by | Aug 28, 2019 | Christianity Today | 20 comments

By Mario Murillo. A funny thing happened when celebrity preachers tried to get America to like them: America ended up hating them.

I am writing this with deep love for, and loyalty to, the local church. There is no desire to take a cheap shot at anyone, or to cause division within the church.  I have to write this, because love does not lie or withhold needed correction.

America has abandoned God, Christian values, as well as Israel, and our nation is racing toward disaster.  Evil festers when good men do nothing.  Denying it will not change it or make it go away.  Its effect on you and those you love will not be stopped by delusional teachings of spiritual entitlement.

So how do we turn the American Church around?  That is the question I posed in a previous post.  Now I continue to answer that burning question by saying this:  in order to turn the church around we must face the fact that America liked us better, back when we told the truth.

Here is an illustration from the Bible.  Jonah ran from his calling. Then God sent a great storm.  The captain of the ship that Jonah boarded in his flight from God had a gut feeling that Someone was angry about something. When they found Jonah asleep, they asked him, “Who are you?”   When he admitted he was a runaway prophet, Jonah 1:10 tells us, “Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘Why have you done this?’ For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.”

Americans feel a psychical resentment toward the church.  I say psychical, because it is intuitive and subconscious.  They really cannot explain why they are angry with us. They may claim it is our politics, or falsely accuse us of racism, or even rightly point out our flaws, yet this present dislike of the church stems from something much deeper.  They are asking us, as those men long ago asked Jonah, “Why have you done this?”

When the outside world observes our ‘illustrated-electronic-happy-talks’ they get a gut feeling that we are hiding something.   They also suspect that our nation’s storm, similar to that of Jonah’s time, is partly because preachers are not confronting sin anymore.  As one non-Christian pundit put it, “If there was more hell in the pulpit, there would be less hell in the ghetto.”

At this point in our national disaster, a mega-church is like having a great party going on on the deck of the Titanic—you may be having a great time, but you will not save America from the frigid angry ocean.

Here is the real rub…if numbers matter so much to our mega-churches, then why are we ignoring the most important statistic: overall church attendance in America has fallen dramatically?

They liked us better, when we were not trying to be liked.  There was a day when men of God stood in pulpits as free men.  They were free of any need to be liked or successful.  A. W. Tozer said, “These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.  They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.”

We are impressed by churches that can draw 15,000 people.  But that is nothing compared to back in the day when America liked us better…a whole lot better.

Look at the picture of Billy Graham in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1963.  120,000 are inside, and another 30,000, could not get in.  On the scoreboard it says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.  No man comes unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6).   Not one person was offered a visitors gift bag filled with CDs.  No one was in the dark about the purpose of the meeting.  Billy stood there and simply told them that they had to come to Christ or be lost for all eternity.

Look at this picture below of Billy preaching in Times Square in New York City.  We cannot even imagine any of this happening today.

When Billy prayed for sermons he focused on hearing what the Holy Spirit wanted him to say.  He wanted a message that God could use, and not words that would dazzle the audience.  When Billy was in the pulpit, he completely died to his private opinions.  He got out of the way, so that the Holy Spirit could work on the audience.

We bought into the lie that if we ‘made nice,’ and took out the scary parts of our message, we would be liked, but we ended up more despised than ever.

“He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)

Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas said, “Jesus did confront his culture with truth—and He ended up being crucified because of it.  I believe it’s time for pastors to say, you know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for Truth regardless of what happens.”

They may not like us for telling them the truth, but they will at least hear the Truth!


  1. michaelh

    Very true. Many pastors are enslaved because they fear losing their position or their salary. They are not free men.

  2. Carol Judith

    God bless you all. Carol Judith

    Sent from my iPad Charger Cj


  3. Jan Hood

    I read your emails every day, every word. You make a lot of sense and I totally understand your warnings to the Church. But what about faith in all of this? I pray every day for our country and our leaders. I ask God to intervene and hold up the faithful. I believe He hears me. I’m not alone. God loves His church!!

  4. Deloris Berry

    This is a great message

    • Carolina

      This is a great message yet, will those who need it, heed it, read it, and weep?

      I’ll never forget when we were active members and ministers at a high profile, Christian music celebrity’s church who we dearly loved. As our Pastor he came in one day and offered up this quote from his best friend who was also a super star TV preacher and owner of a famous mid-western Bible school (I won’t reveal who these are because that is not right to do).
      Our Pastor said his friend asked this question, “how many heads ya runnen”? Our Pastor confessed to us that he just couldn’t look at the Lord’s congregation in that way in order to grow his church. Our Pastor knew we aren’t heads of cattle to be driven in and out counted as only human volume for church growth attendance and tithe dollars, instead of THE living souls that belong to God.

