Worse Than Sodom?

A line in this week’s Time magazine struck me. It was speaking about someone who was “the political embodiment of the megachurch approach: “get people in the door with rock or cappuccino or stand-up (comedy) – but get them in the door.” The article went on to quote The Speaker of the (US) House of Representatives as saying that politics, religion and show business was all about the same thing – getting people in the door.

I was disturbed by the fact that the world no longer sees any difference between the church, politics and the entertainment industry and that even unbelievers have noticed that the gospel is being prostituted. I was still struggling to come to terms with these things when, a couple of days later, the evening news showed a massive billboard next to a freeway in Florida. The board showed four feet sticking out from the blankets at the end of a bed. There was no doubt about the meaning of the graphic. The word sex, which also appeared on the ad, was unnecessary. So what where they selling? A new brothel, pornography, birth control or abortion? No! This is a promotion for a church! Turns out this church has three such bill-boards and it is not the first church to have used the similar graphics and the same ploy.

The pastor explains that he is doing a series of “Bible studies” of which the theme is “God wants you to have great sex”! (Forget about God wants to save you from hell). How does he justify this cheapening of the Gospel? “”It works” was his response. The church which began a few months ago is already looking to buy land where they can build their own facility so they can move out of the storefront next to the pizza parlor. In case you think this is an isolated incident and that this man is some nut case building a cult - another church that ran a similar campaign is a large well-established Baptist church. It turns out that quite a number of “churches” have been using similar ads on billboards. In addition to a suggestive graphic one of them only has the word “barenakedtruthaboutsex.com”. Yes, I went to the site and will not repeat the titles of some of the “sermons” – they are too explicit (Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me).

We all know that sex sells. It sells anything from automobiles to the souls of men. We also know that the Devil and the world have, from the beginning, used man’s carnal desires to lure him into deception, sin and hell. Many of us can remember the cult called “Children of God” or “The Family” who used young girls to actually have sex with prospective members in order to lure them into the cult. We also know that a number of other cults did similar things. But those were cults and they were frowned on by “real churches”. But now it has become common place amongst apparently kosher “churches”. Worse none raise their voice against it, after all, the end justifies the means. How far will the church go and how low will it sink for numbers, money and power? Obviously the answer is that there are no limits - whatever it takes to get them into the door and to open their wallets. Thus the “wealth and health” message has finally morphed into the “wealth, health and sex” message.

May God have mercy on them and on our society. When will the true church wake up and realize we have already exceeded Sodom and Gomorrah? In those cities the sin was in the streets – we have brought it into the church and we are proud of our modernity and liberation. If God destroyed those two cities and if God destroyed mankind in the days of Noah for its wickedness, then the destruction of this world has to be very near.

Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13). Have we lost our saltiness? Is the church still holding back the decay? I don’t think so.

What can we do? What should we be doing? First we need to clean our own house. It needs to begin with your, and my, own heart, then our families, then our churches. We need to make a difference by being the people God has called us to be. Holy – set aside and glorifying Him in all we do. Noah and Lot remained pure and the Lord saved them out of their sick environments. Our homes and families should be sanctuaries of peace and holiness to which our neighbors can flee.

We need to pray. The tide of evil that is sweeping churches is probably unstoppable but God is able to raise a standard against it. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth and for His kingdom to come. We need to pray to that end but more, we need to pray for the salvation of precious souls. People are being swallowed up by false religion by the millions. We need to intercede for them that some may come to their senses and be saved. It is time that believers get beyond their cozy, selfish little prayers and begin to storm the throne of grace with passion and tears. We need to pray for ourselves, our families and our church. We need to pray that the Lord will use us to be the salt and light He has called us to be. We need to pray for the few true believers who are caught up in false churches and we need to pray “Lord send me”.

Third, we need to preach the gospel, teach the Bible and witness like never before. We need to be pulling people “out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 23). Very few will listen but the few that will, need to be rescued and the responsibility is yours and mine.

Fourth we need to uphold Godly standards of holiness. I don’t mean the pharisaical legalism that is an outward show, but true holiness and Godly living which seeks to glorify Him in everything we do. The lines have been blurred and people are no longer able to discern between right and wrong, holy and profane, and the gospel and carnal lusts. But the Lord still has a remnant. Are we part of that remnant or have we bowed the knee to the gods of this age?