The days of the Apostles were marked by sound doctrine, and growth by multiplication. Later, the successive stages of “church development” were plagued by doctrinal drifting. After the Reformation, denominations formed and were quickly divided over everything from Bible doctrine to the shape of the steeple. Diversity made it hard for many to know what to believe.
Today the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. There is a cry for all “people of faith” to celebrate the things they have in common, and ignore their age old differences. The problem? …what they have in common is not always truth. Churches are laying aside their doctrinal distinctives for the sake of unity. There is increasing pressure to be more tolerant of others, more accepting of beliefs that are contrary to our own, or the Bible.
In the beginning, an increasing number of people were hearing the gospel year after year, but now that number is decreasing. In the beginning the church was the redeemed bride of Christ, but in the end, the Bible tells us that the church will fall away from everything that Christ taught. We are certainly moving in that direction.
Some will disregard my remarks as being alarmist, outdated or just ignorant. Others may accuse me of being “one of those legalist pastors who believes everybody should come to his church.” But my goal is not to have the largest church, and I hate legalism – No one will ever enter heaven because they have faithfully “kept the rules.” Salvation is by faith in Christ, plus nothing.
Still there are those who argue, “But the more ‘progressive’ churches have more people than your church.” That is certainly true, but again, it is not about church or numbers, it is about God and truth. Where do you stand with relation to God and truth? Remember, there were more people outside the ark than within.