Several centuries ago, a radical Roman Catholic monk was sick and tired of what he was seeing in the church and decided to post his 95 protests or complaints on the door of a local church in Wittenberg Germany. You know what? I feel what this monk by the name of Martin Luther did. I too am sick and tired of what I'm seeing taking place in a lot of our local African-American churches. Before I continue with my protest, let me say that I believe many local churches in general, whether black, white, Hispanic, etc,. are in a serious state of confusion. But this post focuses on the "Black" local church because that is my experience. Like Luther, I propose to present my own list of protests or complaints and I consider this forum my "Castle" church door. Before I launch into the list of my protests, it is only fair to say that not everything in the black church (from here on out referred to as the "BC") is bad. In fact there are several things that I love about the BC: First, I love the Praise. There is nothing like urban gospel music, sung by an anointed choir. There is nothing more thrilling than sitting in an auditorium filled with on fire people singing and shouting to the Glory of God. Second, I love the preaching style. Now mind you I'm not always crazy about the content, but nobody can light and excite a room like an on fire black preacher. Third, I love some of the programs. I really appreciate the benevolent efforts that the BC tries to address. I believe it was James who said, "show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works". Amen!! Fourth, I love "black" pride.  I've never felt ashamed to be a black man when gathered with urban saints (yall who are black know what I mean). These are just a few of my favorite things about the UC. Now let's get to the heart of the matter. Listen my friends, If the Black church is to survive and thrive until Jesus comes, the following protests must be addressed and tackled.  I have like 18 protests which I will post each day as the Lord gives me strength. Your feedback is appreciated.

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Pastor, appreciate your feedback. "Semper reformanda" (Always reforming).  Yes these are certainly Universal church issues, but to be honest I can't get my arms around a universal church, but I have been for most of my life part and parcel of a local black church and my heart breaks at what "reformanda" the black church is experiencing, it ain't good.  I grew up in a black neighborhood, went to black schools, worshipped in a black church, therefore my protests are personal and experiential.  Pastor the black church should be a thermostat for the community like it once was, but now for the most part it is merely a thermometer. In fact a broken thermometer.  

The good news though, it can be fixed and that's my prayer.

Rev. Todd

Brother I agree:

I too have the same experiences as you. I am 40 years old and in my life; the Black church has undergone some of the worst changes I have seen. So to only say that the Black church is to be a thermometer for the community is short sighted. The Church as a whole is to a thermometer for the nation. Look at the culture war for our nation.  The only way that the Word of Faith theology is going to be rooted out the black church is to root it out of the church. The only way to insure Godly leadership in the church it to root out the false teachers from the church! Just something for you to think about! Lets keep the dialog going!!!

Pastor Sweet, thanks again for your comments. I had the chance to check out your home page and you are a brother after my own heart.  I love and respect DTS one of the few schools requiring THM students to study the biblical languages, one of the few schools that uphold the dispensational hermeneutic.  On my short list of seminaries that I would recommend DTS is one.  I'm also excited about your work in H-town. I assume you are a bible expositor, therefore your people are extremely blessed.  Pastor, I'm proud of what you're doing, I'll be praying for you.

NOW, to get to your post.Yes we agree, the black church has undergone some severe changes. Case in point, I am seeing a deluge of women storming the pulpits of our churches like never before. Thirty years ago a woman pastor was an oddity, today it's normalcy.  Just a point of clarity, i did not say, "that the Black church is to be the thermometer for the community".  I actually said that the black church used to be a "thermostat" but has now become a thermometer. In other words the black church used to set the agenda for the black community, NOW the black church merely reflects the agenda of the community. Pastor, I also agree, WOF theology (i.e., Pragmatic Mysticism) has done severe damage to the BC's faith and practice. Case in point, Our leaders used to be called Pastors but through WOF influence they are now called, "Bishops" or "Prophets" or "Apostles" (No offense to those who use those titles).  Pastor the damage has been done, We cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube. WOF theology is here to stay, therefore my battle is not with bad theology, but with promulgating "right" theology in the midst of the mess.  We need more men like yourself who have been trained in the Expository method to take up posts in the needy Urban communities of our nation who will spend the rest of their lives feeding the flock healthy food.

Rev. Todd

Rev. Todd

I must disagree with you WOF theology is not here to stay if we reform the church. This is the point of reformation to work through these and many other problem doctrines that are causing the church to decade.    

