ENTITLEMENT AND ESCAPISM

Something is coming and the church is not ready. In recent days God has been trying to warn the American church about what is coming, but, what have we done with these warnings?

I heard one preacher exclaim, “Teaching that anything bad is coming, is defeatism.” He refused to give his children a defeatist world view. What he thinks is love is the ultimate abuse. His children will not be ready.

It’s not as if God hasn’t warned the American church that perilous times are coming. One choice instrument was David Wilkerson. Many listened to his predictions, but many others wrote him off as an angry prophet.

I dare you to reread his words, go back and watch his videos, they are still on YouTube. David will come across completely different to you now. Now that libraries are bringing in drag queens to read to children. Now that abortion is no longer just a ‘right,’ but a cause for celebration. Now that our halls of power are sewers of falsehood, betrayal, ambition, greed, and lust, and now that the very fabric of civilized society is unraveling.

I dare you to call him legalistic, now that you can see that exactly what he predicted is happening.  Now that you see churches have abandoned the Bible.  Now that every day you hear of one more minister condoning materialism and promoting a ‘cheap grace’ that covers lust. Disdaining holiness and denying the existence of Hell. Just as he predicted, there is an epidemic of preachers who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

Our young daughters have unwelcome transgender visitors in the girl’s restroom at school.  We are a nation of drug addicts. Tens of thousands die every year from opioids.

The bane of Modern Christianity can be summed up in just 2 words: Entitlement and Escapism.

Go back with me to a time before all this madness, and see when a sense of entitlement began to infect the church.

No one got saved in the early church because they were promised a lavish life. Each convert knew from the jump they would pay a price for following Jesus. They embraced Christ because something real happened to them. They knew—beyond knowing—that He was the Truth and the Life.  Knowing Him was infinitely worth the cost. All they wanted was Jesus.

It is ironic that we tend to feel sorry for them, when in fact they would pity us! Yes, they were persecuted, but God was real in them. Their clarity unlocked something most of us do not have: inexpressible peace and joy.

Entitlement rolled into church like a Trojan horse. Certain preachers, like all good marketers, considered true discipleship a hard sell, so they replaced it with perks, inducements and flattery. Church became one giant participation trophy. The unspoken boast was, “What have we to do with self-denial? What have we to prepare for?” We as American Christians became too good for suffering. That was for other people, in other nations.

What edge did believers in the first century have over us? A massive one. They could survive anything that they encountered, whereas many today will be taken out the moment something happens that their pastor said God would never let happen.

Since ancient Christians expected to suffer, suffering never threw them for a loop. It never dawned on them that they would escape trials and tribulations. Because of that, they had a singular power that we don’t: the power to glory and thrive in evil times.  Compare that with today’s Christian whose idea of spiritual warfare is claiming a parking space.

This is the person Jesus warned us about in Matthew 13:20, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

The shocking thing will not just be how many entitled believers will stumble, but how little it will take to make them stumble.

Now let’s talk about escapism. The world that vessels like Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Steve Hill, and yes, David Wilkerson warned us about is here. The world that your favorite pulpit babysitter promised would never come—came anyway.

We didn’t escape. We have already witnessed this mass tragedy. Life has taken a turn in these United States that many churchgoers never believed could or would happen. There has been a falling away: because so many were ignorant, so many were offended.

Even many of the Christians who remained faithful, express their escapist denial in many ways. Instead of searching the scriptures for truth, they delve even deeper into teachings that now look silly. They want more materialism; they want more entitlement; they plunge into more false teachings and false ways. They go heavier into emotionalism. Their escapism is expressed in a sanctimonious tone, and then they lie about their reasons for believing they will escape all suffering.  They say we must stay out of politics and not choose sides, even as it has become undeniable that we must take a stand. Instead, they bury their head in the sand and are oblivious as evil takes away our freedom and our children’s future.

Escapism is what gives them a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. Denial is why they imitate New Age teachings and make prophecy into a kind of game.But David Wilkerson also saw something else: A fresh and mighty move of the Spirit. He saw Jesus pulling people aside to enter into a close relationship with Him, and to instill in them the power needed to save this nation.  He said, “God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth. God is going to shake everything that can be shaken. He will tear down the old political, backslidden, ecclesiastical system. He will disown the formal, super-church structure. He will chase out of His presence all those who are engaging in self-promoting ministries.”

