What’s the Greatest Threat Facing the Church Today?

What’s the Greatest Threat Facing the Church Today? by Adriel Sanchez for Core Christianity

When Paul met with the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, he gave them this solemn charge:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. (Acts 20:28–31)

Elders are called overseers (in Greek, episkopoi), a word which means watchers or guardians. They should be eagle-eyed, keeping vigil over the flock and anticipating dangers on the horizon. In this way the church is protected from predators and poisonous ideas that can infiltrate the body. What do you think is the greatest threat to the church today?

As a pastor, I’ve heard from concerned churchgoers about the dangers of Christian nationalism, Critical Race Theory, “Wokeness,” racism, conspiracy theories, government overreach, sexual immorality, biblical illiteracy, and the list goes on. It’s hard to come to an agreement regarding the greatest threat to the church today, so I want to rephrase the question in a way that I believe is helpful: What’s the greatest threat to your church today? You see, different churches face unique dangers which if not identified can destroy them. The gates of hell will never prevail against the church (see Matt. 16:18), but individual churches and church “movements” fail all the time.

Facing Unique Threats

Jesus made this clear in Revelation 2–3. Addressing the seven churches in Asia Minor, he indicated that they each faced unique threats. The church in Ephesus had left its first love—perhaps an indication that they had lost their zeal for evangelism (Rev. 2:1–7). The church in Pergamum was situated right by “Satan’s throne” and some of its members held the teaching of Balaam, a false prophet who was characterized by greed (Rev. 2:12–17). The church in Thyatira tolerated the teaching of Jezebel, and members in Thyatira were compromising with the sexual immorality of the culture (2:18–29). The church in Sardis had what we might call a “dead orthodoxy.” They needed to be awakened from their spiritual slumber (3:1–6). The Laodicean church looked great externally (they were prosperous), but Jesus said they were also lukewarm. For all their earthly splendor, they were spiritually naked (3:14–22).

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