Since the early days of my Christianity, I have been
praying for revival. Coming into the Kingdom at the end
of the Charismatic Movement in l975, I went to Aglow
and Full Gospel meetings, but the glory had departed
and religion, politics and factions were moving in. My
longing for the presence of the Lord was fed by writings
and biographies of revivalists.
Studying Evans and Finney made my heart ache for the
church. She was being overtaken by her enemies, the
gods of this world. Ten years ago, while studying the
33rd chapter of Exodus, the Lord began showing me the
state of the church.
Exodus 33:3- “Go up to a land flowing with milk and
honey; for I will not go up in your midst…”
I saw the church. No cloud. No pillar of fire. No
Presence. No manifestation. No miracles, signs, or
wonders. He was not with us.
We were wandering around in the desert, being over-
taken by our enemies. There was a terrible shallowness
everywhere. We said things about Jesus that were
blasphemous: “Just ask Him into your heart and you will
be saved”. Unbelief was common: “Can you really know
if you are saved?” The most simple teachings of the Bible –
repentance, holiness, sacrifice, faith, love, were ignored
or misunderstood. Almost the entire church followed
denominational hierarchies who used sheep, rather than
caring for them.
Propagation was rare, something we studied, like math.
Righteousness, peace, and joy? Testimonies? Baptisms?
He was not with us.
“…lest I consume you on the way for you are a stiff-
One who is stiff-necked is one whose vision is restricted.
Eventually, left untreated, the stiff-necked person´s head
will not be able to turn.
Stubbornly holding to a form, the Institutional Church
refuses to admit His glory has departed. Stiff-necked,
she insists on carrying an ark that does not give
evidence of His presence. Declaring she is a place of
covering and protection, she is being overrun by her enemy.
Insisting she is the place of nurture, she is using hungry
baby lambs to feed herself. Declaring herself a place of
freedom, she uses the Bible to bind sheep to herself.
She is led by a board of elders rather than a pillar of fire,
and she is ruled by a pastor, rather than a King. “Bring
them in so they can be saved!” she cries, while her
sheep trudge through the desert full of unbelief, fear and
timidity, unforgiveness and bitterness, ambition, vanity
and sexual impurity, strife. Stiffly, with no more passion
than the building she so proudly meets in, she drives
her congregation through the motions of sustaining
“church life”, which generally consists of a schedule
(somehow thought to be hallowed) of weekly meetings…
Tragically, her differentiation from the world is not always
discernable. She is stiff-necked, refusing to admit what
everyone knows but her – her strength is in her numbers
and her money, not her God.
[-Mike & Trish Woelk pastored for years in Pentecostal
churches. They are still very active for God and are still
recognized leaders amongst the Christians in their
community. But it is all very different from before]