Many will fall, but many will rise to levels of power and usefulness that are astounding. God not only knew the insanity of today was coming—He took steps to prepare a special relationship that would produce special powers in His Children.  You already know who you are.

God is taking you aside to give you nation-saving power and skills. All glory to His Name!

 

HOW THEY GOT IT SO WRONG

Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham who, to the best of my knowledge, never supported same sex marriage, abortion, or Barack Obama for President.  More on this in a moment.

First the big news:

There’s a big noise because the editor of Christianity Today, a prominent evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham, called for President Donald Trump to be removed from office in an editorial published Thursday.

Mark Galli, the magazine’s editor in chief, wrote that “the facts in this instance are unambiguous.” His editorial was entitled, “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.”

He continued, “The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Before you panic and think something devastating has happened, let’s review the history of Christianity Today and take a look at some of the other things they wrote and see how consistent they are about immorality.

In a piece they published in 2012, they chastised the church for doubting Barak Obama’s Christianity. They even called the article “Our Evangelical in Chief.”

Stating, “That the true religious identity of the world’s most famous, most powerful man could remain a mystery to so many is itself a mystery. Before and especially during his presidency, Obama has been extraordinarily open on matters of faith, providing ample evidence for his repeated claim to be a devout Christian. The evidence may even suggest Obama is our evangelical-in-chief.”1

The article even questioned why we would prefer the Republican candidate over Obama, since Obama’s beliefs were closer to ours than Romney’s.

“While there are plenty of legitimate policy reasons that evangelicals might support Governor Romney, their willingness to overlook their desire for a coreligionist candidate may also have at least something to do with the fact that 24% of them—higher than any other religious group—believe Obama is a Muslim, and even more are unaware (or unconvinced?) he’s a Protestant. What if more evangelicals knew Obama largely shares their religious beliefs?”1

Then there was the article by Ed Stetzer making the case for voting for Hillary Clinton. First they promote Obama and then Hillary. The following includes the most disturbing justification for being Christian and being okay with abortion from Deborah Fikes then leader of the The World Evangelical Alliance, presented in Christianity Today.

Stetzer wrote, “Two weeks ago, Deborah Fikes offered her endorsement of Hillary Clinton as part of a series of endorsements of major and minor party candidates. I also asked the major party endorsers to come back and answer questions and respond to objections often surfaced by Evangelicals.”2

Here is an excerpt of Ms. Fikes’s original endorsement:

“My recent resignations from evangelical leadership positions to endorse Hillary Clinton speaks volumes of how important I believe it is that she is elected in November. The toxic tone and atmosphere that surrounds Mr. Trump and is fueled among his supporters has done irreparable damage to not only our country and the future of the GOP but also to the public witness of evangelicals in America who are seen as some of his biggest supporters.”

On abortion: “As a mother, it is difficult for me to think about this from the unborn baby’s perspective but I have even more compassion when I think about the women who have abortions. Maybe this is because I envision the unborn babies being welcomed into the arms of Jesus but when I think about the mother, I think of the burden she may carry for the rest of her life.”2

Ms Fikes salves her conscience imagining that the baby—who can feel pain as they are dismembered—is okay because they end up in the arms of Jesus.  Furthermore, that is preferred to…and this is her definition of a child which is: “the burden she may carry for the rest of her life.” Why would a Christian publication try to find a rosy side to abortion? And why say it in such an inelegant way?

The most maddening part is that this magazine still claims a connection to Billy Graham, who preached against everything they are condoning. Small wonder that Franklin Graham repudiated this article in Christianity Today.

Please don’t waste one minute worrying that this attempted broadside against an innocent man will damage our righteous cause. Instead, stick your finger in a glass of water. Then pull your finger out and see how long the hole lasts. That’s how long the suggestion put forth by this post-Christian magazine, calling for the impeachment of President Trump, will last…

 

1 Barack Obama: Evangelical-in-Chief? How Christians might think about the President’s faith. Christianity Today, JUDD BIRDSALL, JUNE 21, 2012.

2Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Follow Up w/ Deborah Fikes on Why She Supports Clinton Despite Clinton’s Views on Abortion, Marriage, & Religious Liberty,  ED STETZER.

AMERICA LOVED PREACHERS

By Mario Murillo. A funny thing happened when celebrity preachers tried to get America to like them: America ended up hating them.

I am writing this with deep love for, and loyalty to, the local church. There is no desire to take a cheap shot at anyone, or to cause division within the church.  I have to write this, because love does not lie or withhold needed correction.

America has abandoned God, Christian values, as well as Israel, and our nation is racing toward disaster.  Evil festers when good men do nothing.  Denying it will not change it or make it go away.  Its effect on you and those you love will not be stopped by delusional teachings of spiritual entitlement.

So how do we turn the American Church around?  That is the question I posed in a previous post.  Now I continue to answer that burning question by saying this:  in order to turn the church around we must face the fact that America liked us better, back when we told the truth.

Here is an illustration from the Bible.  Jonah ran from his calling. Then God sent a great storm.  The captain of the ship that Jonah boarded in his flight from God had a gut feeling that Someone was angry about something. When they found Jonah asleep, they asked him, “Who are you?”   When he admitted he was a runaway prophet, Jonah 1:10 tells us, “Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘Why have you done this?’ For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”

Americans feel a psychical resentment toward the church.  I say psychical, because it is intuitive and subconscious.  They really cannot explain why they are angry with us. They may claim it is our politics, or falsely accuse us of racism, or even rightly point out our flaws, yet this present dislike of the church stems from something much deeper.  They are asking us, as those men long ago asked Jonah, “Why have you done this?”

When the outside world observes our ‘illustrated-electronic-happy-talks’ they get a gut feeling that we are hiding something.   They also suspect that our nation’s storm, similar to that of Jonah’s time, is partly because preachers are not confronting sin anymore.  As one non-Christian pundit put it, “If there was more hell in the pulpit, there would be less hell in the ghetto.”

At this point in our national disaster, a mega-church is like having a great party going on on the deck of the Titanic—you may be having a great time, but you will not save America from the frigid angry ocean.

Here is the real rub…if numbers matter so much to our mega-churches, then why are we ignoring the most important statistic: overall church attendance in America has fallen dramatically?

They liked us better, when we were not trying to be liked.  There was a day when men of God stood in pulpits as free men.  They were free of any need to be liked or successful.  A. W. Tozer said, “These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.  They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.”

We are impressed by churches that can draw 15,000 people.  But that is nothing compared to back in the day when America liked us better…a whole lot better.

Look at the picture of Billy Graham in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1963.  120,000 are inside, and another 30,000, could not get in.  On the scoreboard it says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.  No man comes unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6).   Not one person was offered a visitors gift bag filled with CDs.  No one was in the dark about the purpose of the meeting.  Billy stood there and simply told them that they had to come to Christ or be lost for all eternity.

Look at this picture below of Billy preaching in Times Square in New York City.  We cannot even imagine any of this happening today.

When Billy prayed for sermons he focused on hearing what the Holy Spirit wanted him to say.  He wanted a message that God could use, and not words that would dazzle the audience.  When Billy was in the pulpit, he completely died to his private opinions.  He got out of the way, so that the Holy Spirit could work on the audience.

We bought into the lie that if we ‘made nice,’ and took out the scary parts of our message, we would be liked, but we ended up more despised than ever.

“He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)

Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas said, “Jesus did confront his culture with truth—and He ended up being crucified because of it.  I believe it’s time for pastors to say, you know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for Truth regardless of what happens.”

They may not like us for telling them the truth, but they will at least hear the Truth!

World Changing Faith

TO BEGIN WITH, I BELIEVE SOMEONE WILL READ THIS AND CHANGE THE WORLD-Mario Murillo

How did we lose world changing faith? We lost it because our culture disparages greatness, audacity, courage, originality, and heroism.  Our children are barraged with messages of defeat and limitations.  Worse yet, they are told that wanting to excel might hurt someone else’s feelings.