Pastor, thanks again for the input. Honestly Scripture and experience tell me that False teaching (WOF, New apostolic reformation, Emergent) will be with us until the end of the age.  My task as a pastor is Not try of root false teaching out of the World, my task is to root the world out of the people under my charge.  This is done through faithful, accurate, systematic, expository preaching and teaching. Pastor I don't believe that we will ever experience some nation wide revival, but I do believe we can have healthy churches with pure food and water (the word).  True reform will come only through faithfulness to God's word.

Rev. Todd

Agreed! I stand with you in preaching that the Black Church must reformed! Blessings brother!

The Black leaders must stop worrying about entertaining the congregation - they must feed them the word of God to the sheep.

Preachers cant seem to preach about the things that will upset people in the pews.

But thats why people who are seeking God even go to church - they want to be taught what God says.

After these watered down sermons a man or woman is more a two-fold child of hell than they were when they first came through the door.

But this ought not be.  God have mercy on poor black folk. 

God is going to get the preachers that are entertaining and itching these folks ears rather than preaching the scriptures that let a person know that they are on their way to hell if they dont turn to God, repent of their sins and live as Jesus and the holy saints of God have lived.

So now - the black folk with sons can forget it!  Now they are being told to keep giving your money - then you will be blessed and go to heaven no matter what sins you commit.  You can even act like you are a woman.

God have mercy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Newview, I couldn't agree more.

Lord, have Mercy indeed.

Rev. Todd

If the Black Church is to experience reform, I mean "REAL" reform, that results in Sinners being regenerated, Saints renewed and Society reformed, it MUST engage the following reformation strategies (i.e., protests):

 

Reformation strategy (protest) #5

The BC must regain a biblical verses a pragmatic philosophy of ministry. In other words, the BC mustforsake all man-centered, man-generated visions and return to Scripture for our direction. Listen, it matters not what "Bishop" thinks, the question is, "What does God think"? - Have we gotten "Bishop" and "God" confused?  For the sake of clarity, when I speak of "philosophy of ministry" i mean, How we do ministry or how we do church.  Is the way we do "church"  Biblical or  man-centered (i.e., pragmatic). I'm convinced that the way we do church today is straight out of "Lucifer's manual of church growth" vs the Bible. Read the following words of a local church pastor dealing with just these issues, "Pragmatic practices of the last days are unholy and are molding the church to the pattern of the world system. The pragmatic worldly programs that are designed to get people into the church are constantly on the rise. Some methods are unholy because of their connection to the devil’s program of our present age while other methods are not evil per say. Nevertheless, all these “user friendly” methods and approaches designed to get masses of people into the church simply are unbiblical and should not be used to replace the real reasons and purposes why people should come to church. These reasons include hearing the preaching of the Word of God, prayer, fellowship with the saints and receiving the Lord’s table. Where in the Bible do we see the apostles or elders baiting people to come into the local church ministry by using the world’s programs and agenda? Where do we see the local churches using worldly methods and gimmicks to bring the masses into the church? This is a totally foreign practice to New Testament Christianity. Therefore, a red flag should go up when we see all of these adopted methods of the world occurring within the church – wrestling for Jesus, disco for Jesus, karate for Jesus, weight lifting for Jesus, bowling for Jesus, etc.

Why does the modern church offer variety shows, drama and dance clubs? Why have they offered our teens [rap] music or whatever they want? Why has the church stooped to the low level of going out into the world or secular society of unbelievers to see what they would like in a church? It’s because God’s people have fallen into the trap of pragmatism, which tries to use whatever means it possibly can to attain its objective or goal. (In the bracket, I replaced the word rock with rap for relevance purposes).

This pastor has hit the proverbial nail on the head.  We will never impact the world being "like" the world. We must return to the Scripture for the agenda on how to do ministry, or else.

More to come...

Rev. Todd

 

 

 If the Black Church is to experience reform, I mean "REAL" reform, that results in Sinners being regenerated, Saints renewed and Society reformed, it MUST engage the following reformation strategies (i.e., protests):

 

Reformation strategy (protest) #6

 

The BC pulpit must return to expository preaching (This is the art of clearly explaining the text of Scripture). Topical or thematic preaching in my opinion is not the best long term preaching strategy. Several great advocates of the Expository method gives excellent reasons why the expository method is the BEST method:

1. It gives glory to God alone- Expository preaching gives glory to God, which ought to be
the ultimate end of all we do.
2. It makes the preacher study God’s Word- Expository Preaching demands that the
preacher himself become a student of the Word of God.
3. It helps the congregation- Expository Preaching enables the congregation to learn the
Bible in the most obvious and natural way.
4. It demands treatment of the entire Bible- Expository Preaching prevents the preacher
from avoiding difficult passages or from dwelling on his favorite texts.
5. It provides a balanced diet- Expository preaching assures the congregation of enjoying a
balanced diet of God’s Word.
6. It eliminates Saturday night fever- Expository preaching liberates the preacher from the
pressure of last-minute preparation on Saturday night.

