Marks of a Dead or Dying Church
By David Cox
1Tim 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
One of the things that marks the decline of a good church into a bad church is the gradual shift over doctrine. Starting with pure good doctrine, “other things” gradually enter in to force out the purity and concentration of the good. (Satan actually wants churches to have good doctrine. What this does is gives validity to the church. If the leadership is flexible in “his” hands, then he has the bait. Later he uses the pastor, leadership, people to contaminate many good people. The bait has to be good, and this is a good doctrine church. What happens is the slow drift because of the lack of resolve in the leadership.)
Notice that this is very real, but also very difficult to discern. What happens is that there is quality at the beginning, and then over time (all the while the church never stops teaching and preaching doctrine) the church changes its fervor and concentration of good doctrine into “something else.” Paul’s words to Timothy (1Tim 6:3) focuses on doctrine which causes godliness. It is unfortunate in our world that so many “men of God”, preachers, and pastors have taken the confrontation of sin as being something that is offensive and rejected wholesale by them. Sound doctrine causes holiness in those that hear and believe it. This is a key to understanding and preventing church decline in your church.
2Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;