The curse of so many of today’s educators is that they have trained this generation to believe that they are to do just enough to get by.  Instead of going for brilliance and creativity, many are conditioned to harp, whine, and have a temper tantrum against the unfairness of the world.

“Besides,” their teachers say, “you can’t change the world.”  Teachers themselves believe this ideology makes the world safer.  Seneca had it right when he said, “It is not because the times are dangerous that men do not dare, it is because men do not dare that the times are dangerous.”

Small people with small minds mold the future.  You can be sure that if small men cast large shadows, it means the sun is about to set.  Is there anything we can do to push back the approaching darkness?  Where are the world-changers?

Tragically, the lie that you can’t change the world also permeates Christian Colleges.  Christian leaders are being trained not to offend. They are studying what to leave out of their preaching.  Their professors serve a smaller God than the One we used to hear about in church—the God of the Bible. They graduate with self doubt instead of world changing faith.

Billy Graham and Oral Roberts.  Astonishingly, some will not know the two men in the picture.  They changed the world.  Billy Graham preached to more people, face to face and on television, than any other man in history.  Oral Roberts brought divine healing to his generation.

How bad is our defeatism?  When Billy Graham died, some notable leaders called it “the end of God’s protection.”  Others said, “We will never see another one like him.”

I rebuke both of those statements.  And it is not just me. All of human history rebukes such pallid words—and nothing in the Bible supports them, either. Frankly, the doubting church doesn’t need another soothing sermon. It needs a swift kick!

The promises of God and the power of God to change the world are still in force. Billy Graham and Oral Roberts would be horrified to hear us either make monuments of them or call them relics of a past era.  Their testimony should be a catalyst for God to do it again!

This promise is not just for men either!  Joel: 2:28 says, “I will pour out of my Spirit on your sons and daughters and they will prophesy…”  And no one is too old…”your old men shall dream dreams.”

Are these times so evil that we can’t break the gravitational force of wickedness?  No one has the right to tell God what He can or cannot do.  There is no devil, demagogue, or disaster too big for God.   

You could listen to doomsayers—those who morbidly hope for all hell to break loose—or you can seize the Word of God the way that Billy and Oral did.

Here are three timeless truths about world-changers:

1. World-changers appear when things look impossible. The same voices of doubt and despair were present at the dawn of Billy and Oral’s ministries.  There was no money available to them to do what they wanted to do.  There was no supporting faith surrounding their visions.  They were constantly being second guessed by those who were full of unbelief.

It was not until they cast themselves utterly on God that their breakthroughs came.

When Esther appeared, the Jews seemed hopelessly doomed.  Mordecai spoke these immortal words to her: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

2. World-changers know when to go it alone. God kept telling Gideon to shrink his army—not enlarge it.   It was only after he won an astonishing victory that the other tribes found out and got offended. “Now the men of Ephraim said to him, ‘Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?’ And they reprimanded him sharply.” (Judges 8:1)

The vision of the Lord is always too big for the church. True visions from God will always be too big for any one church or denomination.  Both Billy Graham and Oral Roberts had to follow God, and let the church come along later.  If you wait for approval, you will never begin to fulfill your vision.

Also, world-changers don’t mope when people won’t support them.  They know that if God is with them, who can be against them?

3. World-changers believe God can do it again.  While nostalgia makes some yearn for the good old days, and despair makes others invent impossibilities—world-changers say, “Why not now, why not here, and why not me?”

1 Samuel 14:6: “Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.’”

These two were in the grip of two explosive thoughts:  The testimony of what God has done in the past, and an inconsolable grief over the present evil condition of the world.  This dilemma placed a motivating burden on them, and caused them to cry out for a new move of God in history.

This was the incurable obsession that made Habakkuk cry out “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and I was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!  In the midst of the years make Yourself known; In wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

Someone will read this and change the world.  Was I being arrogant by giving my blog that title?  No. I believe the Holy Spirit told me to write this and I believe He will get it into the hands of a world-changer.  Why not you? Why not let God inflame you with world changing faith!

Someone will read this and change the world

Our culture downgrades greatness, audacity, courage, originality, and heroism.  Our children are barraged with messages of defeat and limits.  Worse yet, they are told that wanting to excel might hurt someone else’s feelings.

