Why are So Many Churches Desolate, Poor, and in Ruin? Because They Lack Proper Ministers of the Word

Why are so many churches desolate, poor and in ruin. According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book ‘The Ministry of God’s Word‘, it is because they lack proper ministers whom the Lord can use to deliver His Word.

One basic problem in the church is the lack of proper ministers of the word. This does not mean that God’s word is rare or that the vision or light is unclear. It means that there is a shortage of men whom God can use. God desires that the spirits of prophets be subject to prophets. Who are the prophets to whom the spirits of the prophets will be subject? Can the spirits of prophets be subject to those who walk according to their own will, who give ground to the flesh, and who are stubborn in their mind and emotion? If a man does not bear the mark of the cross in his spirit, he is a wild and proud man. He may have suffered years of discipline, but he is not yet defeated. The Lord’s smiting hand may have been on him once, twice, or even ten times, but he is still not defeated. In spite of the Lord’s repeated chastisement, he is still unyielding. Such a man proves himself to be a useless vessel. Is the problem before us a shortage of vision, light, or the word? No. It is a shortage of prophets whom God can use.

[Indeed], the problem today lies entirely with the ministers. There is no scarcity of vision, light, or God’s word. The problem today is that God cannot find proper ministers. Many times God’s light ceases to be visible to others when it is put into our mouth. Many people speak about the Holy Spirit in their messages, but others do not touch the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, they touch the flesh. Many people speak about God’s holiness, but others do not sense any holiness in them. They only touch a frivolous spirit. Some speak about the cross on the platform, but others can sense that they have never passed through any dealings. There is not even a trace of the cross in them. Some like to speak of love, but only temper, rather than love, is expressed through them. All of these cases speak of a basic problem – something is wrong with the ministers. If all the preaching on this earth today were in the principle of ministry, the church would be very rich. It is unfortunate that there is very little of God’s word despite all of the preaching! This is the basic problem in the church today. Without ministers, there is no inspiration and no revelation. With many people, the more they preach, the further their speaking is from being an inspiration, from being the release of any light, and from being qualified to be called revelation. The problem is with the preachers; they are not the ones whom God can use. God cannot use such men, yet He does not want to speak alone. This is a problem. He has the word, yet He does not want to release this word by Himself. He does not want to be the minister of the word; He wants man to be the minister of His word.

Brothers, God will not speak by Himself. If ministers cannot speak His word, what will be the condition of the church? The church is desolate, poor, and in ruin because human elements have not come up to the standard of God’s word. If God can find a person who has been dealt with by Him, who is broken, and who is prostrate on his face, God’s word will flow through him. We are looking all the time for God’s word, but He is looking all the time for men whom He can use. We are looking for God’s word, while He is looking for ministers. If we are unwilling to be dealt with, we will not be able to work for God. We must not think that such dealings are optional. We should not presume that, after hearing a certain number of messages, we can release the same word. No! If a person is not proper, his message will not be proper. Man can hinder God’s word. The Holy Spirit is not released through the word alone. When God’s word comes to us, we must be free from all hindrances. We must be broken, and we must bear the mark of the cross. Our spirit must be a smitten spirit. God can only use such persons, and the Holy Spirit will only flow through such persons. If the Holy Spirit is locked within us, the hindrance and frustration is our outer man, our emotion, and our temperament. When such things are present within us, surely God’s word cannot flow through us. Even if we deliver a wonderful sermon, in reality it is nothing but words, teachings, and doctrines; there is not the word of God.

Convicting of Sin is The Greatest Work The Holy Spirit Can Do Upon An Unsaved Person (Frank Lindblade)

According to Joseph Prince, senior pastor of New Creation Church, “the Holy Spirit does not convict the believer of sin”.

However, speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John wrote: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

Writing in year 1928, Frank Lindblade expanded on this truth in his book “The Spirit which is from God

In dealing with the phenomenon of conviction of sin we have a subject that is not greatly understood by even many professed Christians. Convicting of sin is the greatest work the Holy Spirit can do upon an unsaved person, and is probably the greatest of all the Spirit’s manifestations. Because of the general ignorance concerning the Holy Spirit’s person and work as a whole, and therefore conviction included, the present condition of the general church has been arrived at. The Spirit has been given not only to brood over and care for the church, but also that the church may be added to through His activities. Because Peter was filled with the Spirit and preached under His anointing the church received three thousand adherents one day and five thousand another day. Acts 2:41 and 4:4. The church’s recruits are from the ranks of the unsaved. Before a person becomes a member of the church he must first be saved, and salvation cannot come until that person has first had knowledge and feelings of his sins and has been under conviction. So unless there is a conviction of sin there is no real addition to the church which is the body of Christ. Because of the predominating absence of the Spirit and therefore also His conviction of sin, the nominal church today is to a large extent adding to her members unregenerate persons who never have tasted of the grace of God and of the salvation that there is in Christ Jesus…

