The Church of God today endures many, many struggles. Keep in mind as we proceed, the Church and the Bride of Christ are one and the same. And the Church and the church are two different things. One is the people of God and one is a building. They do, often, get mixed up, but they are not the same.
As the pandemic has become an ongoing part of our lives, God has used this to call that Bride forth to something more than she has been. Scripture says He is returning for a spotless Bride, not a harlot or a Sunday-loving woman. A spotless Bride.
One of the great apostasies in the Church is the need to raise up people. Now, I know that might be a bit stiff, but keep in mind that we are all called to stand before God in His grace alone. There is nothing wrong with people being recognized or placed in front. And, in fact, some are called to stand for God in ministry before the world. But that number might be much smaller than is actually represented. I mean for those who are actually supposed to be in that place. Good marketing and a powerful swagger will make you famous, regardless of anointing.
We can all think of a few who should be there. And a few who should not be there. And, sadly, quite a few we wish were never there that have done so much damage.
I can express the way I feel about the heart of why a ministry fails. I can go into things I have only researched and not been personally involved. I can go into a few where I was involved and knew things from the inside. I recall we had an organ player in a church I attended as a child. Turned out she was an active witch and ran off with the assistant pastor.
My point is that while man has any place of authority, he will mess it up. As a leader in a church, it most behooves him to seek God all the time and that lack is most often why it happens.
When a world leader in the Church falls to a moral failure (sexual or otherwise), we talk about all the different parts that it affects. Of course, one of the biggest hurts is how it alters the public view of the Church. That said, it happens so much nowadays that I’m not certain the public notices much.
Regardless of that fact, every time a minister falls, the Church is hurt. People are hurt. The world hurts because the world needs a better view of Christianity. And the fallout is often a world that expresses its displeasure by poking fun at God’s people. For which I cannot entirely blame them. But I am far from perfect, so I will not play the self-righteous card.
Let me tie this up a little bit. The Church (us) is failing its members because we become so enamored by our fleshly leaders. We take our apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers and place them in high regard. Sometimes to such a place that they cannot do any wrong. It’s not that they do not do wrong, it’s that we see them do no wrong. We learn to overlook anything sinful. And as long as we are doing such a thing, the accountability drops and they see opportunity. They start to feel they are above being found out. Then they use their influence to manipulate and contort their circumstances into a form of insulation. You know, where they are safe to act as they wish?
Then, in a world where we are starting to see this as not being acceptable, someone says something. The word gets out. They step down. People get paid. Time (always too little) passes and they return. The scariest part is that people say, “Sure. Just don’t do it again. Now let me put you right back into the place you were before and you can proceed as if nothing happened.”
We are not growing.
So, what does this all have to do with the pandemic?
God is calling for that spotless Bride. Remember? As long as we live under the control of a minister that tells us how we are supposed to think, we will grow into clones of that leader. Which is perfectly fine if that leader is the right person. It might be bold of me, but I would say most are not. Most leaders are hirelings (John 10:12-13). It’s just a job to them.
But no one realizes it because they haven’t been taught to go home and seek God for themselves.
Now, God has allowed this overreaction (news, government, etc) to dominate world thinking. Including many “hirelings” that have no problem telling their flocks to go stay home. The side effect is that we are learning to seek God on our own. We are learning to get to know our Creator directly instead of through the tainted ideas of another human being.
God is indeed calling us forward to be that spotless, pure, righteous Bride of Christ. He’s doing this Himself. He uses men, but if this pandemic has taught us anything it is that He does a much better job by Himself.
Many, many, many men and women will answer the call and stand on a world stage preaching and teaching about God. Of those however many thousands, some will hear this on Judgment Day…”Depart from me, for I never knew you. You who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23)