The curse of so many of today’s educators is that they  train this generation is they’re to do just enough to get by.  Instead of going for brilliance, and creativity, many are conditioned to harp, whine, and scream against the unfair world.

“Besides” their teachers say, “you can’t change the world.”  They believe this ideology makes the world safer.  Seneca had it right when he said, “it is not because the times are dangerous that men do not dare, it is because men do not dare that the times are dangerous.”

Small people with small minds mold the future.  You can be sure that if small men cast large shadows, it means the sun is about to set.  Is there anything we can do to push back the approaching darkness?  Where are the world changers?

Tragically, the lie that you can’t change the world also permeates Christian Colleges.  Christian leaders are being trained not to offend. They are studying what to leave out of their preaching.  Their professors serve a smaller God than the one we used to hear about in church.

Billy Graham and Oral Roberts.  Astonishingly, some will not know the two men in the picture.  They changed the world.  One by preaching to more people face to face than any man in history.  The other by bringing divine healing to his generation.

How bad is our defeatism?  When Billy Graham died, some notable leaders called it the end of God’s protection.  Others said “we’ll never see another one like him.”

I rebuke both those statements.  Not only me—human history rebukes it.  Nothing in the Bible supports these pallid words. Frankly, the doubting church doesn’t need another soothing sermon, but a swift kick.

The promise and power of God to change the world is still in force. Billy Graham and Oral Roberts would be horrified to hear us make monuments or a past era out of them.  Their testimony should be a catalyst for God to do it again.

This promise is not just for men either!  Joel: 2:28 says, “I will pour out of my Spirit on your sons and daughters and they will prophesy…  And no one is too old…”your old men shall dream dreams.”

Are these times so evil we can’t break the gravitational force of wickedness?  No one has the right to tell God what He can and cannot do.  There is no devil, demagogue, or disaster too big for God.   

You could listen to doomsayers—who morbidly hope for hell to break loose—or you can seize the Word of God the way that Billy and Oral did.

Here are three timeless truths about world changers:

1. World changers appear when it looks impossible.  The same voices of doubt and despair were present at the dawn of Billy and Oral’s ministries.  There was no money to do what they wanted to do.  There was no supporting faith surrounding their visions.  They were constantly being second guessed by those with unbelief.

It was not until they cast themselves utterly on God that their breakthroughs came.

When Esther appeared  the Jews seemed hopelessly doomed.  Mordecai said these immortal words: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

 2. World changers know when to go it alone.  God kept telling Gideon to shrink—not enlarge his army.   It was only after he won an astonishing victory that the other tribes found out and got offended.  Judges 8:1 “Now the men of Ephraim said to him, ‘Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?’ And they reprimanded him sharply.”

The vision of the Lord is always too big for the church. True visions from God will always be too big for any one church or denomination.  Both of these men had to follow God and let the church come along later.  If you wait for approval, you will never start your vision.

Also, world changers don’t mope when people won’t support them.  They know that if God is with them who can be against them.

 3. World changers believe God can do it again.  While nostalgia makes some yearn for olden days, and despair makes others invent impossibilities—world changers say why not now, why not here, and why not me?

1 Samuel 14: 6 says, “Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

They are in the grip of two explosive thoughts:  The testimony of what God has done before, and an inconsolable grief over the evil in the world.  This wrecks them and they cry out for a new move of God in history.

This was the incurable obsession that made Habakkuk cry out “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!  In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.

Someone will read this and change the world.  Was I being arrogant giving this that title?  No I believe the Holy Spirit told me to write this and I believe He will get it into the hands of a world changer.  Why not you?

 

I have an amazing story to tell you right now

Should a preacher be an outspoken critic of government and politicians?  Should soul winners take sides the political arena?  When I first began doing it, the unanimous verdict was no.  Now let me tell you an amazing story…

In 2011, I knew the greatest threat to America and the Gospel was going to come from Washington D.C. and Sacramento CA.  The Holy Spirit led me to begin a blog and arm people with truth and Scriptural knowledge to combat the iron curtain that I saw coming down on our nation.

