To Sandy: How Churches Get Snuffed Out

Dear Sandy,

In my last letter to you, you will recall that I addressed the issue

of why I felt that Winston Pentecostal Church abandoned their regular Sunday night service, which had been going on for decades. Essentially, you will recall that I mentioned the sin of Pastor John, who taught others to disobey the word of God. For this he was called “least” by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:19). According to the teachings of Scripture, this alone would be enough for God to put a halt on things, because even in the book of Revelation, we read Jesus saying to one of the churches, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5)

How

then does this fit into our current context? In this way. Unless Pastor John repents of this wickedness, he should not expect that God will bring any further blessing to Winston, but instead, they are in danger of being closed down completely. For that is exactly what Jesus is saying in this passage, that unless the church is willing to repent of their wickedness, He will come and “remove your lampstand out of its place”. Of course, you and I, Sandy, both know what that means. The book of Revelation tells us that “the seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). So unless they repent, they are in danger of having their entire church removed. Right? Well, God is merciful, as we all know, and so I cannot be 100% dogmatic on God removing their entire lampstand because the Bible also says, “a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Isaiah 42:3b). Therefore, Sandy, Winston continues to burn, because they are not yet extinguished, but it appears that they could extinguish themselves if they are not careful.

I have reason to be concerned, Sandy, for it was reported to me

recently by my good friend Linden Bakker that when he tried to exercise his right to the liberty of the Holy Spirit in a worship service (and all he attempted to do was to wave a flag during the time of worship and praise), he was told to put down the flag and was not allowed to do it. This behavior coincided with their new building, which was brand new at the time, and it seems (to me, anyway, though I admit I could be wrong in my assessment), that perhaps somebody at Winston simply wanted to achieve a more pristine, or cleaner, “look and feel” to the place, now that they had their new building in place and all. For that apparently is when the order not to wave flags anymore was put in place (they may have lifted this order, but at the time, I was told that this order was given to my friend, and for this reason, he left the church completely and went to another church not far from there, that welcomed this fine man with open arms). Thus, as you can see, Sandy, something is very wrong indeed. For we read, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Therefore, if flag waving is not permitted during times of singing and praise, there is little liberty indeed!

Notice Sandy, the mechanism here by

which the Lord removes the lampstand from them. Grief comes into the heart of those who are being wounded by these selfish laws, and they leave the church. Thus, their light is continually diminished. It is people like Linden (for I know he truly loves the Lord and is seeking always to do the Lord’s will) who make up the life of a church. Remove people like that, and your church will indeed become dead in no time. Now this sin is not Pastor John’s fault, but the senior pastor’s. So then, something is not right, and it has affected more than one of the leaders. Why so? Perhaps there is no connection, but I think there could be. For if Pastor Mike would preach righteousness and repentance, instead of grieving men like Linden, he would retain his godly flock, who would then serve to build up the church. As it is, however, he is driving them away. Pity! So in him, the saying is true, the lampstand is being removed (Revelation 2:5). I see it happening, Sandy, and it grieves my heart.

Sandy, we need to pray for Winston, and we need to pray for all churches, some of whom may be great churches, and others

who may not. Pray for liberty of the Holy Spirit. Pray that flag waving would be embraced and not shunned. Pray for repentance in the inner man. Pray, Sandy, for people like Linden, and all those who are being grieved because they are being limited, that the Lord would lead them to better, more righteous, congregations. For what is happening in these cases is not right, and such need a place where they can call home.

Your friend,

Danny Watts