Here is the original message to this website which prompted my response, which follows. First, here's the problem, a common one, outlined by a brother from Canada:
Subject: prophecy. Alan and Pat, Forgive me for being so short on details in my original e-mail. I am from a town in Ontario, Canada and I attend a local church (names omitted by Alan). I am 63 years old. I know that you must be very busy, so I will keep this brief. I have just read your book "Goodbye America, Goodbye Britain" which, among other things, predicted the monetary collapse that has since occurred in the US.
Our pastor, I'm sure, is a born again Christian but I feel that he is missing the mark with our congregation. I believe that the majority has no idea of end times events let alone how today's news headlines are impacting on the soon return of our Lord. Alan comments: I will speak at any church in the USA, Canada or the UK which invites me, subject to my schedule. It is time to become informed and be able to make sense - true, Biblical sense - of the tumult going on in the world.
Time is short. Committed Christians need to do some serious study of Bible prophecy - which comprises between a quarter and a third of Scripture! The problem is, most pastors know little of this having not been adequately taught in their Bible colleges.
With our background in the media and constant monitoring of events in Israel and elsewhere, we are well placed to fill in the blanks. The full picture is astonishing and validates every Biblical prophecy, particularly in relation to Israel - a nation which didn't exist for around 1,900 years until re-born in 1948. Our reader's comments continue below......
I have stayed at this church because it gives me a balance ot teaching in areas other than eschatology; however, I feel that our pastors are failing to teach the whole word of God. I approached the senior pastor in August of last year (2010) just before he went on a three month sabbatical and one month he addressed Christ's return based on Mark 13 for all of 35 minutes. You can imagine how much material was skipped!
What I would like is some advice on how to approach him on the subject and whether this is a healthy church in which to stay.Thank you for your time and consideration,God Bless you and Pat,Sincerely,Ralph B........My advice follows:
Hello Dear Brother Ralph.
We sympathize totally. You are far from alone. We could tell tales of church troubles and a lack of sound teaching, especially on prophecy, from all over North America, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, South America and so on. You would be astonished.
Your church sounds like it doesn't fall into the main categories in that much of the teaching is sound. For this you can at least be thankful, as it is uncommon. When I speak at conferences Pat and I are repeatedly told similar stories. A common one often goes something like this: "My grandfather founded our church. It grew and the Lord blessed it. The Gospel was preached and souls were saved.
"A few years back our pastor retired and a young man took over. He brought in a rock band and we were unhappy with the music, which seemed worldly. Then, we did a course of Rick Warren's teachings and the ministry team appeared one day in identical casual clothes.
"We were told we would become seeker-friendly, would not bother too much about doctrine and would try and get in lots more young people. We needed more people as most of us had grey hair.
“Some new people did come in, but they weren't given any instruction from the Bible. That was deemed too controversial and challenging. Prophecy was no longer taught as we were told it was negative. The world wanted positive preaching, plus a good coffee bar in the foyer. People liked being told how much God loved them and wanted to bless them (true, but far from the whole story!)
"Some of us challenged this and were told that we were disruptive and, if we didn't like the way the church was being led, we should leave. Many of us did." For Rick Warren you could substitute a number of other trends, like The Emergent Church (a return to mysticism with bells, smells and neo Catholicism), "experience church," where all kinds of odd spiritual events allegedly happen and are all accepted as moves of God, however bizarre they are. Then there is the blasphemous notion that the church has replaced Israel. And so on.
I would say, from what I see and hear, that far and away the vast majority of what are deemed "churches" are really either empty shells, utterly wrong theologically or following New Age trends, "success orientated" preaching and much else that is wrong. The compromised, lukewarm, Laodicean church.
Another big problem is that even well-meaning pastors, like yours, are not taught prophecy in their theological colleges, so are unable to understand it themselves, despite the fact that nearly a third of the Bible was prophetic when it was written. They avoid it, sometimes for fear of seeming ignorant.
Time is short and the Lord told us that this is exactly how it would be in the days immediately prior to His return- "will there be faith on the earth when the Lord returns?"
We have written about this extensively in our three books, two of which are currently available from our web shop, and I have taught about it on DVDs and when I tour. There are many articles in our archive on, for example, compromisers like Rick Warren - you can call them up via our search engine, top right. So, what to do? You could draw your leaders' attention to some of the teachers and sites I mention later, including this one.
Perhaps you could show them some of our books. This may spark some interest. You could point out that there is a special blessing in Revelation for those who study this book, which sums up all the Bible's prophetic themes. If this fails, don't waste too much time in a church with deaf ears.
Our dear friend Dr Larry Spargimino has written a great article on forming a house church. It is on our website and you can call it up. It is the best guide I have ever read.
I think small groups of believers, gathering in homes for serious Bible study and worship, at least two days a week, is the way to go for many people who have no good church within easy reach. I doubt any major denomination is going to change much, other than for the worse.
There are individual pastors and church leaders who invite people like me to speak, but these godly men are usually found in small churches in little towns. I don't get asked to any "mega churches"! I would say things they didn't want to hear - they have "itching ears." I do not think the model of "pastor leads and controls the church" is Biblical in any case - there should be a plurality of elders, which would check the power of any one man.
Our fellowship follows this model. A few senior men, including me, take turns in expounding the word (although I am not an elder.) There are good men and true, with a love for the truth, who have major ministries. We love Dr David Reagan, one of the finest Bible teachers and preachers I know. His ministry is on one of the links on our website and you can access scores of his fine TV programs, magazine articles and so on.
The ministry is Lamb and Lion ministries and the TV program, available on satellite, is called Christ in Prophecy. It is a must watch in our home- absolutely number one. All our links are to people we know and trust, men who know the truth and proclaim it fearlessly. Men like my inspiration and mentor Dr. Noah Hutchings of South West Radio Ministries- swrc.com , another of our links Listen to their great archive of radio programs.
Or, in England, Tony Pearce. For Biblical teaching of the highest order, go to Arnold Fructenbaum's site. He is at our little church in England for a teaching week-end again this year and we are all looking forward to teaching out of the top drawer. Some of John Ankerberg's TV programs are excellent, although we think he should be a little more discerning with one or two of his speakers. So, to sum up: good teaching is available via the web.
Consider getting together with a small group of like-minded souls with a hunger for the word. Do serious Bible study - the inoculation against deception. Get to know as many other small groups as possible over an area of, say, 30 miles. Consider, after a while, having special days when you can invite people like Dave Reagan up to speak to a collection of small groups, in a well advertised public meeting. The public IS interested in prophecy, unlike the church. I wish you every success, in His name.
Meanwhile, our books are full of Biblical truth which it is vital to understand in these end times. Every news item from the Middle East shows that the end of the Church Age is imminent with the rapture coming very close. Take a look at our web shop to get more resource materials - and consider buying a box of books for your church. We ship them worldwide at cost. Contact me for prices. - Alan Franklin