You would not believe the threats I got.  Not just from left wing wackos, but from Christians.  Church folk thought I was violating my calling and the left wingers said they were going to sick the IRS on me.  Some leaders I really trusted blasted me for even thinking of doing this.

Seeking God about doing this blog, put me through unimaginable torment.  I had to be sure I was right.  My heroes, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kathyrn Kuhlman, and David Wilkerson would have struggled with my decision.  Then something really important dawned on me: Preachers must discern the times they live in.

Everyone one of my heroes did just that.  They did things that had never been done before and they were brutally criticized for it. David Wilkerson for being photographed at a criminal trial for delinquents, Oral for going on television, Kathyrn for being a woman preacher…all of them broke new ground.

Then God gave me understanding of the time I lived in, and the ground I had to break.  Let me explain it this way:  say you are barbecuing in your back yard.  There’s a fence between you and your neighbor.  One day, after years of peaceful coexistence, your neighbor jumps the fence, and with a crazed look, charges your wife.  He means harm.  What do you do? Tell yourself it is unloving to attack the crazed neighbor?

Obama jumped the fence and went after the church.   Now, the left never stays in their own yard.  They continually attack our freedom of religion, and speech.  Then I heard a life-changing phrase in my spirit: Christianity will survive without America, but America will never survive without Christianity.  Now I knew my mission was to help spare America from disaster.

I also concluded that my spiritual heroes lived in an era when the church was respected, and there was civil discourse between political parties.  I needed models of preachers who preached at the dawn of tyranny in their nation.   I needed Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Hitler’s Germany and Watchman Nee in Mao’s china.  It became undeniable what I had to do.  I had total peace and confidence and began writing.  However, my anxiety was only beginning.

In the first month, May 2011, only 58 people read it, by the end of the year only 2,200 people had read it.  The enemy laughed at me, and told me it was a miserable failure, and the only thing I had done was to close the doors of churches.  Somehow I kept trying.

The blog didn’t just face rejection from the church, it was going against the headwinds of technology.  America’s attention span was shrinking fast.  Experts told me I had no hope of success because no one reads long articles.  If I wanted to be heard, I had to do short snappy videos.  The Holy Spirit said no.  I had to write the blog.  Often, they’d be over a thousand words. Somehow, against all odds, I held on.

Now it was 2012 and something amazing started.  By December, 300,000 people read the blog.  Not only that, preachers took heart from my posts and began to boldly proclaim truth and speak out.  Some of my harshest critics admitted they attacked me out of their own fear to speak out.  The foundation of a new understanding, began to emerge.  It turned into a groundswell.

Everywhere I traveled, people would come up to me, and tell me how much the blog meant to them.  Copies appeared in the most surprising places.  The heads of a large denomination gave it to their executives.  It was quoted on television, radio, referred to in books, read from pulpits and even mentioned in Washington.  Since then, it has been viewed in 224 nations and territories.   Then at midnight last night it happened…

The blog reached 3 million views.  Think of that!  3 million people have read it!   This little blog, which had no chance of surviving is now the mouse that roared.  Thank you to all my regular readers—some who have stood with me since the beginning—for doing something historic!  And, the best is yet to come.
The only way it succeeded was because God was in it.  He is the only reason it broke through all the barriers.  All the glory goes to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

California: The lesson that the church is missing.

First of all, Mario Murillo Ministries is still a California Corporation and we are dedicated to seeing revival here.  However, to learn how the church lost her witness here demands brutal honesty.

15.8 million Californians claim to be Christian—more by far, than any other state in the union.  When California went abjectly hippie, communist, one has to wonder where were the Christians?   Let’s stipulate that only one third of all believers in California can vote.  According to statistics, that would still be 5.26 million people.

Jerry Brown won a popular vote of 4.3 million votes and his opponent got just under 3 million.  Why couldn’t the Church—with her vast store of congregants—come up with another 1.3 million votes to win the election?  If every Christian who could vote, voted for righteousness, they would have won by a landslide. There’s a bigger question:

Why did Christians vote for Jerry Brown?  We know they did, because he could not win without their vote.  The church had the power—at every turn—to stop the liberal agenda in California.  Why didn’t she? 

