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The Persecuted Church


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The Diminishing Message of the Cross

It is unprecedented how fast things change in the world but we have ringside seat watching the church change along with it. It is taking place so fast that it is a blur to some people who have not stopped to examine what is taking place. Are we resisting the worlds system or are we joining it? Reaching out to a culture in this manner has become our demise, because we have confused the culture with people and their essential need that has always been the same, sin. So now we use every means available, depending on religious movies instead of equipping ourselves for the ministry.

Consider this report “The population of the unchurched is growing across the nation. Much research has been done on this group in order to understand them, in order to reach them. But it seems that while we have been busy forming strategies based on research to bring the unchurched to Christ, their numbers continue to increase while church numbers, for the most part, remain the same.... “You know what frustrated me the most when I started visiting churches?” Susan M. asked us. She was a lifelong unchurched person living in the Cleveland area until a life crisis prompted her to seek God and his truth in churches. “What really frustrated me was that I had a deep desire to understand the Bible, to hear in-depth preaching and teaching,” she continued, “but most of the preaching was so watered down that it was insulting to my intelligence.

“I went to one church where the message was on fear. I was eager to hear what the Bible had to say about a subject that described my state of mind.”

But Susan was sorely disappointed with what she heard. “It was more of a pop-psychology message. The biblical view was never explained. Bible texts were hardly mentioned,” she lamented.

One important lesson we learned from the formerly unchurched is that we should never dilute biblical teachings for the sake of the unchurched....

Similar comments were repeated by many of the formerly unchurched. When we asked if the doctrine or the beliefs of the church they eventually joined was important, the responses were surprising and overwhelming. Ninety-one percent of the formerly unchurched indicated that doctrine was an important factor that attracted them to the church.

Perhaps equally surprising was the fact that the unchurched were more concerned about doctrine than Christians who had transferred from another church. Almost all of the formerly unchurched responded that doctrine was important. Nine out of 10 of the transfer churched responded likewise....


Movies for God

Considering that Evangelical trend setters that have labeled the Passion of Christ as the greatest evangelical tool the church has known for 2,000 years; the polls showed otherwise.

Barna's report on 'The Passion of Christ" is not anything like we being told. People who had seen The Passion were asked if it affected their religious beliefs in any way. Just one out of every six viewers (16%) said it had. When pressed to describe the specific shifts in their spiritual perspectives, the most common changes were the perceived importance of how they treat other people, becoming more concerned about the affect of their life choices and personal behavior, and gaining a deeper understanding of, or appreciation for what Christ had done for them through His death and resurrection. Each of those changes was named by 3% of the aggregate viewing audience.

The audience was also asked if viewing the movie had affected their religious practices. In total, 18% said some aspect of their religious behavior was different due to seeing the movie…. becoming more involved in church-related activities (3%).

Among the most startling outcomes drawn from the research is the apparent absence of a direct evangelistic impact by the movie. Despite marketing campaigns labeling the movie the “greatest evangelistic tool” of our era, less than one-tenth of one percent of those who saw the film stated that they made a profession of faith or accepted Jesus Christ as their savior in reaction to the film’s content.

Equally surprising was the lack of impact on people’s determination to engage in evangelism. Less than one-half of one percent of the audience said they were motivated to be more active in sharing their faith in Christ with others as a result of having seen the movie...The stats: The Barna Report who certainly is for this has a very different assessment. 

So what this means is that one fifth of those who already go to church have changed something because of the movie. But it was not enough to get them active as a minute percentage (3%).The real shock is that it is reported less than one-tenth of one percent of those who saw the film  reacted to the films message the way the neo evangelicals promised and promoted. So what did exactly happen?

 Lets hear Gibson tell us: Sydney Herald, August 2004, Mel Gibson was asked how the success of his religious epic the Passion of Christ has altered him? His response “I don’t have to answer any of these questions anymore. I’m a hell of a lot wealthier than I once was."

What a thing to say to a reporter. But he is right, he grossed over 600 million dollars thanks to everyone's support and the release of the Passion on DVD will probably double it. It should make those who who fully support this movie think twice, but I doubt it will. Gibson raked in the money to support his brand of ancient Roman Catholicism that for all intensive means is considered idolatrous. He is using the monies to build a Roman Catholic church. Because of this films promotion of Mary within the framework of the crucifixion the unstable evangelical church has moved one step closer to Rome.

