Why did so many Christian churches not speak out against the injustices of the Nazi regime? Fear, maybe, of persecution or simply a decline in offerings? Wanting to ride the wave of popularity and power? Perhaps it was easier to tell people what they wanted to hear? Who knows? But that disgraceful failure is one of the more dangerous consequences of picking and choosing from the Bible what seems convenient to believe.
Today, the same failure is routinely practiced in churches. It’s no mystery why churches that only preach what people want to hear are wildly popular. But God said,
“…prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:10b-11)
Imagine going to the doctor with a gangrenous wound, hoping it’s not serious. The doctor knows you are worried, so he says, “This is no big deal; we’ll just put a band-aid on it.” Inconceivable, but precisely what has been done, far too often, by people entrusted with the truth of God’s Word. Paul warned Timothy not to be tempted by the strong pull of popular opinion and desire. He said:
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
If you haven’t found one yet, look for a church that delivers “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”