Pews That Are Pathways to Perdition :: By Edwin Tan

My sojourn in the hospital did not have a shortage of enthralling moments. They were of therapeutic significance; the recovery from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism was indeed fast-tracked. More noteworthy was my spiritual growth; it was by leaps and bounds as far as walking with the Lord mattered.

Individuals from various walks of life would be an integral aspect of the learning curve. An oddball would be one of these: a largely geriatric grouping would be punctuated by an occasional thirty-something – if not any younger.

The amputee would have been more than six feet tall. Artificial legs would have enabled him to reach this height. This guy felt like a fish out of water amidst the sea of seniors. His boyish looks made him pass for a late twenty-something, but this obese man was not far from his fortieth birthday. He was relieved to have me as a roommate, someone that fitted his happy-go-lucky approach to life amidst loads of light-hearted conversations.

He was into soccer, and this did more than break the ice. Time appeared to go at the pace of a wagon train going back to the early Wild West – there was a lot of room for an extended chit-chat. It only took a while for him to talk about his weekend fellowship; he would miss quite a bit of it because of the hospitalization – he longed for his megachurch companions who were around his age group.

Practically all in his gang were couples, some married and some simply attached like he was. They would meet in the pews on a typical Sunday and then go out for lunch after that. Window shopping accompanied by a spur-of-the-moment purchase would follow before coffee at a nearby Starbucks. It was all about having the time of their lives as if tomorrow was far away.

I got the picture with no difficulty; this was the kind of churchgoer that had no time for Romans 6:23.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Anything amounting to a perceived killjoy would be unwelcome as far as this guy and his crowd mattered. They had quite a lot of years ahead of them. Any talk about sin and the need for repentance was anathema where they were concerned. On this note, I held my horses and let him go on with his somewhat repetitive talk about his beloved buddies!

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

It did not make any sense for me to lambast this person’s weekend rituals. Folks of this nature were in more than waist deep; they could go ballistic when confronted with the truth in the Living Word.

But this individual saw it another way. There was no need to say ‘if you don’t mind’ when I eased myself out of a lively chat. Maybe it was not just hooking up my earphones and listening to Tom Hughes on my Android, but something would not escape his eyes. I would be reading my New King James Version of the Bible. At least on one occasion, there was a work in progress for Rapture Ready.

I would apply the Federal Aviation Administration’s safety protocol for heavy jetliners when it came to keeping my distance from a Laodicean megachurch. But my imagination tells me that Bibles plus other resources are provided by such an establishment. Question is, do those warming the pews take more than a cursory look at the Living Word?

These weekenders would probably be engrossed by whatever feel-good sermon flows from the pulpit. A smattering where quotations from the Living Word are concerned, but a heap of stuff outside Holy Writ that entertains! The experiential and emotional elements dominate the pseudo-worship session with the likes of Hillsong in tow. Nothing about godliness!

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19).

With all that is overemphasized week in and week out, these folks are as good as sheep for the slaughter. The need for repentance and living a Godly life is close to non-existent. This opens the floodgates to an acceptance of sinful practices under the banner of inclusiveness.

Sadly speaking, these pew warmers will be unprepared for the inevitable, if not unavoidable. Their notion of early demise would be a great taboo, more so in the case of adherents to the prosperity gospel. What if someone breathed his or her last breath while in the thick of a sexually immoral activity? What if an after-dinner gathering in a limousine got whacked by a drunk while in the midst of loud, worldly chatter about making fast money?

“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

The amputee only missed one weekend of worldly pleasure. When told that he would be released on a Friday night, this guy was full of joy. Perhaps there would be the prospect of an everlasting joy should he have an image of a middle-aged, long-haired man with a New King James Bible in his hand!

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone who eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).



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