Friday, 16 June 2017

A Narrow Window

by J. Lee Grady

Louisiana pastor Larry Stockstill had a disturbing dream last week.
He saw military trucks and armored vehicles getting in formation
for a surprise strike on an American city. Stockstill felt alarmed,
but when he tried to warn a pastor in his dream, the man ignored him.

"I knew in my dream that a siege was going to happen the next
day," Stockstill says. "The enemy was being positioned. But no
one would listen to me."

Stockstill, pastor of the 10,000-member Bethany World Prayer
Center in Baton Rouge, believes his dream was a prophetic
warning about the spiritual condition of our nation. While America
teeters near an economic and political precipice, many American
church leaders are going on with their business as usual-without
realizing that the church is in a state of serious moral crisis.

"I believe we are facing a window of opportunity for repentance,"
Stockstill says. "Unless the pastors wake up to avert judgment,
there will be judgment on America. If we don´t respond we are
going to lose this nation."

Stockstill became alarmed about the anemic condition of American
churches in 2006, when he had to step in and help bring discipline
to Ted Haggard, the Colorado pastor who was removed as senior
leader of New Life Church because of a moral failure. Stockstill
offered correction and oversight to Haggard and his family and
helped the leaders of New Life pick up the pieces after the scandal.
Many observers praised Stockstill for his level-headed leadership
and compassionate but strict adherence to biblical principles
during the crisis.

What Stockstill learned during that painful process became the
basis of a new book, "The Remnant: Restoring Integrity to
American Ministry". He hopes the message will trigger a movement
of holiness and integrity in the American church, which has
suffered a long string of embarrassing sexual and financial failures...

"We look like a sleaze bucket in the eyes of the nation," says the
54-year-old pastor, who has avoided the national spotlight during
most of his 33 years in ministry. Once a missionary in Africa,
Stockstill has focused most of his ministry on church planting and
missions. Bethany has helped start more than 17,000 churches
worldwide since 2000.

Stockstill says the level of dysfunction among American ministers
concerns him because their unhealthiness is then passed down to
their congregations. He sees five types of common dysfunction
among ministers today, especially in the independent charismatic

-Lack of fathering (no affirmation, encouragement or spiritual covering)
-Lack of correction (no accountability, resulting in pride and moral failure)
-Lack of fruitfulness (no training in evangelism and discipleship, preventing
churches from multiplying as they should)
-Lack of healing (many pastors suffer silently because of sins and addictions)
-Lack of teaching (many in ministry today are untaught, resulting in biblically
illiterate churches)...

"We really have to relay the foundations of ministry in this country,"
he says. "Many pastors have not been fathered, so they become
`posers´-they are just looking to impress people.´"

Pride, Stockstill says, is a primary reason why so many leaders in
the American church have fallen in recent years-including mature
spiritual fathers who had years of successful ministry behind them
but stumbled in their later years. "You look at leaders in the Bible
like Solomon, or like Samson, and you find that years of success
can lead a person into pride. And when pride comes, it brings a
lack of accountability," he explains...

"We don´t have a lot of time," Stockstill says, recalling again his
dream about impending danger. "We need a quick work of the Holy Spirit."

-[From the Archives]


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