Not even the most religious of places are safe from evil. In fact, the Corrupt Church is often portrayed as much worse than a simple Supervillain Lair or secular League Of Evil, because when even holy priests and ministers turn to the dark side, they can psychologically manipulate the masses with mere superstition, so what hope is there for society? Tends to be highly influential over political leaders to stress the church's power over everyone.
The Strawman Conservative may be a member, or even a leader, in one of these. Other villains from the Corrupt Church can include Knights Templar, Sinister Ministers, and other typical ambitious villains using a convenient power structure for their own ends. The Creepy Cathedraltends to be their base of operations. If a work is set in the modern day, then the leader of theCorrupt Church will often be a televangelist, in which case the "straw Christian conservative" aspects will be ratcheted Up to Eleven.
If the Corrupt Church is used for satire, the Crystal Dragon Jesus might appear.
Distinct from the Path of Inspiration because the Corrupt Church actually started out as a legitimate religion but has Gone Horribly Wrong. Unlike theReligion of Evil, an openly evil religion, the teachings may still be sound, and there may be good-hearted people in it yet — usually laity or low-ranking clergy, even a Good Shepherd — though neither of these can be counted on.
Compare with the Cult and Church of Happyology. Contrast with the Saintly Church. Contrast also with Church Militant, as the church is not evil per se, but at least badass.
THE CORRUPT CHURCH”
“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depth of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. ” (Rev 2:18-29)
The church at “Thyatira” was very similar to the church at Pergamos in that they also subjected themselves to false doctrine and followed after evil and corrupt teachings. Despite KNOWING the truth, many of the believers there welcomed the false teachings of one who PROFESSED to be a “prophetess”, but who was actually a servant of the devil, sent for the sole purpose of seducing the servants of the Lord away from the truth. The doctrine this woman taught led many into the depth of sin, and although she was given by the Lord opportunity to repent, she refused and chose to not only continue LIVING the lie but to continue spreading the evils of this falsity throughout the church. One may questioned how is it so that this woman could so easily enter in and through the “power of persuasion” and “seduction” lure many away from following the truth into acts of fornication and the worshiping of idols. If these were indeed men of God, how were they so easily persuaded into submission of false doctrine. The answer to this question is very simple. When we walk according to the Spirit, we do those things OF the spirit. In like manner, when we walk according to the flesh, we work the deeds of the flesh. Although KNOWING the truth, these believers allowed their flesh to do the leading and once that door was open, they then opened themselves to receive the deception of the enemy. Whenever we walk according to the LUST of our flesh, we reject those things of the Spirit for the flesh is at constant war against the spirit. As we follow the flesh it will lead to spiritual decay and death as it is written: “For they that are AFTER the flesh do MIND the things of the flesh; but they that are AFTER the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded IS death; but to be spiritually minded IS life and peace.” (Rom 8:5-6) and also “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation's, wrath, strife, sedition's, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:17-21) The believers in Thyatira who followed after the teachings of the false prophetess Jezebel, no doubt rejected the divine order of God the Father in allowing their flesh to lead, and subjected the spirit to it's authority. For just as it is given by God a DIVINE ORDER within the church, within our households, within our lives, there is also given divine order within each individual. SPIRIT FIRST, then soul (emotions) and following these things, the body (flesh). Whenever we step out of God's PERFECT order, we only bring havoc and calamity to ourselves and there is a heavy price to pay when we are led by the flesh, just as there are blessings that await those who are led by the Spirit.
The spirit of “Jezebel” hovers greatly in and around the church today. It enters the heart of one who's set against the PROPER ORDER of the things of God and is allowed by those who are bent on following after the weakness of their flesh. It is a very manipulative, sneaky, unruly, seductive, prideful, and boastful spirit whose sole intent is to lead man away from God's natural order that leads to life, to the sins of the flesh that leads to death. It enters the church not in secret, but makes itself known and those who are walking according to the Spirit can instantly identify it's presence. It hates the things of God thus, it speaks opposite of the truth and sadly many have fallen prey to it. It often disguises itself in the form of persuasive and alluring speech, and/or through a seductive physical presence and because many are so focus on the outward, they take the bait and are immediately drawn to such. Having the foolish notion that “if it looks and sounds good, then it must be good”, however because a “piece of fruit” may APPEAR ripen and ready to eat outwardly, INWARDLY it may be rotten to the core. You will not know until you peel away its' layers.
