over the years have required a massive library of dictionaries in the original languages and I can tell you universally, biblical scholars, New Testament scholars, when you look at the lexicons when you look at the major dictionary works. They will tell you that the New Testament met meaning of met Mets annoy is not simply a change of mind especially when it's in context of the gospel being preached not you know someone that a change of heart and should on a mission do this, though it is a change of mind and heart and life is an about-face. It is a turning just like the Hebrew concept of repentance is not just sorrow but a turning away from sin and fact that the common phrase. To this day to do repentance is to do teshuvah and Shiva is an about-face, so that's a big problem like a preaching repentance and if you get my book, and the American gospel enterprise which came out in 1989.

That's of that we focused on back then and of course before then preaching before his writing and then fritter the LGBT movement.

Sadly, many are afraid to speak up because you don't want to be branded a bigot homophobe hater where you want all the controversy and we just avoid issues we don't know what to say and then teach about biblical divorce and remarriage with God at study the Scriptures to conviction with the word of God says that address these things I absolutely agree.

Okay this is a long post your soul.

Just let others read that long post, Rebecca. The church is producing passionate people with empty heads love the Jesus they don't know church is a twist in Scripture to calmly thrown bondage make it say what they want to say so that it won't make them uncomfortable. This is very true as well. Again were asking the question what are some of the greatest challenges facing the church today. No, I didn't just say the church in America because on on Facebook and then through YouTube and other means of social media were speaking to people around the world, but I asked this question on Facebook we have followers from around the world as a followers in terms of social media followers so Rebecca's point here is very relevant in America. But not just in America, so in many of our circles, especially our charismatic circles. There is a strong emphasis on passion and really meeting with the Lord and really encountering him in worship, which is wonderful and foundational in biblical and critically important in and meet we must really know him and encountering that living a life changing way, but it's not spirit or mind or or or heart or truth it's it's both its word and spirit his heart and mind. Jesus is the father's longing for it for worship are seeking worshipers who worship him in spirit and in truth, so we must have that passion that love the deep devotion to Lord and we should encounter on some level in worship in the life and power of the Spirit. On the one hand, on the other hand, we fill our minds with biblical truths we learn about who God is, we learn about what he desires what he requires with please assume it displeases him than those things in us, make us strong and healthy. It's not either/or. And yes, we have a terrible habit of of rewriting Scripture to conform to our desires, rather than being conformed by the testimony of Scripture carry says big problem for the churches religion yes so the word religion. Most of our English Bibles occurs only only twice and that's in the book of Jacob James chapter 1 where he says that if you don't bridle your tongue, your religion is in vain and then he says that true religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction to keep oneself unspotted from the world so religion in terms of man's traditions human traditions doing church doing our religious duty.

Going through certain rituals and rights in, and so on.

That can be deadly so not the way Jacob James describes it in the first chapter of his book that's true religion.

That's Gabi. That's a good word, but the negative use of the word, just like you can say he's a politician to be a fair thing yet. He's these is a political leader is a good guy or he's a politician, meaning he shaft and he just does what he can to get votes. Similar religion.

Have a good meeting or bad thing. So carry say in the badly where you sink going through the outward form is sufficient and I see a breaking down of that kind of religion in America, and that there are less and less Americans were professing to be Christians. A drop of about 12% in the last decade, but not all, and it's bad. Some of it is nominal Christians who were just outwardly religious, no longer making that religious connection and those who are truly walking with the Lord are walking with him solidly. Barbara says Bible illiteracy Bible illiteracy is one of the big problems and you notice certain similar themes coming up.

People recognize the same things with that Nikki says twisting Scripture to fit agendas and motion so we do see a lot of this is part of our culture where we have access to so much you just think now you can get on your cell phone more Bible translations than it then existed in in the history of the world until the last few years, but rather cell phone, you can just smoke away something but you just get online whereas adverse about thus and such and probably find it a Freeman halfway close and and and often what happens. I wrote this in 1991 in my book. Whatever happened to the power of God that the more we store the Bible on on our hard drives, the less will store it on our hearts, so there is a certain illiteracy that comes because everything is so instant so accessible to have the ability to dive in and and and deacons were not just stopping and slowing down and working in taking these things and put also, there is not a lot of systematic teaching and some of her church circles. There is more of just kind of a short inspirational message you knows that you go home feeling happy without really working to the Scriptures so I could go home with your family and sit around the table and work through the Scriptures that were being discussed that that's not common in many circles. So yes there is a real Bible illiteracy and yes that is upset often that when it comes to twisting Scripture say when it comes to sexual desire romantic attraction that those who identify school gay Christian is it's fine for them to follow Jesus and be in a committed gay relationship. At the same time that they fall into this trap rather than viewing and interpreting their sexual desires and romantic attractions through the lens of Scripture. Instead, they interpret Scripture through the lens of the romantic desires and their sexual attractions and that is a massive pitfall.

