A recent article entitled "Inner Voice of a Grassroots Pastor: Is Pastor Like Little Match Girl?" CCD previously published reveals the salary issue for preachers and also shows other problems of the Chinese church.
The financial struggle of many grassroots preachers may arouse sympathy among people. But is inadequate fund the main factor of these problems? In fact, we should value a lack of preaching in the pulpit which results in spiritual malnutrition.
Then what is the message from the church pulpit about?
The church preaches too many blessings through justification by faith while too few victories by faith. It tells too many personal experiences yet too few God's word; too many wonders and miraculous signs but quite few people who overcome difficulties by faith; too many messages declaring that God meets our needs while too few on how to satisfy the heart of God; too much God's love but too few justice; too much God's mercy but too little judgment of God; too much about his infinite generosity but too little of the preciousness of salvation; too much justification by faith and too few concerning producing fruits in keeping with repentance; too much about the Lord who laid down his life for sinners but too few believers who give themselves to the Lord; too much success but too few sufferings; too much joy while too few tears.
Hence, the pulpit turns God into a greenhouse and Christians into the flowers in it. Some Christians ask God to take away difficulties as soon as they meet them, declare that this is not from God upon hindrance or claim that they will pray for you when it comes to self-denial. Over time, many Christians develop the partiality for particular kinds of spiritual food and a large percentage of them suffer from malnutrition. A huge number of believers grow slowly for they only have milk to drink when it's time to eat solid food.
The church should stress on preaching God's sermons, the perfect word of God.
Our spiritual body may have rickets if the church only proclaim blessings rather than victories. There will be deviation if we interpret the Bible by our personal experiences instead of criticizing personal experiences by the Bible. Likewise, if the church merely explains wonders and signs, we will lose what else we receive through these things for our pride.
The message from the pulpit should not only tell that God will give us daily bread and deliver us from evil, but also conveys that people are responsible to hallow God's name and seek first his kingdom and righteousness.
We should be aware that there are both joy and sufferings when we experience God.
"Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated ... They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground." (Hebrew 11:35-38)
We should receive the thing ahead with joy whether it tastes sweet or bitter.
The true word that makes people believe in God's grace leads to our taking up the cross and following the Lord, bravery in adversities, firm hope in sufferings and holding on to our faith as well as being salt and light in a crooked and depraved generation.
Then how many churches do it in this age?
Translated by Karen Luo