I know that judges overturned the will of the people with Prop 8.  I get that there are union crime families in California.  I realize that free speech is dead on the left coast.  I also know there is widespread voter fraud.  All of that considered, it still does not explain how such a vast voting bloc could be neutralized.

This is not a hatchet job on believers in the Golden State.  I have sacrificed a great part of my life for the churches there.  I don’t believe the fault lies with rank and file believers.  I also know there are many godly pastors faithfully serving on the West Coast.

No, this disaster snuck in like a Trojan Horse.  I saw it firsthand and preached against it from the first day I saw it.  It was a masterstroke of Satan that began over 30 years ago.  When I tell you the culprit, a part of you will be shocked, and another part will recognize why I am right instantly.

The problem was the church growth movement.  More harm than you can possibly imagine came from the seemingly innocuous words “church growth movement.”  And, yes indeed it was a movement.

The initial victim was unity.  The next victim was soul winning.  The final victim was Bible literacy.  Here is how it worked:

When numbers mattered more than anything, California pastors began to see other pastors as the competition.  Hollywood, drugs, atheism, and sexual perversion were no longer the threat—now it was your brother in Christ.  Ministers became suspicious of one another, and began to isolate themselves citing their “big vision.”

Then, these regional pastors inadvertently created a new morality.  Sin was not the sin defined in scripture—sin was now anything that hindered growth.  By removing the offensive parts of the Bible, they also removed the parts that had the power to change people. 

They steered clear of righteousness by saying “confrontational messages offend the very people we are trying to reach.”  This is code for “it is bad for business.”

To maximize growth, churches felt compelled to become self-contained entertainment centers, who didn’t need anyone else.  This destroyed mass evangelism, like what we saw with Billy Graham in neutral stadiums and auditoriums.  The photo below is from the Billy Graham Crusade in the Los Angeles coliseum in 1963.  120,000 are inside and 30,000 more could not get in.  This is unimaginable in Los Angeles today.

Soon California churches became expert at drawing audiences but leaving them unchanged by the Gospel.  Hundreds of thousands could belong to a church and see nothing wrong with abortion or gay marriage. Why?  Because their spiritual leader never talked about it.  Believers assumed that all of this was acceptable under the constant drumbeat of inclusiveness.

When the pastors noticed that the people loved their “nonreligious” appearance and behavior, they began to let down their guard.  The innocent wine and cocktails turned in a drinking habit.  Other dark trends that I will not mention became common among these leaders.  Thus, they were powerless to address the rampant immorality in their congregations.  They were also powerless to form a multi-church statewide voter movement.

Soon, Movie stars, pop stars, and famous athletes became status symbols for these churches.  Instead of the mega pastor discipling these celebrities, the celebrities discipled them.   It became impossible for these preachers to quote scripture, teach doctrine, or oppose liberal agendas.

Finally, taking a stand against left wing politicians became unloving.  Pastors escaped their duty by saying “that is not my calling.”  They took the Bible out of context in telling them that any political statements were judgmental.  Any Christian voter registration effort was downplayed or banned.

Soon Satan had tightened his noose and masses of Christians were oblivious to the warfare around them—most of all, they were ignorant of the ultimate price their children would have to pay for their doctrinal illiteracy.

The things these pastors preached gave no inkling of what believers were about to face.  Their child could be suspended for wearing a Christian t-shirt.  Their job in Silicon Valley could be lost if they testified on the job.  Textbooks that taught alternative sexual lifestyles were forced on their children.  The streets grew violent and the Universities became intolerant.  In short, these churches prepared their crowds for a world that doesn’t exist and did not stop the one that now exists.

California Christians—there is still hope!  The Christian history of California proves that great movements of God can come out of nowhere.  The Jesus movement appeared when a flood of immorality gripped the state.  God can do it again!

Nevertheless—it is simple truth:  the church growth movement was destructive.   Instead of building on the Rock—which would have given them a large church anyway—they built on sand.  The storm that Jesus warned us of has come.   They sent sheep out of their services unprotected and unable to withstand the storm of left-wing tyranny that  has set the state adrift in a sea of chaos.

Christians across America, take a lesson from California.  If the most popular churches in your state resemble the ones in this blog beware, the same crisis is already in your state.