Pyromaniacs has a fine post on how churches evaluate their success. They do not preach what is right, they preach what leads to their anticipated results.
Most churches preach with these ends in mind:
Increased “giving” (invariably financial) among churchgoers Increased attendance Increased professions of faith Increased actual (i.e. conversion) baptisms Happier people People who report feeling closer to God Greater book sales Compliant children Better reputation among the lost
The problem with these goals is that the Bible does not teach that these things should be expected by teaching the words in the Bible!
The Bible says that if you faithfully teach the truth of God’s Word you should expect ends like this:
Getting murdered by your brother for honoring God in faith Being hated by the most powerful in the land for telling God’s truth Having people run away from your preaching (i.e. a small congregation) because you preach the truth straight Being out of sync with your spouse for remaining faithful to God Being framed, slandered, and killed for remaining loyal to your family Seeing your good name destroyed because of your love for Christ Having co-workers start a vicious slander-and-ouster campaign because of your godly excellence Being abused, even physically, to doing right in God’s eyes Enduring a life of persecution, deprivation, and temporal misery
I am always glad to see that I’m not alone in my ways of thinking. The Word is what God has given us and it is what we are to be giving others. All this diversity, let’s all get along and rejoice in our commonality and awesome community, is pure humanism, Tower of Babel, thinking.
Preach the Word. Preach the Word that says “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”