…the pew will follow. People are not deserting the church because of the pew, but because of the pulpit.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
It was Pentecost, and devout Jewish men had gathered in Jerusalem to commemorate it. These were not ordinary men, but the most devout, the most spiritually mature men that the Jewish nation had to offer. But Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, stood up before them and rebuked them for their role in the crucification of Jesus, and the prophets that came before Him. When they recognized their sin, many of them repented before God. The result was that thousands of people came to Christ in one day. And many thousands after that. Because, when the leaders repent, then the pew will soon follow.
Nothing Wrong Here
The strangest thing (perhaps) about this singular event in church history, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, was that the leaders of the church seemed totally aware that they had done ANYTHING wrong! Peter had to provide a catalog of their recent sins, in order for their eyes to be open to their own sin!
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
It seems astonishing to the writer that these men seemed to be clueless as to their role in crucifying no less than the Son of God Himself! It took an outpouring of the Holy Spirit through Peter, as a willing vessel to convince them. And then, only SOME OF THEM believed!
Today, our pulpits are full of men and women, many devout, many not so devout, that are calling for change in the pew. All while church attendance hits an all-time low, and continues to decline. And while leaders and members lament the loss of men and young people from the church, and blame a love for sin and the world for this loss, statistics indicate that the pulpit is now just as sinful as the world outside the church. No wonder men and young people are not flocking to get in. They see very little difference in behavior.
The fact is that shows like the “Preachers of LA” highlight the fact that many leading Pastors and Bishops are every bit as materialistic, many as carnal, many as selfish as the average citizen, whether a church member or not. There is no longer an expectation that joining a church will make your life better, or even make you a better person. It might make you greedy, more materialistic, or it might lead to “blessings” from “seed faith offerings” (if you believe that kind of thing), but the men and women in the pulpit are not the types of examples we would necessarily want our children to follow as they move into adulthood.