The nickels and noses racket!
(Milburn Cockrell, 1941-2002)
The average pastor is no longer a powerful, plain preacher — but a polite, polished politician!
We live in a time of big meetings, big churches, big church buildings, big preachers, and big church budgets. The failure or success of a church and its pastor — is judged by the number of nickels and noses that they have. In all too many cases, there is seen in this more Satanic pride, than spiritual piety.
In the craze for nickels and noses churches have replaced preachers and pastors, with puppeteers and pranksters. The gospel of Christ has been superseded by gimmicks, gadgets, and games. Psychology has taken the place of Holy Spirit conviction. The faith has been displaced for finance, fun, and foolishness. Church discipline has been relegated to the background, in order to swell the size of the church with religious hypocrites who might give a little money to the church now and then.
The nickels and noses racket has filled our churches with unconverted persons. We have far more churchianity than Christianity. Many church members are white-washed — but they are not blood-washed. Their names are upon the church roll — but they are not found in the Lamb's book of life. Many have been reformed — but they have not been re-born. Many have been confirmed — but they have not been converted to Christ. There are so many lost people in our churches, that you cannot tell the difference between a church member and the unconverted. The reason is, because there is no difference. Both are headed to Hell as fast as time can carry them!
It has produced icy services — and cold, callous, complacent church members. Look at the average church! They have their robed choir, their cut and dried program, and their intellectual preaching. They have a beautiful edifice. They have all the organization and rituals one could ask for — but in most cases it is Spiritless! We have form without reality; we have organization without power; we have profession without possession. We have a form of godliness — without the power of it. We have religion without life.
It has caused pastors to spend more time worrying with goats, than feeding the sheep. The pastor nowadays must provide a spiritual diet for people who have no spiritual appetite. Like Ezekiel of old (Ezekiel 37:1-10), he must preach to dead, dry bones — but without the blessings which Ezekiel experienced. These dry, dead bones can't hear — yet the pastor must keep preaching and pretend that someone is listening. These dry, dead bones do not grow in grace — for the dead do not grow. These baptized bones are in no way sensitive to the appeals made to them from the Scriptures by the pastor. They watch the clock on Sunday morning, hoping the pastor will preach a short sermon so they can soon go home and do what they really enjoy.
This idea has given us the gimmick gospel. Most church members want to be entertained — instead of instructed in the Word of God. They have far more delight in the gospel of amusement — than the gospel of the atonement. Gospel celebrities must be brought in to entertain these worldly church members. These members love to hear these clerical comedians who mix a few verses of Scripture with a large amount of humor. Special singing groups must be brought in too. These have the same dress, music, hair style, and manners of any rock and roll group. Our church services nowadays have become a carefully produced theatrical production for the delight of carnal Christians and religious rascals. The only difference between this entertainment and that in the local nightclub, is that it has a religious flavor! But they say it must be done to get nickels and noses!
While there are some exceptions, most big churches are worldly churches. They have high carnality — and low spirituality. Truth is very scarce in such fashionable churches, because the Word of God has been compromised to keep nickels and noses.