California: The lesson that the church is missing.

by | Mar 23, 2018 | Christianity Today | 8 comments

First of all, Mario Murillo Ministries is still a California Corporation and we are dedicated to seeing revival here.  However, to learn how the church lost her witness here demands brutal honesty.

15.8 million Californians claim to be Christian—more by far, than any other state in the union.  When California went abjectly hippie, communist, one has to wonder where were the Christians?   Let’s stipulate that only one third of all believers in California can vote.  According to statistics, that would still be 5.26 million people.

Jerry Brown won a popular vote of 4.3 million votes and his opponent got just under 3 million.  Why couldn’t the Church—with her vast store of congregants—come up with another 1.3 million votes to win the election?  If every Christian who could vote, voted for righteousness, they would have won by a landslide. There’s a bigger question:

Why did Christians vote for Jerry Brown?  We know they did, because he could not win without their vote.  The church had the power—at every turn—to stop the liberal agenda in California.  Why didn’t she? 

I know that judges overturned the will of the people with Prop 8.  I get that there are union crime families in California.  I realize that free speech is dead on the left coast.  I also know there is widespread voter fraud.  All of that considered, it still does not explain how such a vast voting bloc could be neutralized.

This is not a hatchet job on believers in the Golden State.  I have sacrificed a great part of my life for the churches there.  I don’t believe the fault lies with rank and file believers.  I also know there are many godly pastors faithfully serving on the West Coast.

No, this disaster snuck in like a Trojan Horse.  I saw it firsthand and preached against it from the first day I saw it.  It was a masterstroke of Satan that began over 30 years ago.  When I tell you the culprit, a part of you will be shocked, and another part will recognize why I am right instantly.

The problem was the church growth movement.  More harm than you can possibly imagine came from the seemingly innocuous words “church growth movement.”  And, yes indeed it was a movement.

The initial victim was unity.  The next victim was soul winning.  The final victim was Bible literacy.  Here is how it worked:

When numbers mattered more than anything, California pastors began to see other pastors as the competition.  Hollywood, drugs, atheism, and sexual perversion were no longer the threat—now it was your brother in Christ.  Ministers became suspicious of one another, and began to isolate themselves citing their “big vision.”

Then, these regional pastors inadvertently created a new morality.  Sin was not the sin defined in scripture—sin was now anything that hindered growth.  By removing the offensive parts of the Bible, they also removed the parts that had the power to change people. 

They steered clear of righteousness by saying “confrontational messages offend the very people we are trying to reach.”  This is code for “it is bad for business.”

To maximize growth, churches felt compelled to become self-contained entertainment centers, who didn’t need anyone else.  This destroyed mass evangelism, like what we saw with Billy Graham in neutral stadiums and auditoriums.  The photo below is from the Billy Graham Crusade in the Los Angeles coliseum in 1963.  120,000 are inside and 30,000 more could not get in.  This is unimaginable in Los Angeles today.

Soon California churches became expert at drawing audiences but leaving them unchanged by the Gospel.  Hundreds of thousands could belong to a church and see nothing wrong with abortion or gay marriage. Why?  Because their spiritual leader never talked about it.  Believers assumed that all of this was acceptable under the constant drumbeat of inclusiveness.

When the pastors noticed that the people loved their “nonreligious” appearance and behavior, they began to let down their guard.  The innocent wine and cocktails turned in a drinking habit.  Other dark trends that I will not mention became common among these leaders.  Thus, they were powerless to address the rampant immorality in their congregations.  They were also powerless to form a multi-church statewide voter movement.

Soon, Movie stars, pop stars, and famous athletes became status symbols for these churches.  Instead of the mega pastor discipling these celebrities, the celebrities discipled them.   It became impossible for these preachers to quote scripture, teach doctrine, or oppose liberal agendas.

Finally, taking a stand against left wing politicians became unloving.  Pastors escaped their duty by saying “that is not my calling.”  They took the Bible out of context in telling them that any political statements were judgmental.  Any Christian voter registration effort was downplayed or banned.

Soon Satan had tightened his noose and masses of Christians were oblivious to the warfare around them—most of all, they were ignorant of the ultimate price their children would have to pay for their doctrinal illiteracy.

The things these pastors preached gave no inkling of what believers were about to face.  Their child could be suspended for wearing a Christian t-shirt.  Their job in Silicon Valley could be lost if they testified on the job.  Textbooks that taught alternative sexual lifestyles were forced on their children.  The streets grew violent and the Universities became intolerant.  In short, these churches prepared their crowds for a world that doesn’t exist and did not stop the one that now exists.