7.  It gives the preacher a fine opportunity to model Bible Study.

8.  It provides accountability - Exposing the truth of a given text holds the preacher accountable in such areas as: preaching what God says and not what the preacher wants to say; makes the preacher work—a lazy preacher is inexcusable; forces preachers to deal with passages that might otherwise be overlooked or even intentionally avoided.

9.  It promotes Spiritual Maturity - people receive strength through a faithful diet of expositional preaching. A reservoir of Bible truth is built within them that enables them to face times of crisis.

10. It sets us limits - It restricts us to the scriptural text, since expository preaching is biblical preaching.

11. It demands integrity - preachers must seek to answer the question, what did the original author intend his words to mean?

12. It identifies the pitfalls we must at all costs avoid—forgetfulness and disloyalty - The forgetful expositor loses sight of his text by going off at a tangent and following his own fancy. The disloyal expositor appears to remain with his text, but strains and stretches it into something quite different from its original and natural meaning.

13. It gives us confidence to preach - If we are expounding God’s Word with
integrity and honesty, we can be very bold.

These are just a few of the good reasons why the Expository method is the preferred method of preaching.  If Exposition is unfamiliar or new to you, may I suggest that there are many great resources available to aid in your exposure and competency in this critically important area:

1.  The E.K. Bailey International Expository preaching conference (Held annually in Houston Tx at Concord baptist church).

2.  The Annual Shepherds conference held at Grace Community Church in Calif.(Shepherdsconference.org)

3. The Expositor's conference held at Christ fellowship church in Mobile Alabama this Sept ( info@christfellowship.cc. or call (251) 461-2242.

4.  Read Haddon Robinson's classic text on preaching entitled, "Biblical preaching".

5.  Read John MacArthur's book entitled, "Rediscovering Expository preaching".

I hope this helps and here's to a new course in our preaching.

Our peoples lives depend on it.

 

Rev. Todd

 

If the Black Church is to experience reform, I mean "REAL" reform, that results in Sinners being regenerated, Saints renewed and Society reformed, it MUST engage the following reformation strategies (i.e., protests):

 

Reformation strategy (protest) #7

 

 The BC must protect the roll of membership. The people that should be members of our local churches should be the same ones that are members of the Universal church (i.e., Born-again followers of Christ). The reason why our churches are filled with practicing homosexuals, drunks, abusers, pagans, heretics,etc., is because our churches have failed to guard the front doors and are extending an undiscerning right hand of fellowship to any Tom, Dick and Harry. What fellowship does light have with darkness? Also pastoral leadership must not be afraid to clean the roll of those who haven't darkened the doors of the church for years. The BC must guard it's associations. NO!! we don't all serve nor believe in the same God.  We must guard the sanctity of our communion (1 Cor 6).

Pastor Doug Richey gives some clear arguments for what a church gains by protecting the roll of membership:

1.  A church demonstrates faithfulness to the descriptive New Testament metaphors regarding the church (we are a: flock – Jn. 10:16; temple – Eph. 2:21, 22; household – Eph. 2:19; body – Eph. 1:22-23; church – Matt. 16:18, 1 Tim. 3:15; bride – Rev. 19:7, 21:9; new humanity – Eph. 4:22-24; holy nation – 1 Pet. 2:9; royal priesthood – 1 Pet. 2:9; a chosen people – 1 Pet. 2:9; possession of God – 1 Pet. 2:9). There’s not one metaphor used by God that allows for loose, unaccountable, or independent interactions between fellow believers. It is actually impossible to reflect these truths by justifying or normalizing non-participatory membership.

 2.  A church protects the purity of the body. We understand the protective role the Body of Christ plays as we help each other when faced with temptation, difficulty, or confusion. When a church emphasizes the importance of regular participation, it protects against the ‘drift’ that so subtly develops in the lives of individual members that, more often than not, opens the door to greater susceptibility to sin and distraction.

