Covid-19: Revealing the Unpreparedness of the Church

Covid-19: Revealing the Unpreparedness of the Church

The Covid-19 crisis has revealed, among other things, that in general, the Church is not ready to face the challenges of the Last Days. Most evangelicals agree that what we are experiencing is most likely the 'beginning of birth pains' and that we are moving quickly towards the Great Tribulation. Whether or not we believe in a pre-tribulation rapture is not the important question, but rather, is the Church ready for real persecution?

My answer to that would be that this virus crisis is a huge wake-up call to the Church. I will use the North American Church as an example. In general, the Church is not ready. Why, for the following reasons:

1. Celebrity Culture. Americans have a celebrity mentality, an unhealthy habit of putting individuals on a pedestal and following them. This mentality leads to the creation of cults, and America has been fertile ground for cults over the past two centuries. Mormons, Jehovah's Witness are the most obvious, but there is estimated to be over 3000 various sized cults in California alone. Sadly, this same trend has seen the rise of celebrity 'pastors' and 'false prophets' who claim to be Christian. Men like Kenneth Copeland, Rodney Howard-Browne, Joel Osteen and a multitude of others, have huge followings of gullible people. The bigger the following, the more wealthy these frauds become, and if their followers are Christians in any real sense of the word, they are the most immature, biblically illiterate, menworshippers who hang on every word their heroes say. This is not the Body of Christ, but fits the definition of cult almost perfectly!

2. Spectator Mentality. Before Covid-19 struck, tens of thousands of Americans could be found sitting in large buildings listening to one man stand on a stage. One 'pastor' for hundreds or thousands of professing Christians. This is the absolute opposite of what the Body of Christ is meant to be, a dangerous counterfeit of the real Church. If and when REAL persecution arrives, if church buildings are taken over or burned to the ground as they are in Pakistan and other countries weekly, then who will shepherd the flock? Inside of these spectator churches are hundreds of untrained pastors, teachers, evangelists and others whose spiritual gifts lie dead and dormant.

3. Distorted Patriotism. Over the past few weeks I have seen countless Americans posting about their 1st Amendment rights, about 'my country', 'our great country', and 'taking back our country', etc. Frankly speaking, if you call yourself a Christian and still believe that America is your 'country', you need a powerful spiritual experience to destroy your earth-bound mentality. Hebrews 11:13-16 shows us the attitude of REAL people of faith, REAL children of God, people prepared for persecution and even death.

"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have an opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

4. Cherished Immaturity. Hebrews 5:11-14 is a rebuke to immature Christians who 'ought to be teachers' but are still babes, still wanting nothing more than to suck on the spiritual teat of their pastor and never grow up. They don't want 'solid food', don't want to take responsibility and use their gifts, don't want to be accountable, they are happy to crawl around in the cot rather than 'by constant use train themselves to distinguish good from evil'.

How can the Church prepare for the coming persecution which most believe is inevitable? That will be a huge challenge for North American Christians and all churches who have a 'one-man ministry' mentality. I believe the underground Church in China has much to teach us on preparedness, and the New Testament Church who met in their homes. The establishing of thousands of House Churches may well be what the Lord is calling the Church towards in order to prepare for the Last Days before the Great Tribulation. Here in Ukraine, I am involved in a House Church movement, and in a future article we will discuss how House Churches are transforming individual lives, training leaders, and impacting the community.

Author: Steve Copland