When I think about the state of the Black church, it grieves me. Growing up in a Black church, I heard people say that the preacher wasn’t really preaching unless he was ‘hooping’. No one ever actually applauded the Word of God going forth. They applauded the antics of the pastor. The more he yelled and screamed and pranced about the stage, the more you saw the waving of hands, the yelling of “Amen, Pastor!” and the more ‘holy ghost dancing’. That was when I was in my pre-teens. Now, at 30, I can’t say much has changed; I can almost say that it’s gotten worse.
Now, not only does the above happen, but everyone is rebuking everything “in the name of Jesus”. Everything from issues with equipment, coughs, colds, check engine lights, bad drivers, and more is attributed to the devil. Sunday mornings have people running around the church like Flo-Jo, screaming, speaking in ‘tongues’, and greetings of ‘sister’ and ‘brother’ abound. But, let’s fast forward 1 or 2 days. These same people are at work with poor work ethics, involved in fornication, their mouths spew profanity like broken fire hydrants in the Summer time, and the only time you hear about Jesus is when they are upset about something. You know what adds to this? There’s no conviction of sin (1 John 3).
Why is this the common theme of the Black church? Christianese, yet no Christ? So many Blacks in the church think they are ‘in’ with God because they attend church and serve on the usher board. The Gospel is rarely preached, and when it is, Jesus’ death is shown to have been so that they can have riches, prosperity, and perfect health. We hear that ‘by His stripes, we are healed’ and we cling to it as a promise that Aunt Jackie won’t die of cancer and Paw-Paw won’t die of emphysema although now 89, he’s been smoking since he was 16. And when this promise doesn’t ‘work’, Jesus becomes an object of anger as if He let us down, though this is never what He promised in the first place.
When Truth is attempted to be shared, it’s ignored. You’re frowned upon. You’re accused of being a tool of the Enemy. You’re even told you’re ‘too serious’. But – isn’t Christ the One we are to be the most serious about? The Black church perishes in its ignorance, showing it to truly be bliss, and attendees don’t know Jesus and don’t really believe in the Gospel. Solely attending church never got anyone anywhere. It actually desensitizes us to our true need.
It’s a man centered theology. Well – it’s not even really theology because if God was truly the object of this study, lives would be changed. But they aren’t. And there’s no desire. It’s basically, “Let me get my Word”, “I hope they sing my song today!”, “I paid my tithes; I’m good”, yet Jesus isn’t grasped for. He isn’t reached for. He isn’t treasured. He isn’t loved.
This is why men like Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Eddie Long, and Rickie Rush thrive in the Black church. It’s everything people want to hear. It’s a feel good message, and motivational speaking at best. There is no talk of sin, wrath, holiness, judgment… The Gospel isn’t preached in its fullness. What is ‘preached’ is what makes people feel good. But, you will feel good and be on your merry way to Hell without truly knowing God, trusting in Jesus, and being forgiven of your sins, which you need to be. We all need to be.
The Gospel is not that Jesus died to make me rich and healthy. If that were true, I’d BE rich and I’d BE healthy. But this is the Gospel – Jesus came to save sinners. Who are these sinners? Every human being alive on this planet. Sin is breaking God’s law, and sinful is the state that we are born into. We are sinful. None is good, not one, and none of us on our own seek to know this Holy God who created us. Because of our sinful nature, we stand condemned before God. We need an ‘out’. We need a way to be set free from this sin. We need a way to be made right before God so that we no longer stand condemned, but forgiven and free. Enter Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life – the life that we should live – yet died a gruesome death, absorbing the wrath of God. This is the death and the ending that we should all have. We should all incur God’s wrath and anger in its fullness. But Jesus was hung on a cross, and as He died on that cross, He, the perfect Son of God, absorbed the wrath of God so that for those who believe in Him by faith, there’d be no wrath left. This is good news! What is required of us? What we must do is repent of our sinfulness and wickedness and turn to Jesus. We must place all of our faith in Jesus Christ, and depend on Him for our forgiveness and our right standing before God. We cannot depend on participation in ministries, church attendance, or grandma’s faith. It’s you turning AWAY from your sin and turning TO Christ. And because Jesus lived the perfect life that we should have lived, when we place faith in Him, because He died our death, we receive His life. Isn’t that beautiful?
Satan is thriving in the Black church due to ignorance. Please trust in Jesus and be truly saved, lest you be like those in Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
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