It's a very powerful trap because it is subtle and that's why Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 4. Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces to the very division of soul and spirit, joints, amount it's a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hearts of the word reveals was really a heart and it cuts to the.

The very difference between soul and spirit. There's an emotional realm. It's very powerful with you like I like it like this you have music playing this a certain mood in the room goes said Sabe music and some of someone doing guys whether you sit around the funeral.

Here turn the music off in the atmosphere changes that soul wish right but the realm of the spirit is, is the word of God. The truth of God, which is unchangeable is not affected by emotions and often because we walk more in our emotions and and more influenced by her social surroundings than we do influence by the word of God in the spirit of God and the truth of God that we do rewrite Scripture consciously or unconsciously, to fit our emotions and agendas. Yet these are good observations. Comment on this in the solution system interfaces God were pressed into the real world changer through Jesus.

I will be here on the line of fire with your host Dr. Michael Brown, the voice of more cultural and spiritual revolution of your exam.

Dr. Michael Brown risking the question today. What are some of the greatest challenges facing the church. I put this question out on Facebook a few days ago and got a flood of responses immediately so I'm I'm responding to those not taking your calls today were weighing in on the latest breaking news, but the friends we are called by God to be difference makers. We are called by God to be world changers. What I mean by that is the gospel changes lives in the gospel impacts culture as we follow Jesus as we give ourselves to prayer and fasting. As we share the gospel with those around us as we live godly lives in pushback against the darkness we will see change, no we will not see complete change until Jesus returns.

We we are not going to take over the world and set up a kingdom that would be disastrous. We vote you reliving the Democratic Republic so we vote accordingly and we seek to influence laws in a maybe you get on your local school board that's good for you for your school and it helps the children in your district or or maybe pray a lot for your local leaders. Or maybe write letters urging them to do the right thing, or maybe run for office so we interface with all those things, but our primary means of bring about change is the gospel and and if let's just say you live in a particular city and more and more people in that city come to know the Lord are truly converted and become real disciples then becomes just a very beautiful lovely saying that they have a positive impact hear what you think friends when you think if you lived in a drug infested neighborhood.

A gang infested neighborhood a prostitution infested neighborhood a broken home infested neighborhood you lived in the midst of this in revival broke out and and 25% of the people I community got radically born-again and became genuine disciples and another 25% who had been church going and knew the Lord but were were not really walking actively with him got renewed in their first love you. You don't think that that community would be drastically dramatically overwhelmingly changed. If it wasn't, I would question the reality of those conversions and the reality of those rededication's and in fact even if 10% of the people I community got radically genuinely gloriously born-again. It would have some kind of ripple effect and yes there would be a pushback against the believers. So I'm asking the question what are some of the greatest fronts facing the church, because as we by God's grace align ourselves with the Lord in the word of the great commission, we can be used by God to make a difference in our world.

Zach said greatest problem facing the church today is the apathy of those sitting in the pews. Yeah, it's very easy today that can't be put to sleep that pay bigger issue is what happened in sports bigger issue is what's happening in my job bigger issue is, is what's happening. My kids school bigger issue is gonna redecorate the house bigger issue is just social life bigger issue is entertainment distance are interacting with people and you get so busy in life and running here and there and you do your church thing, but where's the fire where is the passion where's the hunger where's the desire where's the brokenness, where's the burden so that's that's where you go to the Lord and say, hearts cold yet intellectually affirm certain things I say I believe in heaven and hell. I believe people lost without Jesus and but in my heart is not a reality if it was reality and live differently and in whether the issue is, is apathy about abortion or apathy about world missions or apathy about injustice in in your town or neighborhood or over the. The issue is the salvation of the Jewish people.

Whatever it is, there is also a lot of apathy and a lot of the preaching is not geared to to burden us rather lift burdens off so we feel better about life of a it's good to lift the wrong burdens off, but then we want it received God's burden which is made for us as part of her calling a Jennifer's. His biggest problem is universalism and apostasy.

Yet there is a growing trend towards universalism and the idea that one way or another. Everybody gets in everybody say and this is also related to extreme form of hyper grace because extreme forms of hyper grace would say hey look, Jesus said it is finished and there's nothing you can add to it and he died for the whole world there for the whole world is ultimately can be saved and and in my book hyper grace.

