In recent years, the church has suffered a serious loss of believers. One pastor discovered that those who slipped away from the church were not necessarily new believers, but some old believers who had been listening to the gospel for many years. Those who were "missing" in the church were not only believers but also workers who had served the church and even core staff workers.
From North China, a pastor named Shoudao (pseudonym for safety reasons) shared this phenomenon and its three main reasons.
One reason, according to the pastor, is that “it’s not that these people don’t have the Word of God; on the contrary, they may have heard many sermons. But they have not built a strong fortress in God’s words. In other words, these people have not kept the truth, so there is no way to withstand the attacks and plunders of the enemy.”
Shoudao emphasized that Christians must build a strong fortress for their lives through the Word of God. He encouraged them to read the Bible, listen to sermons, pray, study, and preferably memorize the words by heart. When they encounter difficulties in life, God’s words come out to help them overcome the environment.
Additionally, Shoudao claimed that heretics were a contributing factor in the departure of some long-time members of the church and fellow workers. He stated that these believers are tired of the pure doctrine in the church and want to hear something new and novel. Or maybe they don’t want to enter through the narrow gate but take an easy path so that they can indulge themselves.
Many believers go through phases of boredom with the truth. With their ears itching, they can't read the Bible, listen to sermons, or open my mouth to pray or praise, having "anorexia" towards the truth. So they will not put up with sound doctrine. To suit their own desires, they gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear, turning aside myths (2 Timothy 4:3).
In fact, some heretical teachings are obviously contrary to God. For example, they encourage people to do false and filthy things, but believers are willing to follow them.
In the view of the pastor, “If someone teaches you to do false and filthy things, it must be from the devil. Many people will accept such heresies because they want to turn their ears away from the truth and indulge in the lusts of defiling passion. Fundamentally, this person may not be born again. If a person is not born again, no matter how many years he has been in the church or how much work he does in the church, he will eventually be eliminated."
In addition, many Christians in the past were filled with joy and gratitude when they met. The endless topics of discussion were how the Lord saved them as sinners or how a certain pastor or believer loved others. Today, many Christians may judge and complain about others more together: Why can a pastor do this? Why do believers talk about others behind their backs?
"We have to admit that the love of many Christians has gradually grown cold, but instead of repenting for our own coldness, we put the blame on the believers," he added.
Shoudao exhorted us, "You can't turn back because others are cold in love; you can't complain for others harm you; you can't see depravity happening in the church and say, 'Why believe?’ Nor should you stand up against the Word of God because of the weakness or betrayal of others. Don’t fall with others, but be the one who helps those who fall get up.”
When faced with things like cold love, falling, and even framing each other in the church, Shoudao said that, seeing these things, people should recall God’s words and see that this is the work of the devil. "Then you also have to be extra cautious, repent, and watch and pray for the church."
He concluded, "As 1 Timothy 4:1 says, 'The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.' Therefore, Christians must find their way to Him and build their strongholds of faith to receive eternal life, not be the tares who are sifted out."
- Translated by Abigail Wu