Here is an email from one of our faithful readers in the U.S.:
Dear Christian Holiness Daily,
I have seen a decline in holiness preaching over the past 30 years. There is very little emphasis placed on how the Holy Spirit works in our lives in empowering us to live above sin. The church we attend now is wonderful but I think there has only been one time that I have heard the word sanctification, sin, salvation, saved, holiness, or Holy Spirit over the last year! This is not an exaggeration. In years gone by, every Sunday morning service ended with an open altar.
The changes I’ve seen seem to be pulling our denomination away from its roots in the message of holiness. The preachers who used to preach holiness are either retired or passed away. The younger ones ‘teach’ but don’t preach. I guess they each have their own style, but I feel like I’m attending a college pep rally followed by a college seminar on generalized topics. Sorry if this sounds like I’m complaining or ranting. I’m just really concerned.
Do you see the same things in your church?
Here is what we’d like her to know:
Dear Southern Gal,
I am fortunate that I go to a church where the pastor still preaches holiness. But, your letter actually addresses two very important and timely issues, and I see a third issue that stems from those two. Your first question is, do I see many pastors abandoning the message of holiness. Your second question is, do I see many pastors that still “preach?”
Like you, I see a great number of pastors and evangelists who no longer preach that Christians can draw on the power of the Holy Spirit to live above sin. I’m sad to say that I am not surprise that you rarely hear the doctrine of holiness preached in your church.
I, too, see a great number of ministers whose priority seems to be to entertain their congregations. God’s Word seems to come in second place behind professional performances. Some ministers, it seems, would rather rely on talent than the Spirit. They would rather appeal to the congregation’s egos and emotions than their hearts. As you adeptly word it, they would rather give a “pep rally” than an altar call. Because of this trend (and many others), many believers – including myself – fear that the Church in America may soon be unrecognizable.
This is the third issue I see in your letter: Is there hope for the Church in America?
Honestly, I don’t know. I fear that the Church in America has been marginalized so much, and has so forgotten what it means to be a Christian, that its immediate future seems relegated to a cultural minority, devoid of spiritual power. America’s only hope is a true revival on a national level, and soon.
Here, though, is the hope for the Church found within the tragedy. From what I see and hear from my readers, the decline of Christianity is limited to parts of the western world. I hear of revivals and growth in India, Pakistan, and Malaysia. The church is strong in the Philippines, Nigeria, Argentina, Columbia, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East. The Church in America may be in decline, but it is on the rise elsewhere.
Fear Not. The Christian Church will never die, for God always has a people. The Church is alive and well.
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