I quote authors who believe universalism on the very basis of a hyper grace message and show how it can inevitably lead in that direction. One of my staunchest critics, hyper grace, preacher, staunchest critics on the subject suggest his his message could lead towards universalism if misunderstood, but that's not what he really means well when that's the direction we could easily go logically got a problem there that course apostasy people falling away and and a reason for falling away is because they haven't been rightly grounded and they haven't been strongly discipled.

Another reason is just a lot of hypocrisy and superficiality in the church people see that disappointed dropout, God willing hope to write a book to come out to win somewhere X 2021 yeah on on why people fall away or or what happens when you're losing your faith and have helped people that are struggling to find their way and help those who fall away come back. Mercy says greatest problem is Christians living like nonbelievers push the limits of sin by means of grace. All you of course many of these problems are perennial minis, problems, or problems we've had over the decades over the centuries that the church lives like the world and in Paul's addressing it in the children of Israel were constantly in compromise and instead of coming out being separate they were just living the way the world live so in that respect. This is nothing new, but we do have a tremendous amount of worldliness in the church today and another just about an outward same way you look, the way people dress and think what in church you come to worship God in your showing your body often at what I meant to some of the superficial things like that. But if you look at the life of a born-again believer, in contrast, that that life that lifestyle with concrete typical worldly person, but which I mean, not some crazed wild sinner but just as some artists come in the world and living their lives at lifetimes. You don't see a big difference. What occupies her time. The entertainment that were into the values that our kids grow up with so how are we gonna change the world and the world is changing us of let's see. Raphael says that one of the greatest problems facing the church that is trust."

Christians testimony.

I guess what he saying without further clarification is when we put our trust in superficial testimony, but maybe some woman person not really sure but but hey real testimony, powerful testimony glorifies the Lord and and encourages other believers and is in that sense of strength, not a weakness. Elizabeth says this of the greatest challenges are one all people of the propensity to be hypocritical, but Christians ask a religious and hypocritical. This makes it worse because they do it. Name Lord.

So yes, when we point a moral finger at the world and three moral fingers or painting, pointing back at us because of our failures that that brings reproach to the Lord. It brings reproach to our message.

It makes the world more skeptical because look, even when the world mocks us often mocks us because it expects us to be different gift. Think about that when the world rails against, say, say homosexual priests abusing teen boys and they have every right to rail about that and it's a scandal it's a tragedy for the for those youngsters it's it's a tragedy and even on my Catholic it brings reproach to the larger reputation quote the church and they were Jesus.

It's inevitably going to be associated. But one reason that the world rails is a juror telling us about Holy Spirit tells homosexuality is wrong and here you are doing this they expect us to be different. Alright so you got some well-known TV preacher. When a person falls can. Not only is it their reputation. Everybody that was looking at them in the largest of their platform and now that that one bad apple, or that one person acted on wisely enacting pride and then went send that one person could make tens of millions of others look bad by implication, but people think okay if you get there preaching you should be living differently sore hypocrisy is more costly.

The hypocrisy of your average center lack of scriptural knowledges that come up again. The lack of the Holy Spirit born-again experience.

I always get shocked once and surprised, shocked, what, when I'm talking to someone's profession to be a follower of Jesus, and it seems to be all in their head. It seems to be all stuff that they came to intellectually and they believe this because the creator and the Bible is true, which is wonderful but when you probe more deeply cycle will when did you ever get one again. What kind of relationship together with companies like charismatic issues and speak in tongues and prophecy, and those things with coin in the a fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians 1314 what about your ongoing relationship with God. What about the time when you you knew it or maybe you came to faith your 20 years old. Did you know then that you were born from above that you passed from death to life that the Holy Spirit bore witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, you have a living relationship with God. So, putting aside other aspects of Holy Spirit encounter is a major one as well. All right. Oh let's see here. Stephen competitive holiness and huge egos in the leadership a bunch of people agreed with that interesting yes.

So obviously it is the same as those of us in leadership, public live, such as tension, Jesus not to the line of fire with your host Dr. Michael Brown get into the line of fire now by calling 866-34-TRUTH paradigm is Dr. Michael Brown is rejoining his friends on the line of fire Michael Brown here not taking your calls. Few days ago on Facebook asked the question interview one of the greatest problems facing the church to get flooded with thoughts with responses immediately and and I said I'd be commenting them commenting on your comments this week on the or so. That's what were doing today.

Those just tuning and we spent 1/2 hour looking at lots of interesting observations and comments interacting with them. But in a way that is as practical as possible so you can grow website afterwards. Esther Toronto rescued your brand on working catch the entire broadcast for any part that you missed will be on our YouTube channel as well ask eight DR Brown all right Lena says greatest problem facing the church that is lack of spiritual growth and discipleship and I would say that that is an ongoing problem.

There are certain countries, certain environments when you come to faith gonna be serious if you're not serious, not to make it.