      Christian Pastors & leadership counting heads, (to me) is THAT kind of attitude that has diluted the strength of the local church house in America also leaving Christ’s Own possession feeling disenfranchised and uncared for so we exited the building. My husband & I haven’t had a local church membership for 17 years, we are some of those people who desired to be more than just another a head count number. My Husband just had a heart attack last week & almost died, ‘we can only wish’ that we had a real church home and relationship nowadays.
      Sad but true. ?

      • Aaron

        Can I sincerely ask you if this is factual why it would not be right to tell the truth about it?

        • Carolina

          I told the exact truth about what we heard and witnessed both my husband & myself. What I did not do was to list the names of those 2 high profile ministers I referred to because that would be absolutely the wrong thing to do on a public website forum, Mario Murillo’s or anyone else’s. It’s not my job to expose the individual that said what he said.
          The question isn’t whether my comment was factual or true, I do not bear false witness, I am a Christian, but what should be asked & taken away from this is why ministers high profile or not would consider the people of God & Christ The King “heads” to be counted like cattle driven in a herd.

  5. Roger Culwell

    Big amen Brother, without the word, people would not know they need to be saved, without preachers preaching the truth, they will not be saved, they scream love, love love, love is not letting you go to hell, even though we upset you, I had rather you be mad at me, than hear you scream from hell, Jesus told the truth and the church wanted to stone him, but he passed right through the crowd, the word will offend you first, and then it will save you, love does not let people go to hell because it doesn’t want to hurt their feelings, True Love tells you the truth, nice is letting people go to hell by the truckloads, and allowing evil to prevail, satan wants us to be nice and quiet, with no fight, no fire, no word to fight with, by being tolerant, and passive, and pushing the Holy Spirit out of the church, he has no resistance, from the church, much like the nation, we just sit back and be nice while evil prevails and an Evil bunch destroys this nation, so one blessed me out on fb, said there was no such party in the united states, and said I could not write and some other things, which I know I can’t write, but I do the best I can with all the stuff thats happened to my head, thank God it only affects my spelling and punc now, I was an A+ speller in school, but some of us the enemy has tried hard to kill, and to beat it all my Gram, on here don’t work right most of the time, it is supposed to help, but we need to preach the truth, one tonight on fb said show them where the bible says witchcraft is wrong, I said Lev 22:18 suffer not a witch to live, should tell you its wrong right there, I don’t need any more proof, but see what we have in the church, we have a word dificency, we have a tendecy to go to far one way or the other as people, we need to know the word and not go over board one way or the other, we need balance just like a balanced diet, and we must get tough again, they have taken our fight out, and the evil try’s to run over us, because they are bullies, and bullies have to be dealt with, especially when they try to take over our nation and church, just look what there doing to our children, in schools, we need to stand up firm and say NO MORE this mess stops, same in the church no more devil, we are giving the church back to the Lord and his Holy Spirit, and let the Holy Spirit do the preaching through us, man was never suppose to do the preaching, the Holy Spirit is suppose to take over, when you get up and open your mouth, but to many want the glory instead of God getting it, I don’t care how much book learning you have, this is Gods business and should be done, by his Holy Spirit, I told him when he called me, Lord I will say what you tell me to say, and shut up when you stop, and I will do as you say, many want to put my fire out, and want to control me and tell me what to say, and how to build my ministery, first off its Gods ministery, I am not looking to get a title, I am not wanting a promotion, I am not trying to build a big church, or get people to like me, I came to do the will of him that sent me, some even want to run your personal life and go against what God has said, people we have listened to other people long enough, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit and do as he says, its not hard to get up and say Holy Spirit you take over, or Father I sit down, so that you may be lifted up, have your way through me, we are called to go into every nation and preach the Gospel, so souls will be saved, not be liked on fb or Twitter, or see how many friends we can make, we preach the word, and that means we mention sin, preach the word, the full truth of the word is what saves, like Mr. Graham and others, we have come to the last days and people so called preachers living a gay life style think they can change the word, the word is walking and talking in heaven, he is God, and he changes not, and we don’t adapt the word, the word adapts us, to the Fathers way of thinking, but some have so much brass they think they can change the word, I have to give the enemy credit, this tolerance, except everything, make people think God is only love, and allows what ever you want to do, and don’t offend any one, or hurt any ones feelings, has silenced the church, and pushing the Holy Spirit and fire out, has disempowered us badly, if you don’t know your weapons, the word or how to use it, you have no weapons it is your sword, and if you don’t have your armor on, theres nothing to stop the arrows, or firey darts, we need to man up and show the enemy who we really are in Christ Jesus, we don’t bow to devils they bow to Jesuse Christ Holy name, time to hurt a few peoples feelings with the word of God, so they might get really saved, so they won’t go to hell, we are loving people right into Hell, by not telling them the truth of the word, and that sin is sin and sin is wrong, and evil will prevail, if the Church dosent stand against it, lets get down to Gods business Gods way by the word of God and under the leading of his Holy Spirit. Be Blessed

