And I tell you, .... on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(Matthew 16:18 ESV)
There is no question that the Lord Jesus Christ is building His church upon the rock of the truth presented by Peter here. There is no amount of worldly or Satanic intimidation that can yield any fruit to this end. He has already given His life to redeem her for Himself. He will soon come for her with great splendour as His own bride.
So this article does not seem to downplay the power of Christ in establishing the church to be what He wants it to be. However, as a country we must be alive to the ills that are seemingly bedevilling the church of Christ so that those of us who have the capacity to do something will not be distracted from the proclamation of the gospel. We must give ourselves fully to the task of shepherding the flock of God which the Holy Spirit made us overseers. Those who care for the glory of Christ should take note of these dangers and do all they can to eschew them ASAP!
Many churches have no solid doctrinal or Biblical foundation because their pastors are not in the disciplined habit of a thorough study of the Bible. The effect is that there is a lot of compromise on the truths of the Bible. There are a lot of preachers who preach the most new ‘truth’. They say that whatever is sensational, that attracts as many people as possible must be what is good to preach about. You may find out this by checking out a few websites if these churches even post their doctrinal statement or confession of faith.
So most of them copy the internationally acclaimed preachers and do not bother to check out the truth in what they preach. For example many are preaching deism because TD Jakes is preaching it. They deny the traditional doctrine of the Trinity because he denies it. There is a great danger of men who are not thoroughly equipped for ministry being pastors of a flock.
Battle for the truth: It is on this soil that the Charismatic movement, the so called health and wealth or prosperity also called Word of Faith (WoF) movement has held firmly its tendons. The devil is being fattened on the diet of lies, either consciously or unconsciously. I think WoF is the greatest tragedy that has befallen the Kenyan church because this has penetrated all denominations and it is producing thousands of 'decisions for Christ' and in so doing inoculating people from the gospel as many are left thinking that they are saved when they are not. Decisional regeneration is the very tragic and it is demonstrated in the altar calls. True saving faith in Christ is always accompanied by repentance from sin. But these preachers have come up with a different faith and a different repentance. It is no longer faith in Christ alone, it is faith in oneself. It is no longer the sinner's repentance it is now 'preachers repentance' as it is the preacher's prayer that is repeated!
Since wealth and health or prosperity gospel is very enticing as it is both sensational (appeals to emotion and not reason) and carnal (appeals to the flesh) many have run after it hoping to get rich quickly. Preachers are not dealing with the greatest need – sin. Instead they deal with people’s felt needs. The trials and difficulties affecting the society is what make the spiritual diets of many churches. Therefore there are so many preachers claiming to heal and to work miraclesl. They also pledge their hearers riches and job promotions. Many would promise those who attend their churches big cars and owning their own houses. They say that people are poor because they have generational curses that are hindering them from prospering. And so the answer is to visit their churches or to touch the television set (for many who are tele-preachers). Many now sell 'anointing oil' which is supposed to be the Midas power. Other preachers sell 'brooms' that are supposed to 'sweep' all the problems away. But the most shocking thing is that people are so gullible as to buy them!
Thousands upon thousands of people have been held captive by such preachers who rather than helping them, con them of their money. Clearly both the hearers are like because they love money as Paul describes it in 2Timothy 3:1-6. It is because of materialism that many are leaving their pulpits to be politicians as it was witnessed in 2007/2013 when many left pulpit to become councilors, Members of parliament and even one vied for presidency.
In the context of false teachers, Paul gives this counsel to Timothy:
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:10-17 ESV)
Although the influence of ecumenism is waning it is still a danger for many churches. However it is taking another form of denominationalism whereby many people are leaving established churches to register their own with the government so that they are the ones who are at the helm of leadership. By 2010 there were more than 10,000 registered churches. Schisms and infightings are so common. The trend is still high because of leadership struggles. Most of these outfits are not worthy the name they call themselves and most of them are owned by individuals. Sadly this is what many are clamoring for and it makes Christianity in Kenya to be pathetic to those from other religions. This is so especially in slum areas where there are thousands upon thousands of ‘churches’. I took a walk in Dandora and I was shocked at what I saw. Almost every available space is taken up by churches of one sort or another.
Sadly this is not the unity that the Chief-Shepherd of the Church prayed for in John 17. True unity is only to be found where there is a deliberate fellowship in the truth. Where there is no truth, there will be fractured and dismembered, hypocritical unity. Ecumenicalism of NCCK is false because they unite under the 'lowest common denominator'. This means basic evangelical truths are sacrificed at the altar of unity (take unity here to mean presenting one national voice to the government on social-political issues)