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The Kingdom of God is NOT a Reality Show

As I have stated in past blog posts, Christianity in this country has fallen into the grip and influence of Hollywood. We live in an age of celebrity preachers and very large churches that look and operate more like corporations than the temples where people are taught the unadulterated Word of God. The church at large no longer seems to be a place where people are delivered and set free from strongholds and bondages. It has become more like a place where people can come and be entertained with great music and charismatic sermons that are not designed to convict people of their sin. Not to mention, the word REPENT no longer appears to be a part of the church vernacular. People flock to churches because of the status of a preacher, especially if he is on TV or hobnobs with celebrities and professional athletes. And don’t let him be handsome or have an excessive amount of charisma.

So now it’s almost like the church has become no different from an exclusive social club where people are clamoring for attention and status. Yes, the church as I knew growing up no longer exists. Most of the churches that exist in this country are not changing the communities around them. Actually, it appears to be vice versa. For example, I get angry when I think about how most churches (especially black churches) lack ministries that cater to sexual abuse and brokenness. It makes me mad that I live in the metropolitan city that has the highest occurrence of sex trafficking, yet there are hundreds, even thousands of churches all over the place! What exactly are they doing?! It also pains me to see so few churches who are actively involved in rectifying this issue, as well as many others. Granted, I know that I might sound presumptuous, but I believe the fruit speaks for itself. I believe the community and surrounding areas would be a very different if the church was truly operating the way God intended. Now I do want to emphasize that I am talking about the American church collectively because I know that there are still true places of worship that are led by leaders who sincerely shepherd the flock that has been entrusted to them.

So why am I mentioning this? Well, after watching the first episode of “Preachers of L.A.,” I can fully understand why the American church has become an entity to be mocked and even hated. This new reality show profiles pastors who oversee fairly large congregations and who live lives full of luxury. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that a church leader shouldn’t be financially prosperous, but why do their riches have to be paraded before the entire world? Shouldn’t there be some modesty and humility on their part, considering that they are the ones who are setting the example? I’m sure that just about all of us have the heard the scripture that says we can’t serve God and mammon, but these pastors are trying to and it surely is not working. Aren’t these leaders supposedly trying to model their character after the One who never owned a mansion or had money? As a matter of fact, the Word explicitly states that church leaders cannot be greedy for money. (See Titus 1:7, I Timonthy 3:3 and 3:8) I can only wonder what people across the nation were thinking when they saw the mansions, luxury cars, expensive suits and Rolex watches that these “men of God” sported. I wonder how many people in their congregations are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, and the number of the families in their churches that are headed by single mothers wouldn’t surprise me either. From what I can see, this show only gave unbelievers more ammunition to justify the reasons why they don’t believe in God or attend church. I bet you that the salaries these preachers are being paid from the show blinded them to the fact that “reality television” is always edited for the purpose of obtaining higher ratings. Did they not consider that their arguments and disagreements would always be highlighted because of people’s addiction to drama? The exchange between some of them towards the end of the episode was no different than what one would see on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and all the other ridiculous reality shows that pollute the channels on television. Oh and did I tell you that five out of the six preachers are Black American? Yeah, you already know the deal… Stereotypes, stereotypes and more stereotypes… Did they not consider that their homes and luxuries would be on display just like on that show “MTV Cribs” or any other shows that feature lifestyles of the rich and famous? Seeing Bishop Clarence McClendon’s mansion was the perfect proof that this show is exalting these pastors; not the Heavenly Father. Did it ever cross their minds that people would get the wrong idea about Christianity and the church? The last time I checked, Jesus Christ did not die so that we could become celebrities or be rich. He died so that we may have the chance to be in eternity with Him.