  6. kingskid48

    This is so true, Pastor Mario. Preaching has changed so much from when I was young. Back then, it focused on Scripture. The stories were read out of the Bible by the pastor, from the pulpit, of different events and people, and they were made to come alive. We learned Scripture and what it meant and applied it to our lives. In all of my younger years, I do not remember hearing a message about prospering, self-improvement, or making my life better from the pulpit. It was genuine preaching and teaching, with emphasis on leading holy lives, avoiding Hell, winning people to Christ, and understanding Bible Prophecy. Back then, maybe not everyone loved us, but there was a line that they did not cross. Only the hard-core atheist types mocked Christianity and the Bible. Most people had an underlying respect for church and the Bible. That is gone now. The things that are said about the Bible, Christianity, God, Jesus, and Christians are horrendous. Never in my life would I have thought I would hear such things verbalized. It seems like it’s been getting a little better lately though. I do see more focus on Scripture than there was for a while. I haven’t given up hope, I still believe His Church will arise to the challenge that is coming.

  7. Rain


  8. Duggan Harrison

    Amazing and true word. Lord God have mercy on us and deliver us.

  9. John Masciale

    Have times changed? Have people changed? Can someone look at your post and try to say that the old ways, which existed for 1900+ years no longer work? That is the excuse of the mega-church. They will tell you that people don’t want to go to their parent’s church. There is something I think churches and Christians have lost site of. It is our job to tell people the truth. It is God’s job to convict them of it. There is no sense in sharing the Gospel in our own wisdom. Slick marketing, promotions, and give aways do not bring about eternal results. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

  10. Noel

    People have not changed since Adam and Eve disobeyed. Same sin nature and the need for the only One who can redeem them out of their mess. He is more than able and willing. The pride and arrogance of this current age need not keep multitudes from the blessing that could be theirs. The message of repentance and faith in God’s perfect atoning sacrifice will never be outdated. The message of sanctification and its refining process is exactly what will transform a wayward soul and make that one a soul winner.

    Matthew 3:1-12

  11. Darlene W

    Not pointing out bad behavior,standing against error or sin for the sake of unity is a cult. The devil has tried to pull the wool over our eyes by telling us we don’t want to offend [judge] anyone ,grace will cover it. And because of that people don’t see the necessity to flee sin and have lost the beauty of what life could truly be.

  12. iamseatedwithhim

    There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is death and destruction.
    The next question is: With so many asleep and missing it, who will be left ready and able to receive when the next fire is poured on from God on His people? This will not be a fire for everyone. Only those who are ready (like Jesus said) will be able to receive and walk in the next outpouring.
    Lord give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear and the mouths to repent and turn back to you now before it is too late. Amen.

  13. Stacey Lynn

    Praise the Lord… a much-needed message in today’s vile world!

  14. Bobbie

    Mackeysback: Just wished we would have ALL judged FRUIT in our Leaders, being a fruit inspector and really researched who founded, funded and doing what it said to do in the Gospels and the entire Bible. In regards to one of your other responses, I’m not sure why we needed a type of King Saul, worshipping men over God? Thinking of Revelations 2:4, 14, 20 (actually all of verse 2) and violating the Ten Commandments, me included!