This spirit has been sent to corrupt the church, the heart of the believer, and so many have eaten of it's bitter and tasteless fruit and have digested it well without concern that it shall lead to spiritual decay. Desiring an excuse to continue in sinful behavior, they open themselves up to a doctrine that does not condemn sin, but rather condones it. And willfully submits to such that they may work the works of the flesh without conviction. But, the word of God condemns all sin, especially the sin of fornication. Why? Because when one commits sexually sin, he does so against his own body which is the TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit and it is grievous to The Holy Spirit of God. That which we join ourselves to, becomes ONE, even that of joining ourselves “spiritually” to our Lord, we become one spirit with Him. “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1st Cor 7:17) When a believer is joined to Christ, there is a spiritual UNION , thus when one indulges in sexual sin, he/she is no longer honoring that blessed union with Christ but are in a sense committing spiritual adultery against Him seeing as we were bought with a great price and ALL belongs to him, even our bodies. For one to continue in sexual immorality, will place such in “The Corrupt Church”, for this sort of sin ONLY leads to corruption BOTH physically and spiritually! “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is IN YOU, which ye have OF GOD, and ye are Not YOUR OWN? For ye are bought with a price: therefore GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, and IN YOUR SPIRIT, which ARE GOD'S.” (1st Cor 6:18-20)
A word to those who are married, KEEP THE SPIRIT OF JEZEBEL FAR FROM YOU! For again, this spirit is sent to destroy the natural plans and DIVINE ORDER of God. The blessed union between husband and wife is identical to the union between Christ and The Church. There IS DIVINE ORDER. Just as the Church (who is the BRIDE OF CHRIST) is to submit herself to Christ, so the wife must submit herself to her husband. And, just as the body of Christ cannot usurp authority over the head, (Jesus Christ our Lord), neither shall a wife usurp authority over her husband but must surrender to the leadership and follow after the ways of the Lord for a successful and blessed union. If your husband has not completely surrendered to The Lord, pray for him my sisters, seeking the Holy Spirits help in all things that he may become the husband God has called him to be. And husbands, you must LOVE your wives as Christ LOVES his bride THE CHURCH. Be kind, patient, and tenderhearted, just as Christ Jesus is to us. See HIM as your example and FOLLOW HIM! You are not a dictator, but are called to be your wife's SPIRITUAL covering just as Christ is the covering for His bride, The church. Therefore, be gentle and loving to your wives in speech and in deed. To attempt to do it any other way, will only lead to corruption. For the spirit of Jezebel seeks to enter in and destroy the power of this union called “marriage”, IN the church, and IN the households of husbands and wives. PLEASE…be aware, be SPIRITUALLY aware.
This 4th letter in the book of Revelation is sent to the church at Thyatira. There is warning to those who would teach false doctrine and ALL who would submit themselves to these false teachings, giving themselves over to sin: “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, EXCEPT THEY REPENT OF THEIR DEEDS.” Surrender ALWAYS to the TRUTH. Allow NO other doctrine to enter into your spiritual ears and heart. Keep yourselves pure and holy, by the Power of the Holy Spirit until that great and coming day of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. BEHOLD…HE COMES
Has church become too commercialized?
There has been a growing trend in the church market. There are more books, websites, and programs for church leaders and their teams than ever before. Church growth, Gen X services, post modernism, authentic communities, emerging movements, worship experiences, and planting missional churcheshave all been the buzzwords over the last decade and has led to many of the fore mentioned products. It seems that Christianity is a big business. You can even bling out your dog now in the latest JC apparel.
I recently asked a pastor about how the Exponential Conference went last week and before he replied theword jumped into my head – commercialized. He said the conference was more about speakers promoting their books and agendas than church planting. I won't go into my personal experience with the National New Church Conference but I can totally see my friend's point of view.
Christianity has become too commercialized in some aspects and I think we need to get a reign on it.
It appears in some circles that selling books, CD's, sermon series, speaking gigs, metrosexual identities, and being the top blogger is the “in thing”. This has really been observed in the church planting world and evident by the groupies who continually blog about stalking their idol at conferences or who market their personal blog more than their church…all the while wearing long sleeve black shirts with big collars unbuttoned to their chest with faded jeans, Doc Martens, and a soul patch or frosted hair to match.
You know what I would like to hear more about and see?
Jesus Christ, biblical inerrancy, small guys in the trenches, life transformation, spiritual discipline, serving and washing feet, becoming the least, humility, toned down church marketing and advertising, and the realization that people NOT in church or our faith see what's happening but many Christians don't.
Please know that I have personally struggled with these issues myself and I thank Jesus every day that I see in a new perspective. I'm jacked up too, but friends, we have to start looking at Christianity in America through a new lenses or we will reap what we have sown.
I believe that you can't go anywhere to find God no more than than the fish swim to find the sea or the bird flies to find the air... You are the church.... Church was never ever a building but instead a life style that projects the love of God. Each day I rise I am the living walking talking church ready to submit to the will of God. But sadly somewhere along the line church has become confused with the idea of being a building... Church has become commercialized.... a financial entity set up to deceive and prey on the ignorance and vulnerability of the lost and hopeless who are desperately trying to find the Truth in a world of lies.
