A restaurant that serves lousy food, a bad movie no one goes to see, a book no one reads, and a church that empties its pews and runs out of both people and money, should all meet the same fate. They should all go out of business. It’s the natural dynamic of all market endeavors. Failure is a great teacher. The market shouts “you’re doing something wrong.”
We’ve all witnessed the plummeting attendance of liberal mainline denominations for decades. The market has been shouting. Go soft on the authority of the Bible, preach church-lite fluffy “be happy” messages every Sunday, avoid calling sin by its name, abandon orthodoxy and replace the message of the cross with the social gospel and you eliminate the primary reason for going to church in the first place – to be convicted of sin by the Word of God. If you’re not a sinner, you don’t need to be saved. Eliminate teaching the Bible at church and you’re just a social club and/or a political organization.
On the other hand, as in Field of Dreams, “if you teach it, they will come.” Evangelical churches have been growing while the liberal churches have been shrinking, across all demographics, precisely because of their fidelity to teaching the Bible. People don’t really want a therapy session, they want the Spirit of God to speak into their lives. They’re properly convicted, and they want help. That’s the church. Sinners reconciled to a Holy God, and now working with Him against evil in the world in fighting units called “ministries.” And though we may lose many battles, we’re assured victory because of what Jesus did on the Cross.
There are only two things that can happen when sin and the Bible clash: either sin will change the Bible, or the Bible will change the sin.
When Barack and Hillary say homosexuality is not immoral, they’re telling you volumes.
When the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ are all proud members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (www.rcrc.org), they’re shouting.
Today, the strongest indicators of where a church is theologically, politically, socially, and thereby economically, is their view of homosexuality and abortion. If they are sins, you’re likely looking at a healthy, Bible-believing church. If they are not a sin, you’re looking at a political group fronting as a church.
The Religious Left is far more “Left” than “religious” – they may look like a church on the outside, but on the inside, they’re a political organization advancing a leftist social agenda. And now, there’s hard evidence to back it up.
John Lomperis and Alan Wisdom at the Institute on Religion and Democracy have put together a 90-page report entitled Strange Yokefellows: The National Council of Churches and Its Growing Non-Church Constituency. It’s free from their website www.ird.org. I encourage you to read the whole thing. But for now, here are the main points you need to know.
The National Council of Churches represents 35 denominations and claims to represent 45 million people. From their website (www.ncccusa.org) the Preamble to their Constitution reads,
The National Council of Churches is a community of Christian communions, which, in response to the gospel as revealed in the Scriptures, confess Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, as Savior and Lord. These communions covenant with one another to manifest ever more fully the unity of the Church. Relying upon the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the communions come together as the Council in common mission, serving in all creation to the glory of God.
Nice sounding words. Do you think they believe them? In the beginning, no doubt, the founders of the NCC believed every word. Solid foundation. Noble goals. Good for them.
But, let’s take a look at what it means these days to “manifest ever more fully the unity of the Church.”
As the NCC drifted away from the authority of Scripture and increasingly embraced the Social(ist) Gospel, attendance and giving began to fall. By 1999 the churches were nearly empty and they were millions of dollars in debt. They hired Bob Edgar to head the organization with his primary job to raise money. Lots of it.
He did. But not from the people in the pews.
Between 2001 and 2005, revenue from member denominations dropped 40%, from $2.9 million to $1.75 million. During the same period, non-denomination revenue rose from $800,000 to $2.9 million, a jump of 362%. And in June of 2005, for the first time, outside giving ($1.76) surpassed denominational giving ($1.75), officially making the National Council of Churches financed more from non-church sources than from the people in the pews they claim to represent.
Today, of the 35 member denominations, eight of the communions contribute nothing, while two of them contribute over half, the United Methodist Church and the PCUSA – two denominations whose leadership is proudly pro-abortion and pro-homosexual, like that of the leadership of the NCC.
Who are these sources of this “non-denominational revenue”? Many of them are liberal foundations listed here.
So, instead of going out of business because they had run off their customer base, the NCC got subsidized by groups that care little about the NCC Preamble, the Gospel, Jesus, or just churches and religion in general–but they do care a lot about politics and advancing their agenda.
So much for the “church” part of the National Council. These liberal groups really are putting their money where their mouth(piece) is, right onto the lips of the NCC.
The next time you hear or read the words “National Council of Churches”, remember they don’t represent the people in the pews, they represent the liberal foundations and organizations that are keeping them on life support.
The market had shouted. The NCC should have died.