    I’m a pastor, but not of a “mega church”. I agree with this message and disagree at the same time. If the notion is that churches need to preach Jesus and Him crucified; that heaven and hell are real places; that everyone spends eternity somewhere (new heaven/earth or lake of fire); that sin is sin – and everywhere sin exists (existed) will be destroyed by God (that’s why there is a new heaven and new earth and why we get new bodies)…I agree whole-heartedly! Every minister of the good news of Jesus should preach these things.
    However, if the point is that big church = bad and small church = good…that somehow because a mega church draws lots of people they “can’t possibly be preaching truth”, well that my friend is absurd! As the article states, Billy Graham drew 100,000 people at a time. Was he preaching the “true” gospel?
    I think that we forget that in the last days, men will be lovers of self more than lovers of God (the Holy Spirit said this, not man) – and that statement speaks well of America, not just “this generation”. Because of people being “self-lovers” they don’t see a need for church…”the pastor said something I don’t like – forget him and that church, we don’t want to go there” or “the pastor did something I don’t agree with – I’m out the door”. Then there is the simple, “I’ve got better things to do with my time” that so many say or simply show by not showing up. Church services used to run from 9:00 or 10:00 on Sunday morning and go until 1:00 or even longer…but the people in the pews became more concerned with football, or diner, or whatever, so service times started getting cut shorter and shorter. Now many churches have only one service a week, and that is not because pastors changed their message or that pastors only wanted to preach once a week.
    Everyone looks to blame someone else for all the evils in their lives and in the world. Have pastors made mistakes, of course they have. Are pastors trying to reach out to the “unchurched”, sure they are – but haven’t we always? Aren’t we all supposed to reach the unreached? But to simply say that pastors ran from the truth to make friends with the world is absurd, foolish and untrue!
    As a pastor I could point to evangelist, T.V. preachers, or a host of other reason for a decaying church, but passing the buck is not the way to address the issues we face.
    Where are the people that’s going to serve God, live for God no matter if they didn’t agree with what the pastor preached, or how he didn’t do what I thought he should? Where are the people of God that remember that we are told to love one another, forgive and that our enemy is not people but it is a spiritual one with a very real enemy who would like to destroy the church. Where are the people that remember that Jesus gave Himself “for the church”? Yet so many can’t seem to bring themselves to darken the doors of a church because they think they can serve God, be a Christian but never attend the place Jesus died for! Yet what comes to mind is that men will be lovers of self more than God…and this is true of the Church, not just the five fold ministry, not just the people in the pews…
    Do you realize that over 70% of American’s claim to be Christians? I seriously doubt that half that number attend church even once a year. This didn’t happen because pastors stopped preaching the truth…it was happening long before the term “mega church” was ever used.
    I’m just trying to add a little balance here and the truth is all “Christians” need to follow the call of God on their lives and that call is NEVER to not go to church.

  16. Bobbie

    Mark Scott:
    This is the verse that made me 1st study the quest for the true meaning of:!
    Well meaning Christians would “swing that Bible” verse Hebrews 10:25. I’m the Church, you’re the Church; NOT A BUILDING! Written for YEARS having grown up in the Church and LEARNED NOTHING except getting totally lied to as getting their god, their jesus, their unholy spirit, their religion, their dogma; so was asking what are you saving us from and bring us to Matthew 23:13-39? Been reading articles/Books and collecting on: Church Exiters, Church Abuse, Church Brainwashing that whole entity even the Editor of Charisma exited and started a Ministry

    Sent out this Blog and highlighted your response to all my readers who I know have exited the false, inane, inept, no holiness, no righteousness, no repentance, no Bible, no humility and NO PRAYER except preying on the people so called false churches we all left that didn’t live LOVE and or Christlikeness or Christian at all.
    Get ready for their responses as they feed the poor, help the fatherless, widow, single parents/children, visit nursing homes and anyone who truly needs help and gives the Gospel message and prays for people even in the Marketplace Matthew 18:20. Which we all found out are false regimes, movements we were all sitting in did not truly care about people and live the Gospels at all and very sorry to say that (no help for those; we all asked). By the way, Mark I called and asked over 55 years later for any movement, regime of a false church sat in and or ever attended to help homeless young man and woman and NOTHING in place for helps instead of all their dead rhetoric and gimmicks and dead programs and dead formula’s and dead methods. Irony of Charisma Magazine running an article people rather stay home and do Laundry than attend Church; believe 2004. People formed their own church, Bible Studies and live what Jesus Christ said to do instead of building man’s pyramid scheme kingdom to self, self-serving Businesses! Jesus Christ died for you and me NOT a building and or membership-Galatians 3:all! Been writing this for years: false church is NOT in correct order, therefore no true priest it needs to be in Apostolic Order and true Prophetic: Apostolic Foundations by Arthur Katz (Art, Aaron) along with Leonard Ravenhill write it best in their written works.
    Note: We all come from many, different denominations and all have horrific abuse stories by church leaders/people who call themselves christian; didn’t behave such and some weren’t even allowed to accept Jesus Christ when wanted to and H.A. Lewis conveys in his book also. We ALL took it public at the time, Church Leadership weren’t interesting in repenting and or changing or listening and that was OVER 15-20 years ago; they did NOT care. That’s what forced us all to look at who founded and funded these regimes and be fruit inspectors.



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