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Now I do want to point out that I could respect the fact that one of the preachers goes back to his old neighborhood to win souls into the Kingdom. I respect the fact that he puts himself in harm’s way to minister to gang bangers. However, when he was able to get them to a gospel concert, something really disappointing and telling happened. This preacher summoned the men who were in gangs up to the stage during the altar call in order to lead them in a prayer for their salvation. Meanwhile, Deitrick Haddon (Award winning Gospel singer and one of the preachers) tapped him on the shoulder and told him he only had five minutes for the altar call. So in other words, his concert was more important than the eternal fate of these men’s souls. He needed to be on stage and the fact that these men were confessing Jesus Christ as their lord and savior was an inconvenience to him. But hey, this is what the church at large has been reduced to… People aren’t rejoicing and shouting over souls being saved. They’re getting hyped over the belief that their present sinful conditions are covered by grace and that they don’t have to change. They’re shouting over the fantasy that some extravagant, grandeur blessing is going to fall out of the sky because of the fact that they are manipulated into giving all their money to the church.

So for those who are defending this show, I challenge you to really do some soul searching and ask God if this show is truly honoring Him. If you believe so, then why is all the attention on the preachers and their personal lives? Why is the focus on their drama, their issues, their arguments, their families, etc..? Where is the focus on ministry??? Why is so much attention paid to their material possessions? Come on folks, it is time to put away the foolishness and get real! It is time for the REMNANT to rise up and spark a revival in this nation! It is time to distinguish the wheat from the tare. It is time to expose the spirit of Hollywood that has infiltrated the church. It is time to pray! Oh and no, I will not be patronizing this show, flooding my eye gates and ear gates with only a form of godliness. I need the real deal. The times are to crucial for me to risk being DECEIVED.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Spirituality

 

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Divide and Conquer

Mark 3:24-25 says “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” NKJV

We are living in probably the most turbulent of times in this country since the Civil Rights era. That era along with the Civil War are the only times I can think where this country was more divided. With the election looming next week, all the rhetoric is prevalent in all of the media outlets as we wait to see who will be the Commander-in-Chief of this country for the next four years. However, I don’t intend to write specifically about the election or about the division of this country. I intend to write about the division of the CHURCH.

Now considering politics, evangelical Christians and fellow believers have traditionally supported the Republican Party politically and this continues today. However, there are other believers, especially minorities who have supported the Democratic Party. On the surface, it might appear that one party represents Christianity more than the other. But when I look at the BIGGER picture, I just don’t see it. We also have to keep in mind that politics is just that: politics. There are so many hidden agendas behind things that seem “good” and there is so much corruption in the political world that I don’t see how any believer can devote themselves to either party. Contrary to popular belief, neither party has, or ever will uphold the standards of God. There are other issues besides gay marriage and abortion folks! Also, I believe actions and attitudes speak much louder than mere words and political talking points, even if it does involve a little Christianese. So I bring all of this up because in the past couple of elections I have heard so much rhetoric about how “true Christians” would vote for a certain candidate and/or political party. Even now when I look on social media outlets and even hear televangelists speak, people are now willing to question or even doubt another’s salvation or “level of faith” based upon whom they chose to vote for! This should not be! I understand that iron sharpens iron but this clearly is not it! It is tragic for people to actually believe that others are “tares” and not wheat solely based upon which candidate they choose to support. I believe that we all need to realize that embracing this mentality is falling right into the enemy’s plan of division amongst the body. True enough the Word specifically talks about the separation of the wheat and the tare, but basing this upon a man-made political ideology is way off base and irresponsible at best. We are fighting each over this mess forgetting that no true politician can be godly! There are always going to be gaps in ethics according the ways of God because of the inherent nature of politics… and capitalism. If there are any godly politicians, they will likely have a very short career. But of course, we have allowed political smoke and mirrors to cloud our vision of unity in the body.

