A Spiritual Pandemic Far Worse Than The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is a greater threat to our world than even the Covid-19 pandemic? It’s a spiritual pandemic.

Pragmatism

One of the greatest threats in the world is not the Covid-19 pandemic. People who are saved can die and still enter the kingdom, but an even worse threat than the Covid-19 pandemic is sweeping the globe, and one of the biggest problems is pragmatism in the church. Pragmatism has crept into the church. Churches have settled for what works best rather than what the Word of God teaches. Churches have grown more pragmatic recently, gearing their church toward what works best for most of the people most of the time. That’s how churches are dealing with the problem of declining attendance. They figure it’s the practical thing to do, but is it? They seek to please the people more than preach biblical truth, which I must agree, sometimes convicts us, but the Word of God is meant to cut us, but it’s done in order to heal us. The church pragmatist thinks, “If this works, it must be best.”

Entertaining the World

Many churches have filled their agendas with so many activities, that families are increasingly coming to church, but it’s not to hear the gospel of repentance and faith which Jesus taught (Mark 1:15). It’s to be entertained. Here are some of the things that churches have actually done or are doing right now: they’ve built bowling alleys, basketball courts, golf courses, horse ranches; and they have treasure hunts, craft clubs, Wii challenge nights, board games, and even thematic family dinners including dramas and musicals. So whatever happened to the gospel? Whatever happened to all the discipleship classes? What about evangelism classes? And what about Bible studies? Those things apparently don’t attract the people of the world, and as a result, many churches have dropped these biblical activities from their church calendars, and churches have become more like social clubs or the YMCA.

Apostasy

The Apostle Paul must have heard from the Holy Spirit that apostasy was coming because he warned Timothy that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim 4:1). Somehow, by God’s Spirt, Paul knew that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim 4:3). Surely anyone can see that this kind of apostasy has increased in these last days, so again, Paul warned Timothy that they “will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim 4:4). Even in Paul’s day there was another gospel being preached, if you could call it that, so Paul says as strongly as he can put it, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8-9).

A Different Gospel

We’ve seen that there were already counterfeit gospels in Paul’s day. He tried to warn Timothy, Titus, and the church at Corinth, but they were already at work during Paul’s missionary trips. False gospels include extremes on both sides; works galore, or no works at all. Both are contrary to the gospel of grace, which shows we’re not saved by works but saved to do works (Eph 2:8-10). On one side were the Judaizers who were emphasizing the Law and circumcision. The other extreme were those who believe once they’re saved, that’s it. They come as they are but they stay as they are, even after conversion, but that’s not saving faith (James 2:14). They are supposed to be set apart as new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).

Half a Gospel

When Jesus came to save those who would trust in Him He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), so it’s more than just believing in Jesus; it is to be living for Jesus. The gospel also includes repentance, and if what is being preached at your church does not include the need for repentance and faith, you’ve only got half the gospel, and if you’ve only got half a gospel, you have no gospel at all. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that “if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (2 Cor 11:4). Hopefully, we won’t put up with it, especially, “readily enough.” One pastor said that repentance and faith are the two wings that fly us into the kingdom. That faith of course is in Jesus Christ.

Hungering for the Word

There should also be discipleship classes, courses on biblical evangelism, Bible studies, and Sunday school. These are essential to any church’s growth; spiritual or otherwise. Verse by verse preaching should be enough to convict those in the congregation who are sinning or those who have never came to trust in Christ. God’s Word should humble us and we should hunger and thirst for it, just as the psalmist did (Psalm 63:1). It is such an amazing blessing being in the Word. We should hunger for that every day more than “activities.” Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt 5:6).

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch (Pubic Domain).

Conclusion

A spiritual pandemic is sweeping the globe. Churches have toned down the message of hell, the need for repentance, and God’s desire for us to grow in holiness. Instead, churches seek to please the world so that the world will come to them, but alas, it’s for all the wrong reasons. Every church should have regular biblical teaching and verse by verse preaching, because if the Word if taught verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, the Scripture will always be in context, and that prevents doctrinal misunderstandings. The church needs the Word of God full strength. Only then will it have the effect it’s intended to have (Isaiah 55:11).

Here is some related reading for you: How Can Christians Recognize Apostasy?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelly Starkey July 21, 2020 at 9:00 pm

Jack – Truth. The Word could be the ‘vaccine’ that the world needs to cure all its ills. #NeedJesus

Reply

Jack Wellman July 21, 2020 at 9:20 pm

Exactly true. Thank you so much Shelly. Jesus is the only cure this world has.

Reply

Sheryl July 21, 2020 at 11:11 pm

Right on point!

Reply

Tracy July 23, 2020 at 4:36 am

Pastor Jack, thank you for a well written article ‘on point’ to exactly what we see in our society today. Evil has exploded in every aspect of our lives. Jesus Christ along with the Bible is the only way to salvation. From cover to cover of the written Word, nothing added nor taken out is what we need.

Thank You

Reply

Jack Wellman July 23, 2020 at 10:10 am

Hello Tracy and I appreciate your kind words. So true about evil exploding but thank God we are secure in Christ.

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