For thousands of years, the Church was everything for communities. People not only went to church for worship and Christian fellowship but for connection to information and the community around them. Church was a major weekly event in people's lives, because there wasn't much to rival it. This was the time before a plethora of leisure activities, TV, movie theatres, radio, Internet, telephones and massive amounts of publishing on every subject imaginable. We look to the media for everything in the West; including influences on theology. The amount of messages competing out there for our attention and acceptance are so varied that it's nothing short of overwhelming. The Church is no longer seen as the sole proprietor of truth and spirituality. Church attendance continues to drop. But just listen to songs on the radio, dialogue on TV and in movies. Theological messages—veiled and not so veiled—are everywhere, creating a swamp of spirituality. And so the Church struggles to have its voice heard.
The problem is that the Church believes it must compete with commercial enterprises, mass marketing and the entertainment industry to reach and influence people. Our society is bombarded by hidden messages and subtle imperatives as never before in history. These powerful messages come to us through ads, entertainment and even company logos (icons of identity). These messages imply that to succeed, to be loved, to be beautiful, to be influential, we must conform to or buy into something. And so we do. It is absurd.
Many western churches are using these worldly methods in hope of attracting listeners, converts and members—as if to say somehow it will be our arts, programs and entertainment that attract people to the Gospel. The question has become, how can we make Christianity and church look cool? Or, at least, how do we keep Christianity and church from looking uncool? How do we market God to a world of consumers? These are entirely the wrong questions. These questions lead us into a paradigm of unbiblical values.
I know a pastor that calls Sunday morning “show-time.” How does calling church “show-time” impact theology and our message? Most ministers I know spend much of their time event planning and advertising for things like movie nights, sporting events, meals, band rehearsals, marketing schemes and special effects for Sunday morning service. If these things are paramount, then seminaries should be giving MBA's instead of MDiv's.
I am not saying that having sports programs, videos, special lighting, dramas, rock bands and marketing is evil and without merit. But when these things become the focus, they pull us off track. When the majority of a minister's time is spent on all these cool tools, there is a problem. I realize there will always be different kinds of churches. That is not just a fact, but a necessity. Diversity is essential. The Reformation taught us that.
The question is, where is the focus? And you can easily answer that by looking at how time and money is spent. Many churches are focused on what is called the A, B, Cs: attendance, building and cash. Many churches spend 90 percent of their time and resources on preparing for Sunday mornings and 10 percent on discipleship. You value most what you measure. I am measuring the disconnected status and lack of spiritual depth among many Christians in the Church. I am calling for a shift in focus.
We want people to have this enriching spiritual life, but we communicate on Sunday mornings that most of it is fluff: i.e. flashy music, videos, dramas, dances, cool lighting, announcements, ads for upcoming events and multiple transitions. Many times, we create spectators rather than participators. I am not saying there are not good results with the model that we have. Many people have come to know Christ and have matured. But just because I can use a wrench instead of a hammer to drive nails doesn't make it the best tool for the job.
The problem is many ministers of our time believe that the Gospel and Christian community is not enough to pull in the masses. Instead they try and attract people with marketing methods because the world has persuaded them that this is how to reach people. The result is that many churches have forgotten how to preach the Gospel. The Gospel has been marginalized in all our motivational sermons, programs, busyness and fun. The focus and trust is not on the power of the Gospel but in our powers of persuasion. What did Paul say in 1 Corinthians 2:4? “ My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power” (TNIV).
Unfortunately, the power of God in the proclamation and revelation of the Gospel has been minimized. Our trust in church growth theory, imported and translated from corporate America, has shifted our focus. The non-Christians are now called the “un-churched” or in other words, the “un-institutionalized.” Is that our goal, to “church” people? And so we wonder why people are feeling dry and disconnected from God even though they are active in their church. It's a vicious cycle.
Nevertheless, I believe the Church is still vital. We are relevant, but not as a show, product or media. Church is not in that worldly category. It's when you try and put church in that category that things go wrong, like trying to fit a square peg in a circular hole. Church is a sanctuary, an alternative from all the shows, products and media. Church should be simple in preparation, presentation and participation. Church should be a time of undistracted prayer and worship—a time of learning and fellowship. But we have corrupted these virtues for the sake of competing with a multimedia and commercialized world. The simple is subversive today. That's why you hear statements like “simplify and intensify.” Simple is counter-cultural. I recommend that we take the same time and money used to make church what it is now into a simpler form. I dare say most have no idea what that would even look like.
Once again, we need a change in focus. The Western Church has tried hard to remain relevant to the modern world around it by trusting worldly methods and simultaneously but futilely rejecting those methods true values of consumerism; which creates total confusion.
Churches are not tooled for such simplicity, nor do they have a vision for it. They have multiple full time and part time staff members to help create and maintain all the programs and methods; to keep the church running like a YMCA or Broadway production. It's not easy to change. People's livelihoods are at stake to one degree or another. But change is never easy and some changes are impossible with men. But nothing is impossible with God. God can change His Church and use us to reach more people if we shift our trust onto him and away from the methods of the world.