The enemy also has the church engaged in cultural wars. Whether it is the style of the worship arts (mainly music) or the style of preaching that occurs in the pulpit, Christians are fighting over what style or culture they believe is more pleasing to the Lord. Instead of working together and adopting a “Kingdom mindset,” there is more interest in who is right and who is wrong. Instead of understanding that God made us all uniquely and appreciating the beauty who each person is called to be, we are willing to tear each other down and isolate from people who don’t do “church” or “ministry” the way that we might prefer. So it is not a big surprise that it seems more rare to see churches working together to help manifest the Kingdom of God in the earth. I have heard so many instances where churches have made the effort to be multi-cultural only to backfire because people only want to do “church” and ministry according to their familiar traditions. Sadly, many folks are still only comfortable worshipping with people that look like themselves. Yes, even in 2012, Sunday mornings are still the most segregated day of the week in the great old USA. Just recently, I read an article about racism in the church in an online Christian magazine. The blog comments below the article were shocking and left me a bit dismayed. They were the exact type of comments one would see on any of the major news network sites. I became angry as I read comments stating that certain races were “cursed” and others revolving around “reverse racism” and affirmative action. In other the words, the comments were WORLDLY even though we are supposed to be set apart. I believe the Heavenly Father is going to augment the issue of RACISM in the body and bring it to the forefront so that the bride can be healed from this sickness.

In these last days there is also a spirit of discord amongst the brethren. I have witnessed at least 4-5 church splits just in the last fifteen years in the city where I went to high school and college. And even some of the churches resulting from the initial splits have had their splits as well! Now there are a few small churches in the western side of this particular city that are doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! And this is all because of folks who want to be “right” and leaders who ultimately don’t follow the Holy Spirit. It seems like everyone has an agenda! What is wrong with us? I guess I would have to write a book to answer that question but ultimately it can be narrowed down to a short list:

  • Arrogant, prideful and greedy leaders who want to be worshipped and believe they can do no wrong (See II Timothy 3:2-5)
  • Competition amongst ministries, leaders and members within the church
  • Gossip and slander
  • Churches operating like businesses, corporations and places of entertainment
  • Lack of the Kingdom mindset
  • Worldliness in the church
  • Immature believers who carry a spirit of discord and who are unwilling to grow spiritually – See Proverbs 6
  • Holiness is no longer right

I have seen so much garbage play out in the church it is not even funny. Oh, and let’s not forget about scandals that end up in the mainstream media.

I believe maybe one of the core issues is that the brethren are still unsure about their value to the Kingdom and the beauty of their unique purpose. As a result, their insecurities cause so much drama within the church! There are so many individuals who are operating way out of their purpose with the church structure and body! I Corinthians 12:12-25 talks about the different parts of the body and how they must operate as intended in order for the body to function as a whole. Paul stated in Colossians 3:12-13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

I Corinthians 1:10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

I hope that we modern day believers can follow this example. I hope that we can become the real church, the real bride that will rock this world to its core! But I think we have a long ways to go… Right now those outside of the faith are mocking and scoffing at the church because it hasn’t shown them anything different. The church lacks power, authority and influence due largely in part to the divide that exists within it. But right now the enemy and his minions are having a field day with the church! They are laughing and using the lack of unity to further the kingdom of darkness! Souls are hanging between heaven and hell, yet we’re fighting over who leads the praise team. A plethora of social ills exists in society, but we’re too busy fighting over theology (denominations = division) to address any of them or at least be of influence. The church should be an example of people loving one other and the cultures being reconciled, but racism and prejudice is just as real in the body of Christ as it is in the world. When does it ever end?

On a more positive note, I acknowledge that there is a remnant of churches in this nation that are spirit-filled and bearing much fruit. There are churches and leaders who are DESPERATE to see the lives of the people change and for the harvest to be brought into the Kingdom. They are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom. There are no perfect churches or leaders; however, the focus should be on the Kingdom. The focus should be on people being saved, healed and edified. So can we stop all of the useless fighting? Can we sucker-punch the devil and his minions by operating in a spirit of unity and love? I sure hope so…

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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