We are warned in 1 Timothy 4:1-2:
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and
things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared
as with a hot iron."
And in 2 Timothy 4:1-4:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing
and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke
and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with
sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say
what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Paul is saying that people will move away from a strict teaching of the gospel and begin to substitute other ideas
in place of the guidelines and directions God gave to us through Jesus Christ, the apostles and the Word (Bible).
These "false teachers" will teach doctrines that are easy to hear and don't cause the congregation to become
uncomfortable with their own sin and failure to do God's will. Moral Relativism will become commonplace and in
order to maintain their revenue, preachers will teach a "feel good" approach to the scripture, where such things
as divorce, adultery, homosexuality, gossip, unwillingness to forgive, strife, jealousy, anger, disputes, and
factions are never discussed. Sermons might as well be a seminar of Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits for Highly
Effective People" (1) with religious words and phrases added for Christian palatability. No longer do many
fellowships ask "what are you willing to do for God" but instead clue in on a feel good "look what God can do for
you" message. They reduce the Creator of the Universe, to a short order cook at the window of a drive through.
They have a "Hello this God, may I take your order, please?" mentality.
In the last ten years, I have seen this move away from basic Christian doctrine. Pastors now have to entertain and
amuse people. Music directors have all but removed traditional Christian music from the service and replaced it
with what I have heard called 7-11 music (the same seven words sung eleven times). Sermons capitalize on two or
three verses instead entire passages. In a nutshell, the dumbing down of society has walked through the door of
This "dumbing down" philosophy and desire not to offend anyone leaves a church fellowship open to the very things
Paul warns us about in first and second Timothy, "for the time will come when men will not put up with sound
doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what
their itching ears want to hear". The desire to accumulate enough revenue for the latest sound system and theatre
lighting for the stage, bigger and better buildings, and a new bus with the church logo on it, will skew all but
the most determined pastors into "softening up" their messages of salvation. They will avoid the social issues
such as homosexuality, adultery, divorce, and other vices that might "hurt someone's feelings" like the plague.
Some denominations take this even further by redefining marriage as being between "two people" instead of between
"a man and a woman". They actively support homosexuality, contrary to true Biblical teaching, even appointing them
as pastors and bishops.
The Bible and its Truths have truly become minimized to the modern, enlightened church's search for something more
"appealing". Something to keep the collection plate dollars rolling in. Something to keep from making people
"feel bad". Something "nicer" then that old fashioned message of sin, salvation and hell.
People are not stupid though. Where Satan closes their eyes to the message of hope from Jesus, he opens their eyes
to the duplicity of the churches. The people realize that instead of being something different from what they see
in the world, churches use the same methods one might use to sell any number of items in a store. "c'mon in, have
a cappuccino and a cafe latte while you sit our multimillion dollar "theatre", I mean sanctuary, and watch our
pastor spin out those words of peace. Everybody grin now".
Sound far-fetched? You may not believe just how true these words are. They are my words, but they represent
actual churches I've seen with my own eyes. Mainstream, supposedly "down to earth" churches. Fallen-away churches?
Maybe not yet, but certainly headed in the right direction.
Time to get back to basics.
Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian Family
1. Copyright Stephen R. Covey, 1989