21st Century Evangelicalism

Rescuing The Dying American Church

We are what we love. If that’s true, the church is off track. We’ve stopped highlighting repentance, humility, holiness, self-sacrifice, and eternal judgment and have replaced these core values with wealth, influence, leadership training, fun, marketing, and lust.

The Bible says a double-minded person is unstable, and should not expect to receive anything from the Lord (see James 1:7). So since we’ve confused attendance and political connections with spiritual authority, and we’ve exchanged pleasing God with pleasing people, we’ve entered into a death spiral as a church. Prayer rooms are empty unless the music and leadership are just right, and consecration to God is treated as obsolete or boring.

The admonitions that “believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position, and the rich should be humble because, after all, they will pass away like a wild flower” are ignored because we’ve become a backslidden worldly church.

But there is always hope. James 4:8 writes, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

But our current church leadership is so deceived they don’t perceive that they are the sinners, nor do they believe they need to purify their hearts. Why? Because their churches are full, their bank accounts are bulging, and they are surrounded by people who think their leaders are godly.

I’ve seen this first hand. Humble, kindhearted men of God love service, prayer, and the Scriptures. But that all changes when the cameras come on. It’s as if they become drunken with the spirits of this world for power, money, and prestige. Then they spiral into a stupor of superficial appearances of godliness, but the true spiritual power is gone. No longer is depending on the power of the Gospel the basis of their existence, but the influence they have on others takes its place.

David wrote about it in Psalm 51:17,

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Ezra 9:6 says it perfectly.

 I prayed,

“O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens.

Isaiah 57:15 says,

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,
the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

As I am writing this blog, I am reminded of a young man who was living in squalor. His family had provided a house where he lived with his young son, who was increasingly delayed in his development because of the environment of immorality and drug abuse in his home. Every bedroom was filled with trash, dirty mattresses, discarded condoms, and used needles.

The man needed help and was willing to repent and return to Christ, but he didn’t know where to begin. A crew from our church helped clean his house, and then funded the young man and his son to move out of state to a dependable family member where they could get a fresh start. The church also worked with him to get his teeth fixed, get free from his former addictions, and to start his education. Now time has passed. The young man is now gainfully employed, married, has a beautiful new son. His other son is now in above normal ranges cognitively and behaviorally. No more developmental delay.

Every one of us who has been bound by the power of depravity and selfishness and then set free by Christ knows exactly why we deeply despise sin and earnestly love the Lord and his people.

Psalm 97:10 says,

You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He protects the lives of his godly people
and rescues them from the power of the wicked.

Our hope is for our leaders to go unannounced to the mountaintop with no publicity, no cameras, and no publicly announced agenda, to press through for a private and powerful meeting with God. Most of them will need to unwind from the adrenaline that has been driving them. They will also need to leave their cell phones, energy drinks, caffeine, “medications,” and assistants at home, and stay until they push past boredom and then, like Isaiah, cry out in desperation,

It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

This can only happen by divine revelation, divine encounter, and divine devastation.

But here is the problem. Should they have an encounter like this, they will be tempted to return from the mountaintop and market this experience.

Maybe it’s time we start a new kind of secrets in the body of Christ. Maybe our leaders need to encounter the Lord, be quiet about it, and let the Lord reveal in public what has happened to them in private. That would be a refreshing change of pace, and might rescue our dying American Church.

By tedhaggardblog

Ted Haggard is the Sr. Pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO and founding pastor of New Life Church and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the husband of Gayle, and the father of Christy, Marcus, Jonathan, Alex and Elliott.

6 replies on “Rescuing The Dying American Church”

POWERFUL!! May my Father help me to be and do all He has in mind for me! Looking forward to Sunday!! BobbyJ

Sent from my iPhone


It is interesting that, over the last 11 years, I’ve observed that the most judgmental and opinionated are the previously incarcerated. I’m not sure what goes on in theses institutions, but the ability of those convicted in our human courts to evaluate the hearts of others seems unsurpassed by any other single group.

Forgetting what is behind

We move forward.

We don’t need people to constantly remind us of poor decisions we’ve made.

Satan is happy to do that.
We just learn from them and with the help of the Lord we see these pitfalls from the past and don’t fall into them in the future.

As far as the American church

Where are we – the ones on television look great but as individuals – where are we?

We know the Lord – we should be seeking him.

Are we seeking him? Is he our Vital Need!!!?

Like Jehoshaphat and all of Israel; they set themselves to seek the Lord – their very nation was going to be attacked. (2 Chronicles, chapter 20, verse 3 Amplified Version)

America is being attacked and yet we live live on.

Is there anyone interested in praying together? Pulling down strongholds? Having the power of God in our lives?

Not just going to people with words – but with the power of the Holy Spirit.

With all of the activity and entertainment constantly in their hands and in their ears.

America is being taken over and we are going to church on Sunday.

Satisfied with our service.

Wake up – if we don’t get serious with God and put away our pretend lives

Being children of God – With no power – no wisdom – no anointing – no favor

We are doomed.

God help us! Stir up the spirit within us.
We need to hunger for more of Him.
Jesus didn’t come shouting “I’m the son of God!!” – and then just stand there.

He came with signs and wonders – He loved people and set them free.
Isn’t he our example?

Wake up church! This is not radical – this should be the norm. – A passion so great for God.

It seems like everyone is going their own way.

Perfectly happy to go to church on Sunday morning.

Pretty much ignoring our Vital Need !!

Karen V.W.

This right on the money Ted. I’ve been seeing this not only in churches but also para church organizations as well.

What happens when the church gets it WRONG for decades and those it wronged – finally get it right? The world begins to change and suddenly the “church” is being told to repent by those it had erroneously rejected. Enter the G0YS movement – secular in origin but with a large & rapidly growing Judeo-Christian apologetics arm with a retake of the Scripture that has silenced most traditional religious institutions & led to the dismantling of ministries such as Exodus International. Why? How? G00GLE G0YS (spelled w. a zer0) to find out.

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