California Christians—there is still hope!  The Christian history of California proves that great movements of God can come out of nowhere.  The Jesus movement appeared when a flood of immorality gripped the state.  God can do it again!

Nevertheless—it is simple truth:  the church growth movement was destructive.   Instead of building on the Rock—which would have given them a large church anyway—they built on sand.  The storm that Jesus warned us of has come.   They sent sheep out of their services unprotected and unable to withstand the storm of left-wing tyranny that  has set the state adrift in a sea of chaos.

Christians across America, take a lesson from California.  If the most popular churches in your state resemble the ones in this blog beware, the same crisis is already in your state.



  1. Bobby Colyer

    Though I’m not from California, I feel for them and love them. Mario, I believe you hit the nail on the head! I’m so sorry. I will boost my prayers for them.
    I was awakened last week after seeing four outbreaks of revival in my dreams. No venue was certain, but I did hear the name Oxnard reverberate in my mind.

    • Carolina

      We our state borders CA & I discern that we have the same problem, hasn’t it infected TX too?…just take a look at the Joel Osteen enterprise alone & there are an abundance of uber large churches in TX. Maybe the church growth movement is different than the Mega church movement, I don’t know, but what I do know is all that has to be paid for just like any other large business & it makes marketplace entrepreneurs out of men who were once called to be sacrificial pastors helping Christ’s sheep. It turns deacons, elders and church ushers into money scheming valets.
      Once the universal bride like church decided to build temples again (which is what a large local church is) then they deviated entirely away from the original primitive church pattern set by Christ HimSelf and His Apostles and turned the Christian religion (in many ways) into warmed over Judaism. That simply put, was never the Gospel of Jesus Christ nor biblical accuracy.
      Give man brick, mortar and some organizational skill & he can ruin anything for the sake of growth and development.

  2. Norma

    I completely agree with your analysis. Thank you for stating what most of us are very much aware.

  3. Joseph Tenorio

    Brother Mario, Amen and AMEN!

    The issue with California “ Church” is what I like to call “Constantine factor”

    Brother Mario, Amen and AMEN!

    The issue with California “ Church” is what I like to call “Constantine factor”

    Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. As you know this was a bitter sweet thing to happen. he created “Christian State”. The Experience of conversion was not needed thus “Christians in name only” CHRINO”S. Today this factor yet again has creeped in more like embraced . The perversion of Gods love to mean HE accepts your sin. And the only verse used like a Guillotine “ Judge NOT!”. By ‘Christians”. Here in California many churches are afraid to speak out for many reasons none of them justified however:
    afraid to lose people
    afraid of protest from community
    the false narrative and false teachings
    Pastors in Mainline Pentecostal churches moving away from the Power of the Holy Spirit for the most foolish reasons, afraid to be ridiculed .
    Form of godliness but denying the Power .

    California does have many self proclaiming Christians how many of them Jesus knows? We shall see. The youth are waking UP ! the lies of the public school system and of weak parenting has left them unprepared and starving for something real . They Need purpose, meaning to their life, and fulfillment.

    “But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
 Matt 18:6

    Mature men and women of God and Parents , God will hold us accountable. Those who taught wickedness in the classroom are suffering from the fruits of their labor. Most media and law makers have left the Public school system untouched by the resent killings . These young boys who are empty and unlearned , unprepared become very angry. Then they lash out at what they see as the cause. School are hiding right now in the schools day after day students just like the ones we are seeing now. It is very clear this is happening but we are divided . Jesus said too

    “Jesus said Suffer not the little children to come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of God” Matt 19:14
    why are you preventing them from coming to me? you are causing them to stumble, fall, and fail the purpose to which I have called them. WOE to you! Nothing anger’s the Lord more then abusing children and HIS Church inapt handling it. I believe the Lord is waking up again the generation X the Joseph generation. those of us who suffered from broken homes who saw what failed marriages and families did to us. Those who came out of the revival of the 1980’s . It is time .

  4. Linda Crammer


  5. Judy Pearson

    So true, so sad. It seemed that the Devil turned everything and anything into judging! It really bothered me because you could hardly discuss or target any sin and you were accused of judging. This was very prevalent in the 90’s especially, although, I believe it was a tool the devil used too much through the centuries. It was leviathan at work twisting, accusing and suffocating God’s people. We must all repent and believe the Lord to move like never before. Satan was stripped of everything, and now is the time we celebrate what Jesus did as the Lamb of God that took away the sin of the world and His powerful Resurrection! Hallelujah! He is Alive!

  6. Marina Odenthal

    I’m glad to be a lifelong Californian & Christian on Fire for God. I never vote for the liberal candidates or agendas. The church/bride here will be victorious in Jesus name.

  7. Micah




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