Because of the lack of the Spirit’s presence and the conviction that He brings, men have busied themselves searching for substitutes that will be just as good. But it happens that in this instance there is nothing just as good. The Spirit is not one of several persons or things that bring conviction. He is the only one who can do so. These others are but counterfeits. We live in an age of progress, evolution as men call it. They are attempting to evolute everything in these days. They have wonderfully progressed in the art of killing one another, of committing sin and covering up their crimes, of debauching their bodies and minds and serving the devil in general. Now they are trying to evolute the scriptures by removing certain portions obnoxious to themselves. They are also trying out this evolution program on the Spirit’s work of convicting of sin, but have only succeeded in making a fizzle of the whole affair and incidentally misguiding many people, and possibly sending many to destruction…

Man, after excluding the Spirit of God in his attempts at soul saving, has dragged in all manner of things. These at times have provided to be excellent instruments for the creation of interest, drawing the crowds and producing great mental and fleshly enthusiasm. But great interest and powerful widespread enthusiasm does not happen to be conviction of sin. A powerful presence and operation of the power of God will create great interest, draw crowds and produce much enthusiasm, but these in themselves will not bring the presence of the Holy Spirit. God can use some man’s strong personality, and most persons that have been used and are being used of God are of strong personality, but a strong personality in itself except as God honors it, can bring but little results towards real salvation. In fact, at times it may do great damage. Many a preacher’s so-called success consists of the use of more than usual natural talents and being born a leader among men, which gifts sway the multitudes. While under the influence of his preaching people feel dominated by his stronger will power and make a profession of religion which never came from their hearts. There has been altogether too much of this done, and thousands today have no more salvation that that received through the shaking of some man’s hand or signing some card.

Many, in these days, often mistake enthusiasm for evidence of the presence of God. Because they sing fast, because there are good collections, because many are boosting the cause, because some or many are free in shouting “Hallelujah” or “Amen”, because someone jumps and makes much noise, because the preacher works up a tremendous fervor, removes his coat, jumps and runs to and fro, therefore God must be there! God surely is there doing all that He can, or as much as they will allow Him to do, but very often the largest part of all of this is nothing but plain everyday flesh. When the greatest conviction comes, there is a hush over the audience and a silence so deep as to be literally felt, broken only by sobs of those with whom the Spirit is dealing. Even the infants strangely become quiet or fall asleep.

Others will play upon the emotions, telling narratives planned to awaken sympathy and cause tears and when this condition is on, urge the people to make a decision. Robert Ingersoll could make an audience laugh or weep, but who would dare to say that weeping was God? A person may weep because of having his sympathy played upon through hearing of some poor widow losing her only son or of the death of some orphan child, but that does not necessarily mean that these are tears of repentance. Stirred emotions and tears of sympathy are not always an indication that the individual has godly sorrow in his heart because he lied, stole, mistreated his parents, or served the devil in general, and rejected Jesus Christ. Godly sorrow works repentance, and unless there had been godly sorrow for sin, there is no true repentance unto salvation. Evidently there are many who know little or nothing of true repentance or salvation.

David Wilkerson on Weird Manifestations in Church That are Wrongly Attributed to the Holy Spirit

In a sermon that was preached at a World Challenge rally in Moscow in year 2000, the late Rev David Wilkerson (founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and author of the well-known book The Cross and the Switchblade) addressed the issue of strange manifestations in some churches that are wrongly attribute to the Holy Ghost.

Jennifer LeClaire, news editor at Charisma, narrated the sermon as follows, in an article that appeared on Charisma Magazine:

Wilkerson was an Assemblies of God man who was well acquainted with the Holy Spirit. He was certainly one to flow with the Spirit of God. He heard from God. And it grieved his heart to witness the rise of strange manifestations in the name of the Holy Spirit—manifestations that were certainly not of God.

In his sermon, Wilkerson tells a story of a woman who was confused about what was going on in her local church. She explained, “Many of our church don’t know what to do. We were having wonderful services. The Spirit of the Lord was with us. But our pastor thought there was more. The church wasn’t growing fast enough. And he heard of revival. He went to this revival. He came home three months ago. He got up to preach. And he started to laugh for half an hour. He couldn’t control himself. He just laughed and laughed. There was no preaching. And he told us, ‘This is a new move with the Holy Ghost’.”

I want to stress this point: Wilkerson went on to explain that this wasn’t a one-time incident at that local church. This wasn’t some spontaneous outbreak of holy laughter. It went on for three solid months. There was no preaching for three months of Sundays. Only uncontrollable laughing. Wilkerson asked a pointed question: “The Holy Ghost who wrote [the Bible], who said, ‘The truth sets you free,’ will He cause the minister to laugh so he cannot preach this Word?” I’m not against laughing, but three months of laughing at the neglect of equipping the saints with the Word of God?

Without naming names, Wilkerson called out ministries where people barked like dogs and made other bizarre animal noises. He referenced unnamed churches where people hiss and wiggle on the floor like snakes. He described many strange manifestations—and explained how people call it the Holy Ghost. Fighting back the tears, Wilkerson said crediting these sorts of manifestations to the Holy Ghost makes Him look like a fool. Before the end of the sermon, Wilkerson was overcome with grief and began sobbing in his hands.

A recording of the above-mentioned sermon above can be viewed below: