(Photo: Facebook/Shane Idleman)
A California pastor says he is concerned about the state of the church and believes that Christianity in America has shifted away from the Gospel and instead of being the light of the world, Christians are beginning to look just like the world.
Shane Idleman, founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, Calif., wrote a blog post directed towards church leaders who he says have exchanged the truth for tolerance. He urges them and the rest of the Christian community to reflect on whether they are affecting the world or being infected by it.
"The present condition of the church and America leaves one to wonder if this lack of fearing the Lord is contributing to her spiritually dead condition. A healthy respect of God is what our culture, and the church desperately need," Idleman told The Christian Post.
He decided to write the post because he says American church leaders are more concerned about keeping an audience instead of preaching the truth from their pulpits.
"Although many applaud boldness, if the truth be told, life would be much easier if I took another vocation and avoided controversy. But I cannot. God radically changed my life by the power of His Spirit through His truth. His Word is like a fire in my bones, I cannot hold it back," he said.
Idleman bluntly explains that many pastors have taken on the role of CEOs and have not understood that they are called to lead a people to Christ. He also notes that the "pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God's people," and a "lukewarm, sex-saturated culture and church simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit."
However, the lack of conviction also depends on the prayer life of the preacher, he explains. Prayer is the first sign of a spiritually healthy church and leader.
Oftentimes, pastors focus too much on marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns, he said. Idleman says leaders need to focus on being spirit filled.
"Sermons shouldn't come from pop-psychology and the latest fad, they must come from the prayer closet where God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. It takes broken men to break men," said Idleman.
In order to reverse the trend, the California pastor urges leaders to draw away from mass appeal and remain true to biblical foundations, despite the temptation to be lured into mainstream culture. He also calls on churches not to appeal to the masses through selective preaching of the Word that does not call out destructive lifestyles, but instead begin a revival that will trigger individuals to change.
"If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around. The vessel has been struck, what's inside is spilling out," said Idleman.
"But if God brings revival … if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him … there is tremendous hope. There will not be an end until Christ returns but we are not called to hide in the corner, we are called to engage the enemy."
Idleman's nondenominational church, Westside Christian Fellowship, is located 60 miles north of Los Angeles. He recently released his seventh book, Desperate for More of God.
More information can be found at www.ShaneIdleman.com.