Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. -- 1Corinthians 15:1-2 (ESV)
If one reads the bible with any frequency and has the indwelt Holy Spirit it will soon become evident that we are living through what the bible teaches are the end times. The love of most has grown cold. The birth pains of a groaning planet are coming more frequently. We are witnessing the great falling away, or apostasy. The sad truth is the majority of the people with microphones in one hand and a bible in the other are part of the apostate church. This bastardized version of the body of Christ tries to talk the talk and walk the walk but discernment reveals the truth. This is important to realize beloved because while God makes things easy; man makes them much harder. The cult of personality, mega church, purpose driven mindset has led so many astray to a powerless gospel that cannot save anyone. A watered down, sugared up, prosperity driven, greedy knock-off of the real Gospel. This should not be of any great surprise as the bible speaks in many instances about these matters. In Matthew 7 we see people lined up to stand before Christ at the final judgment only to discover after a lifetime of believing they were serving Him that He actually never knew them. We see the threats that should any man present any other gospel that they should be accursed! We also have the key verses today that remind us that it is entirely possible to believe in vain. To have the appearance of piety and the machinations of religion but for all of it to be useless, vanity.
We write all the time about false teachers and sometimes it becomes a lesson in the abstract instead of being personal. We fail to realize that for every story of false teaching there are countless victims. Sheep who leave the pen, never to return. Goats who think they are sheep, never pursuing salvation again. They are apart from Christ yet united by their singular desire to never set foot in a church again. With this backdrop I present Michael and Lisa Gungor. They lived a storybook Christian life. Michael was a pastor's kid, raised in church. A product of the church just like his wife to be Lisa. She also grew up in church. They met in Bible College. They got a dream Christian job at a mega-church in Michigan where their music ministry began to spread professionally. They won Dove awards and Grammy nominations. They were the toast of the evangelical world. A few years later they were out of church and Michael even became an atheist at one point. He began publicly challenging the veracity of the bible, drawing the ire from the people he once shared the pew with. To this day they remain outside of the faith and Lisa is coming out with a new book, for which she did a promo video linked above. I just want to go through some of it so we can see the damage that heresy has as we examine a true victim of the apostate church.
"In order to be in the tribe you have to conform to it and if you have doubts you are a dangerous person." -- Lisa Gungor
Lisa is 100% correct in this assessment of modern churchianity. Questions are greeted with faithless platitudes within the church. I remember once a man posted on Joel Osteen's page that he was confused why his house was going to be padlocked by the local sheriff in 10 days. He was confused because he said he always did what pastor Joel said, tithed faithfully and yet here it was. The responses from his followers were a vapid mess of word faith heresy. You just have to have faith! Speak the money you need into existence! The cold hard reality is we all fancy ourselves as being filled with faith until our lives demands it and then we find out we have questions. Beloved, there is nothing wrong with having questions. Why does God allow suffering? Why is my house being foreclosed? Why am I struggling? These are opportunities to develop deeper faith and the church squanders them by blaming the questioner. By asserting that they must not have the requisite faith. What is at the heart of this confusion? False teaching! Beloved you must understand that when your gospel is nothing but hearts and rainbows you set people up for confusion on stormy days. If all your worship is centered on man, whether you be a friend of God or the head and not the tail, then you understand less and less about whom God is supposed to be. Think I am overstating? Michael Gungor actually co-wrote Friend of God with Israel Houghton.
"How many of these leaders of mega churches fall because the pressure is too much?" -- Lisa Gungor
That is a very fair question but it misses the point of the real problem. It is not that the job does not have pressures but rather that man has usurped the role of God and that is why he cannot tolerate the pressure. He was never meant to. If you read Acts Chapter Two, you see the design God had for the church. The people studied the Word, held communion and fellowshipped. The leaders were responsible for the vertical growth of the sheep. That's right, the church was built to feed the sheep, not entertain goats. The horizontal growth of the church was the responsibility of God. He sees to how many are added each day, not man. The purpose driven church flips all of this on its ear. Suddenly the church must cater to the unsaved, despite the bible teaching us the things of God are foolishness to them. The pastor is now the vision caster whose job it is moves from growing the sheep to growing the church. He is encouraged to commit the sin of Lucifer and ascend to the throne of the Most High. So is it any wonder that so many fall? They are trying to do God's job!