Church attendance was low yesterday. Maybe it’s been low for a while but you’ve just noticed it. The church where I attend also had low attendance. We had a couple of Sunday School classes where no members were even there – not even the teacher! Maybe you really noticed it in the Sunday morning worship service. The local church is diseased; already it is showing several symptoms that should concern us greatly. While living in Louisiana, I heard an old country preacher describe this as “church rot.”
Church rot: the dangerous progression
Church rot begins slowly. Normally we are unaware of it starting. We can see the final results of church rot – church buildings sit empty, its doors closed forever. The building remains as a testimony of what was once an important part of the community. Maybe your church isn’t to that point yet. Maybe yours is experiencing low attendance for Sunday School and Sunday morning worship. It seems like the excitement and energy has gone out of the worship time. These are all signs of the onset of church rot.
I am convinced that church rot begins so slowly that many are unaware of what is going on. Every church has its occasional Sunday where things seem a bit off. When these types of Sundays become the normal, rot has set in.
Warning about the impact of unscriptural teachings
Within the New Testament, there are several warnings about false teachers and teachings. Jesus taught, Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15). Paul wrote: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9). Well-meaning members can be influenced by those having opinions or teachings contrary to sound doctrine. All a false doctrine needs is little space to grow and fester.
Peter warned of this: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1). There’s a lot of effort by the apostles warning about those who bring these into the church. The destructive potential is too great to ignore. Paul wrote to the Galatians: Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Galatians 5:7-9).