CHURCHES led by ‘sweet-talking’ pastors that focus on making people feel good about themselves with ‘entertaining’ services are leading folk all the way to Hell, according to Michael Youssef, 71, founder of Leading The Way television ministry and pastor of the 3,000-member Church of The Apostles in Atlanta.
Youssef, above, told the Christian Post:
So-called evangelicals have departed from the biblical orthodoxy and all sorts of falsehoods have crept into the pulpits. We’ve basically decided that we’re going to choose which part of the Bible we like and which part we don’t like. And this is really all across the board; it’s a very sad day for the Church.
Youssef, who has authored over 40 books and whose programmes are broadcast in 26 languages worldwide, identified high-profile pastors who fail to address “the reality of sin” from the pulpit and instead focus on the “gospel of positivity” as particularly dangerous “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
They do it so sweetly. They smile as they do it and it’s scary. You see this all the time: They are so focused on being positive that they refuse to talk about sin.
They say, ‘God doesn’t really care about those things.’ It’s hard to hear from the pulpit that there is such a thing as sin and God redeemed that sin on the cross, but we need to confess and repent. It’s much easier to hear, ‘God loves you the way you are and you don’t have to change, you don’t have to leave your lifestyle regardless of how sinful it is.
So the younger generation is saying, ‘Hey man, I like this stuff. It caters to my fleshly desires. I’m warning the average person in the pew, particularly the younger generation, don’t be misled. Don’t be taken in by this sweet, smooth-talking pastors who say, ‘We can’t be absolutely sure about the biblical truth. Truth is basically relative.’
Youssef, who served as an Episcopal priest in the 1980s, recalled how the mainline Episcopal denomination:
Lost the war to the secularists, to the apostates, to those who did not want to accept the claims of Christ.
In 2015, The Episcopal Church voted to formally approve same-sex marriage. Now, he warned, the same thing is happening in the wider evangelical church.
I’m very concerned. I’m not alone. I have so many dear friends like Dr Albert Mohler and many others who are standing shoulder to shoulder in saying, ‘No, we’ve seen this scenario before, and we know it’s not going to end well.’
Youssef told CP that the shift away from biblical truth began in the 1920s and heightened in the ’60s when church leaders sought to:
Make Jesus palatable to the hippie movement … In order to make the unbelievers feel comfortable, we began to introduce a certain type of music and then began to introduce entertaining messages to help people feel good when they leave.Well, we’re making people feel good all the way to Hell, sadly. It’s not biblical Christianity.
In all likelihood he was referring to the concerts staged by outfits such as Hillsong, which – just prior to the outbreak of the pandemic – held a Passion 2020 event that drew thousands of young people.
Turning to the issue of COVID-19, Youssef dismissed the idea that it would spark a “revival”, emphasizing that a revival will not happen unless:
The people of God remove idols from their lives:
We’re attached to sports and entertainment. We spend hours on entertainment and very little time in the Word of God. Until we start removing these idols, I don’t see how revival can happen.
Far from turning away from entertainment, lockdowns around the world have seen a surge of demand for streaming services. Netflix, for example, reportedly gained 16 million new subscribers in the first three months of the year.
The pastor also advised Christians to be prepared for “hard days ahead”, suggesting that just like the early Christians were blamed for the fall of Rome, “pagans and people who hate God” will blame believers for the spread of COVID-19.
Now why would they do a silly thing like that?
Already they’re asking for anybody who goes to church to be arrested. If they’re doing this in the middle of our somber situation, wait until it’s over. They will come in after us with cleats. I want to prepare the body of Christ of believers to be alert and to be aware of the fact that we are in for a very difficult time ahead.