This has begun the new trend of making a Christian Holywood (not Hollywood). Yes, now we will have a religious entertainment section of the church sanctified. Some of the false prophets have prophesied that the churches influence would change Hollywood into Holywood. Instead we see a marriage of the two taking place, a synergism as some would say.  Despite all the rumors of changed lives and healings on the set, the people who participated in this movie making were not. Go see what Monica Bellucci the Italian sex star is starring in now.

With this new method of evangelism we will see the church change for the worse very quickly. Enter Bishop T.D. Jakes. Who is promoting “Woman, Thou Art Loosed. He is following the path blazed by Mel Gibson. Jakes hopes pastors will rent out theaters for a modern screen adaptation of Jesus overcoming suffering. Jakes said Mel Gibson proves to us perhaps the next frontier of evangelism may be the movie theater. We have to start thinking outside the box.”

Jakes is not concerned about it receiving an “R” rating like Mel Gibson's “The Passion of the Christ.” He stated “The Passion” told how Jesus was crucified. “Woman, Thou Art Loosed” tells why Jesus was crucified: to offer hope to people suffering today.

The Movie” had a private showing for about 60 church leaders who attended the screening at the Cleveland Museum of Art. In advance of its planned nationwide release in October.


The movie, stars Kimberly Elise from the recent movie “The Manchurian Candidate.” the story is about a young woman searching for hope in prison after a lifetime of sexual abuse, poverty and addiction.

Beginning and ending on death row, the film follows the life story of a woman who was abused by her mother's boyfriend as a child and her attempt as an adult to reclaim her life after falling into an abyss of prison, prostitution and drug addiction.

The movie includes graphic and powerful adult content, language and violence.

Jakes said Gibson's attempt to portray the suffering of Christ on the cross helped people in the pews realize that the Christian message needs to go beyond the sugar-coated version Hollywood and the church have given them for decades. (Reported on NewsMax.com Monday, Aug. 2, 2004)

What’s wrong with this picture (no pun included)? We are pandering to the world’s ways to attract people. T.D. Jakes preaching often uses psychology in his messages so this is not surprising to me. But where is this man and others taking the church.

Consider the church is changing and it is becoming attracted to the world and using the worlds ways to reach the world, which in essence give us less distinction from the world.

But there is more, much more than can be covered at this time. For example how can you find a rock star for Jesus?  “It is our goal to wrap God's message -- His love -- in acceptance, and in a way that blends seamlessly into 'pop' culture while still upholding the values we, as Christians, value most,” Wright Generation's mission statement reads. If you don’t know who the Wright Entertainment Group is, they are known for managing the careers of Britney Spears and 'N Sync and is negotiating to create a Christian version of the popular TV show “American Idol.” The show, to be called “Gifted,” is scheduled to debut in October on Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Wright Generation's mission statement outlines the evangelical rationale for “Gifted”: “God gives us so many gifts, but we reach for the one with the prettiest wrapping. In a world where MTV dictates trends and pop stars become idols, Christianity seems to be wrapped in conditions and judgments. It is our goal to wrap God's message - His love - in acceptance, and in a way that blends seamlessly into `pop' culture while still upholding the values we, as Christians, value most.”

Their strategy - borrow the world to reach the world, intermingle religion with the popular culture by using recognizable stars. Here comes the official Christian Hollywood. This may be the self-fulfillment of recent prophecies of Hollywood becoming “Holy wood.”

This will begin by a cross-country summer bus tour to 11 Trinity stations are planned, where auditions will be held for singers ages 18 to24. The tour, scheduled to begin July 26, will stop in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New York, California and Washington state. Contestants will perform gospel or contemporary spiritual songs.

Two finalists will be chosen at each stop. The 24 finalists will be flown to Hollywood, where they will perform before a live studio audience and be evaluated by celebrity judges (This was reported by the Orlando Sentinel contributed by correspondent Hal Boedeker).

Eight will go on to the finals, where the television audience will choose the winner, whose career will be managed by Wright and Crouch.

Even if this does not go through why would anyone even consider this a strategy to reach people with the Christian message? Yes, things are changing and those who are unable to think biblically are not equipped to the challenge. This is all becoming bigger than the prayer of Jabez or The Purpose “whatever” ride. 

I John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Its system is wicked, evil and perishing. So what happens when the church wants to look like the world to win the world? The very opposite effect we want takes place, we become like them, they do not become like us.



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