In other words, there's really no such thing as nominal Christianity.

It's just too costly to follow Jesus and and if you are genuinely born again, there is a price to pay. There is a cross to carry an end with that you're in an environment where you your Yukon of taught to swim by being thrown in deep water right so it's it's the same thing with discipleship. Overall, that a casual just kind of sit back cozy approach doesn't produce disciples. There has to be a seriousness in some environments. As I said it, it's brought brought about naturally you can avoid when my friend, this apartment is water baptism's in India. Yes the people being baptized at the end. Are you willing to follow Jesus to to the end to your last drop of blood to your last breath, and then OCS and get baptized and I've never once seen anyone hesitate be there there and it serious and understand the cost of following Jesus. We need to make a more concerted effort here because we have a consumer driven Christianity, we have a what's in it for me type Christianity and then many churches have grown unmet against big churches and Olympic churches that are healthy in the Lord, but many churches have grown by a consumer type approach where they have the best of everything in the summer even famous for their coffee shops in the vestibule of the big church buildings general of itself is not sinful or wrong, but people are coming for that and if they're not really hearing the word and the not really getting plugged in to a discipleship group, a life group or have a close relationship with someone in their being challenged to grow and help to grow they may just be attending and enjoying the coffee and the good music a funny message and what's that could produce. Think of it, think of someone training to be an athlete. I mean you're you're supposed to be able to have something where your your life is to pay out your your your era boxer and and your opponent is training day and night. You know an eight week or 10 week training camp and there get up at five in the morning and they're jogging 15 miles in their rigorously pushing their body and they're working on every single aspect of what they do and they get the ring and in you been like on vacation for 10 weeks. Your your you could die really seriously hurt.

So you lose the match will why do we think in the spiritual realm that we can overcome and we can be strong in the Lord. We can push back powers of darkness from her not disciplined and and being disciplined is part of being disciples. That's definitely a concern market Angel lack of willingness to devote sufficient time to private prayer lack of devotion to deep theology. Certainly, lack of private prayer is a real issue. It's always a challenge in every age. The flesh is going one direction the world is going one direction Holy Spirit's going in a different direction and this is something where it to me it's it's the ultimate spiritual battleground that you stop what you doing and you get a loan and you pray it's much easier to talk to another person to talk to God. I'm not had times I'm worn out and they were just chatting on talk to some on the phone's like what you praying outside too tired to principal was at one too tired to talk with too tired to pray, talk to God what is, is this a spiritual effort involved, reading the word younger read this and facet of this, look at this surfing the web and my look at this, look at that covering the work target. What is not interesting.

So yeah that is always an ongoing issue. Lack of devotion to deep theology. I can agree or maybe not.

I can agree. If you mean really understanding the word and really understanding doctrine digging deep. I would disagree if it meant getting caught up with the I I'm so into Calvinism. I'm so into eschatology I'm selling to whatever the thing is, as opposed really just being into the word it and into loving the Lord so if if I missed any rightly I agree. If you mean something different that I'd say week we can get so caught up with theology re-theology books 10 times when you read the word. When you read the word reading it just about set theological system as opposed to God speak to me through your work teach me who you are.

Teach me how I am to live through your words. Sometimes we can get to theological a manual says one of the great problems facing the church. That is how to read and interpret Scripture.

This is causing divisions among us is that and then Seth says infiltration of false doctrine, so let me address both of these together. Yeah for sure we don't have as good an understanding as past generations recent past generations.

Even in America as to how to interpret Scripture that were not exposed to a lot of expository preaching or expository teaching where you are going through text systematically and opening up and showing how to use it. We we have reacted some against the hyper intellectual approach and you have to go to this seminarian learned this and learned that, and there's no need to be anointed by the spirit and there's no need to be passionate just got you learn these things is how you do it.

We've reacted against that in some circles where it's just, hey I just inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit just teaches me not even need the Bible and that's dangerous stuff member. Here one guy in and he was talking about all of his experiences that gives you the Holy Spirit showing this Jesus appearing and showing in this something that we just use the Bible talk about your experiences and and behalf, which are sender's name agree with the Bible.

I question whether experience is real, preach the Bible preach the word, then infiltration false doctrine. Of course, is going to be infiltration false doctrine when we are not rightly dividing the word, rightly interpreting the word, rightly handling the word I should say this can be infiltration false doctrine were biblically illiterate is going to be infiltration false doctrine. When we put experience of above truths at the same time. This can be infiltration false doctrine that we are are so heady. We know experience God. All these things open the door for false doctrine definitely concerns Donald false judgments made, especially when someone prominent repents and comes to faith in Jesus. I guess what's meant here is the judge mentalism

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