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Summary: The final days of the Church Age will be marked by increased religious fervour and decreased commitment to divine truth. The pulpits will progressively capitulate to the spirit of this present age.

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“And now, go, write it before them on a tablet

and inscribe it in a book,

that it may be for the time to come

as a witness forever.

For they are a rebellious people,

lying children,

children unwilling to hear

the instruction of the LORD;

who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’

the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right;

speak to us smooth things,

prophesy illusions,

leave the way, turn aside from the path,

let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.’”

The earnest Christian will not have been walking in The Way for many days before she hears of the Laodicean Era, a reference to the final period of this present Age of Grace. The reference speaks of a time when the true Faith will be nearly extirpated from the earth. That dreadful era will be marked by mass defections from the Faith once for all delivered to the saints. Though true faith will not be eliminated, proclamation of the Word will be truncated, attenuated, vitiated. What is not often understood is that matters won’t seem particularly dreadful to those occupying the pews during this Laodicean period. In fact, religious fervour will be vibrant throughout this period. At that time, the ecumenical dream that has been long held by many church leaders will have been realised beyond their wildest imaginations.

I’m not a prophet, though I do believe that all who occupy the sacred desk in this Church Age are appointed to preach prophetically. We who bear the honorific “Pastor” are responsible to preach in such a way that the will of God is made evident to all who listen, though we have no mandate to serve as seers. Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder if the absence of the prophetic voice from the pulpit presages the dark days of the Tribulation—that dreadful time when though mankind will be religious, the most will be largely lost?

In fact, I wonder if Laodicean preaching is not even now dominating the modern pulpit. As churches focus on entertaining the masses, and as multiplied voices instruct the preacher how to make his message palatable to sinful listeners, the pressure mounts to temper the message, presenting just enough religion to sound Christian, but not so much as to be offensive. Modern belief has been defined as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”—a new religion that encourages confessing Christ as Lord without demanding submission to His reign over one’s life. Tragically, what is being presented is not simply a watered-down version of the Christian Faith; it is, in fact, not-Christianity. Thus, youth ministers are to be entertaining, youth activities must always be fun, Sunday School teachers must be enchanting and preaching must avoid offending. Especially must preachers avoid insisting upon adherence to biblical doctrine.

Laodicean preaching is not new—it simply is growing in popularity among a populace that is increasingly ignorant of the Word of God and of the will of God. Focused on fulfilling their own desires, contemporary worshippers flock to the latest spokesman for self-fulfilment and self-gratification. Pastoral web sites focus on instructing readers in the art of making people comfortable, discouraging addressing sinful behaviour or speaking of controversial issues. Tragically, Laodicean preaching does appear to be in the ascendency in this day.

LAODICEAN PREACHING IS DRIVEN BY THE PEOPLE AND NOT BY THE LORD.

“Go, write it before them on a tablet

and inscribe it in a book,

that it may be for the time to come

as a witness forever.

For they are a rebellious people,

lying children,

children unwilling to hear

the instruction of the LORD.”

Dorothy Sayers, a well-known British author, possessed a knack for unmasking misperceptions concerning the Faith. In her day, many people professing concern for the state of the Faith, attempted to redefine Christian practise and teachings. Their efforts were fuelled by an apparent boredom with presentation of doctrine. Sayers countered this apathy and biblical ignorance of those who professed themselves Christian. Tragically, despite the passage of time, little has changed in the restless search for alternatives that will make Christianity palatable.

Consider some of the arguments Sayers presented during the period when the British were hard-pressed by Hitler’s armies. “Official Christianity, of late years, has been having what is known as a bad press. We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine—dull dogma as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama.”

“Now, we may call [Christian] doctrine exhilarating, or we may call it devastating; we may call it revelation, or we may call it rubbish; but if we call it dull, the words have no meaning at all. That God should play the tyranny over man is a dismal story of unrelieved oppression; that man should play the tyrant over man is the usual dreary record of human futility; but that man should play the tyrant over God and find Him a better Man that himself is an astonishing drama indeed. Any journalist, hearing of it for the first time, would recognize it as news; those who did hear it for the first time actually called it news, and good news at that; though we are likely to forget that the word Gospel ever meant anything so sensational.”

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