 3.  A church protects the reputation of Christ, His Gospel, and His Church. When a church’s membership swells well beyond the number actually in regular participation, it invariably ends up with large numbers of people who are living lives apart from the work of Christ and reflecting the appetites, activities, and mindset of the world. This in turn negatively reflects upon the work of God when people in the community know that these ‘members’ are not different. There is no longer any obvious distinction between the Body of Christ and the world. I was disturbed by what we found in this area when we began to dig a little.

 4. A church becomes more effective and useful in evangelism and discipleship. ‘They’re just a bunch of hypocrites,’ is one of the most common criticisms of the church. Unfortunately, this is true of most churches if you consider that most churches have large numbers of their members living in sin and yet still claim membership. When a church takes a biblical position related to godly character and congregational participation, it sends a message to the community that it truly believes what it preaches and will not be an accomplice to ungodliness. This in turn gives greater weight to evangelistic efforts and further highlights the significance of discipleship.

 5.  A church protects against common misunderstandings regarding the meaning and significance of membership. Unfortunately, many people have distorted views of membership. Many think membership is a reflection of their family connection. Many think in sentimental terms regarding their childhood involvement. Still others think their membership means they’re ‘good with God.’ These thoughts and many others reflect a misunderstanding of membership and the Christian life. This in part accounts for the reason it is often said that the membership roll is a great evangelistic prospect list. This should not be the case.

 6.  A church avoids undermining the clear message of texts like Hebrews 10:23-25. A church must clearly communicate that it is sinful disobedience when a person does not regularly participate in congregational worship and ministry. To do otherwise, indicates that the church doesn’t really believe what the Bible commands.

 7.  A church demonstrates integrity. A church simply lacks integrity when it represents itself to other congregations, denominational entities, and organizations as three, four, and sometimes six times larger than it really is. These reports are often used in statistical reports, chaplaincy placement, ministry effectiveness reports, etc. By the continued reporting of inaccurate numbers, we end up with distorted reports.

 8. A church shows its commitment to the value of close and interdependent relationships. We know that the Bible not only assumes but commands close, interdependent relationships between fellow believers. By not addressing the problem of non-participatory members, we send a confusing message. We say one thing and yet normalize something far different.

 9.  A church provides a context where its members are truly encouraged and shown what it means to fulfill the ‘One Another’ passages of God’s Word. The only context where there is ongoing opportunity to fulfill these passages is the local church. One cannot regularly fulfill these expectations generally within the Church universal. This is where we discover the significance and role of the local Church.

 10. A church more clearly defines the context and nature of pastoral ministry and oversight. We have long forgotten that the terms pastor and pastoral are related to animal husbandry. The Bible draws often from the cultural settings of its audience to communicate important truths. When God uses shepherding terminology, He intends for us to make certain connections. It would be seen as foolish and negligent for a shepherd, who’s involved in pastoral responsibilities, to say he has a flock of 1000 but has no clue where 700 are and serves as though that’s acceptable.

 11. A church protects the heart, manner, and centrality of Christ-honoring worship. One of the clearest ways Christ is glorified in this wicked and decaying worked is through the worship He receives from His unified people gathered together in local congregations. Paul writes in Romans 15:5-6, ‘Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ This cannot possibly be reflected in the local church when two-thirds to three-fourths of its membership doesn’t care to even show up. But, when a church takes a biblical position regarding membership and acts upon it, it no longer has to account for the reason so few care to worship Christ with unity, passion, and thanksgiving.

In His Grip,

Rev. Todd

If the Black Church is to experience reform, I mean "REAL" reform, that results in Sinners being regenerated, Saints renewed and Society reformed, it MUST engage the following reformation strategies (i.e., protests):

 

Reformation strategy (protest) #8

The BC must protect the sanctity of the family. We as the people of God must stop supporting those societal vehicles that are destroying the family.  

For example:

(1).  We must NEVER support unbiblical divorces (The Bible is clear, God HATES Divorce). The ONLY divorce that the church supports are those that the Bible declares as justifiable (i.e., Abandonment, Adultery)

(2).  We must stop being silent about child sexual and spousal abuse. 

(3).  We must stop being silent on homo, bi (ie., down low) and transexuality. 

(4).  We must stop being silent on teen pregnancy

(5).  We must stop being silent on "Shacking Up" and every other sexual immorality warring against the family. 

(6).  We must stop being silent about abortion (An excellent website dealing with abortion and Urban people is Blackgenocide.org).  While we are on the subject of Abortion, please watch the following video called 180, it will impact your heart on this crucial issue destroying our families.

In closing, the best way for us to protect the sanctity of the family in our communities is through the clear, systematic teaching of Scripture.

Rev. Todd

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