HAVING BEEN LED BY THE HOLY SPIRITto seek the Lord in a special week of prayer and fasting in Covington, Georgia, and to seek His blessings upon our lives, our ministries, and our nation in this day of great spiritual and moral crisis, we, a group of concerned pastors and others, in the fear of the Lord, have examined the state of the churches in America.
WE BELIEVE that the following sins, while not exhaustive, accurately describe the Sins of the Churches of America.
WE FURTHER BELIEVE that these sins have brought the churches to a state of spiritual powerlessness and our nation to the very brink of disaster and destruction.
1. The churches have sinned by denying the Lordship and Headship of Christ over His church by recognizing and commingling with other lords and heads. Incorporating, accepting licensure, receiving tax identification numbers, paying taxes, paying social security taxes, record keeping and tax collecting for government, applying for and accepting government recognition and tax exemption are some of the manifestations of this sin.
2. The churches have sinned by failing to pray as commanded and taught and practiced throughout the Scriptures. Agonizing, travailing, interceding, prevailing, and unceasing prayer is no longer considered a vital and essential function of the churches. The sin of prayerlessness has brought the churches to a state of spiritual deadness, spiritual powerlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy.
3. The churches have sinned by dishonoring the Lord’s day. Amusements, pleasure excursions, sports, entertainments, and other worldly excitements that have defiled the Lord’s day have likewise invaded and defiled the churches.
4. The churches have sinned by failing to obey God’s law.
5. The churches have sinned by failing to worship and praise the Lord as commanded in the Scriptures. 6. The churches have sinned by grieving the Holy Spirit. The convicting power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit have been replaced with human efforts and inventions, including contests, programs, movies, entertainment, and other appeals to the flesh.
7. The churches have sinned by pursuing popularity and social respectability and acceptability. This has resulted in compromise and the loss of the particular identity of the church.
8. The churches have sinned by substituting programs of Hollywood-style entertainment and an unscriptural emphasis on sports and social activities for sound Scriptural preaching and worship.
9. The churches have sinned by becoming so program-oriented that they have weakened and destroyed family life by robbing families of essential time for family fellowship and activity.
10. The churches have sinned by endorsing and promoting an easy membership; this action has filled their membership rolls with unsaved, uncommitted, and worldly members.
11. The churches have sinned by condoning and failing to deal with the sins of divorce and remarriage, fornication, adultery, sodomy, and other sins of immorality that destroy marriages, families, and homes.
12. The churches have sinned by ignoring the sins of worldliness, such as public nudity, unisex and transvestite clothing, movies, rock music, and other popular sins that have weakened and virtually destroyed the churches’ testimony of Godly and Scriptural separation and holiness.
13. The churches have sinned by failing to exercise the Scriptural ministry of church discipline. This failure has encouraged sin and disobedience within the church, brought a reproach upon Christ, grieved the Holy Spirit, and given cause for Satan to gain an advantage. This failure has also weakened the spiritual life, testimony, power, influence, and authority of the church.
14. The churches have sinned by receiving into their membership or enrolling into their Christian schools those who are presently under church discipline by another church or who have left another church or Christian school because of unresolved sins and problems.
15. The churches have sinned by worshiping the false gods of materialism and violating God’s laws on unscriptural debt in order to build unnecessarily elaborate and expensive buildings and facilities.
16. The churches have sinned by unscripturally using the Lord’s tithes and offerings to advance their own man-designed programs.
17. The churches have sinned by allowing government to assume the responsibility of caring for widows and orphans and others for whom the churches are scripturally responsible to minister.
18. The churches have sinned by considering and conducting themselves as businesses rather than as ministries. As a result, those who were once considered ministers and servants of the Lord are now considered and treated as “employees.” Also, Godly, Biblical business principles and practices have been replaced by worldly business philosophies and practices.
19. The churches have sinned by failing to maintain Scriptural honesty with the business community.
20. The churches have sinned by placing unscriptural demands on their pastors to become promoters, administrators, financiers, business managers, etc. These demands have resulted in spiritually weak preaching that has produced spiritually weak churches, Christians, and families.
21. The churches have sinned by making hirelings of pastors and treating them as employees to be hired or fired at the whim of church boards or congregations.
22. The churches have sinned by failing to submit themselves to the Scriptural authority and ministry of their pastor.
23. The churches have sinned by failing to guard their daily educational ministries from the influences of secular and religious humanism in the areas of curricula, instructional methods, enrollment standards, personal standards, certification, and accreditation.
24. The churches have sinned by failing to provide adequate life training, especially training for the ministry, for their people at the local church level.
25. The churches have sinned by creating an unscriptural separation between the sacred and the secular. This separation has led to the false assumption that spirituality is limited to ‘’soul-winning” and “worship.” It has also resulted in a failure of the churches to proclaim and make application of the Gospel in every area of the real world, including civil government. Every aspect of life is spiritual.
26. The churches have sinned by their unwarranted divisiveness, lack of brotherly love, and failure to dwell together in unity.
27. The churches have sinned by maintaining a selfish dedication to a tunnel vision that focuses on their local ministries at the expense of a Biblical world view.
28. The churches have sinned by failing to have a genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of souls. This lack of concern has resulted in a grievous merchandising of souls by placing an inordinate emphasis on increased attendance, membership, and finances.
29. The churches have sinned by their undue and unscriptural exaltation of human personalities, including athletes, entertainers, politicians, and religious leaders.
30. The churches have sinned by failing to acknowledge, confess, and repent of their sins.
WE HAVE HUMBLY PETITIONED THE LORD to be pleased to grant the churches of America His mercy and grace and forgiveness.
WE LIKEWISE CALL ON THE CHURCHES AND PREACHERS OF AMERICA to join with us by honestly examining the state of the churches in America in the light of God’s Word and in the light of the foregoing lists of sins and unite with us in acknowledging, confessing and repenting of sin.
“Who can tell if God will turn and repent and turn from His fierce anger, that we perish not.” Jonah 3:9
– Amen –
Adopted by the American Coalition of Unregistered Churches Prayer and Fasting Convocation, Covington, Georgia • October 15-19, 1984